Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Stir Fry, Don’t Roast

Pic: www.newshunt.com



After the release of the AIB Knockout video, social media was abuzz with how we have learnt to enjoy self-deprecatory humor. In terms of the number of likes and shares, the event rocked the online world with more than four lakh views. According to one, “This was refreshing compared to Kapil Sharma kind of jokes where even our humor is supposed to be sanskari.” 

Given the content of the show, I was expecting a storm. The strong winds of outrage began to lash when television debates centered around the alleged rape of our society by the members of AIB – All India Bakchod. One panelist wondered why the adult content was telecast without any filters. To be fair, there was a disclaimer in the official video. However, I am not sure how a disclaimer works, because when a pre-teen reads - ‘For 18 and above’ he is most likely to watch it.

On a personal note, I have enjoyed watching AIB videos where spoofs can sometimes make an impressionable point about prevalent societal clichés. In a country where we construct temples of movie stars the event was path breaking, if not refreshing. I enjoyed the first part but the second and the third part did not amuse me. As a result, I did not watch the concluding parts beyond a few minutes. 

Having said that, I wish, we as a society were mature enough to say,"Don’t watch it if you don’t like it." It is too naive and idealistic to brush it off with, " Not your cup of tea, don't drink it." Because  the video was easily available to school going kids on Whatsapp. 

For me, the show could have been equally hilarious if not more, without the jokes about ISIS, 9/11 mishap, or Raghu Ram’s incessant cussing. Not many will enjoy jokes about 26/11, right? Call me old fashioned but cuss words do not amuse me. Just as the organizers have a right to offend, I have a right to not like everything they say. Should an FIR should be lodged against the organizers? Should they be threatened and forced to apologize? Of course, not.

Then again, I read an article where a gay writer is offended with Karan Johar’s portrayal of gay community. Whatever we may make of this new trend in standup comedy, we are bound to ruffle feathers of some religion, some gender,some community or some political party. Regardless, in a country where politicians get away with hate speeches, targeting comedy is unfair. This is, of course, not to say that two wrongs make a right. I am more offended by the video of an 11 year old girl who was raped and the video was uploaded on social media.

Even if misogynist, feminist and racial jokes are to be seen in the context of the show, which is meant to be rude and offensive - the thin line dividing abuse and humor is likely to land us on a slippery slope. More often than not, comedy as a genre is subjective. What is funny for one can be offensive for another.And therein lies the dilemma.


Read the entire article originally published on The Hoot. 

32 comments:

  1. I am sorry, Alka, I have to voice my dissent here. I can't digest the witticism 'If you don't like it, don't watch it'. Like intensely practical jokes, a line has to be drawn somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are on the same page. The following line says, 'I wish we as a society were mature enough to say this.' Because it doesn't work in a social milieu such as ours.

      Delete
    2. And so it does! Forgive my haste.

      Delete
  2. What's not available to school going kids these days ? I have not watched it and am unaware of its contents but yes I somehow believe in ' if u don't like don't watch ' its just a comedy show . There are more grave issues to be talked about in our land

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't like it, don't watch it, is an ideal thing to say in a mature society. We are, perhaps not ready to view vulgarity in public.Even if a section of society finds it enjoyable.

      Delete
  3. I think the roast was pathbreaking in the Indian context. Like the AIB said, they brought out in the open what people were anyways saying privately. I was quite amazed with the sporting spirit of the two actors and KJo as well as the roasters. It takes a lot of self assurance to get grilled like that. Yes, the cussing and the language was filthy and not my cup of tea. But then that is the format of the roast. Whether India is ready for this format, is the question. In my opinion, India is always touchy feely about everything except the real issues. We have a holier-than-thou attitude to maintain in public. In private, I have come across men and women who cuss in this manner. And many of us enjoy adult comedy. Banning in my dictionary is not the answer to anything. I stand by freedom of speech as long as no one makes fun of me. :) When consenting people have done something together which was put up on YouTube, I find banning it or taking it off rather silly. When porn is available freely, are we saying that this is even more offensive? I think KJo summed it up well: "If it's not your cup of tea, don't drink it!" As far as the point of maturity of our country goes "Pray, how will we mature if we close ourselves to anything new or derogatory?" My view only.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We think alike. What KJo said is right, except that it doesn't work because the video was available on Whatsapp. Also the disclaimer on YouTube was not a deterrent for kids. There should be filters where you need to log in with your G Mail account or something to see the video. As long as adults enjoy the show without exposing kids to the video, I have no issues.

      Delete
    2. Another viewpoint is that many kids anyway watch porn so why not this? In a country where kids look at Bollywood heroes as role models, watching their heroes abuse and cuss is not a welcome thought at all. Regardless, we need to find ways to register our disapproval other than bans, FIRS or threats.

      Delete
  4. The whole thing is being blown out of proportion, I think. The roast was something new and I truly applaud both AIB and the celebs to be able to take it on their chin. Of course, it's offensive - that's how it is meant be. Plus there were numerous discretionary warnings given even before the program started - about it being offensive, use of profanity and the likes. Yet, the people saw it. Yes, the jokes were repetitive and sometimes crass, and yes, lines need to be drawn. But this is just curbing the entire freedom. We can't have 'some' freedom of speech. Either we have it, or we don't. And if some CHOSE to go to Youtube, watch the video and then get offended, well, they asked for it. AIB's long answer is perhaps a fitting reply for the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also I saw the entire thing streamed onto my TV via my home theatre system and enjoyed it in 5.1 Dolby Digital. I'm pretty much un-cultured right now :P

      Delete
    2. We are on the same page Sid, except that a simple disclaimer doesn't work. Because when a kid reads - ‘For 18 and above’ he is most likely to watch it. Also the video was available on Whats app. All good as long as consenting adults enjoy it. Comedy anyway is subjective. What is funny for one can be vulgar for another. Those who don't like it will shun it. Having said that, I wish, we as a society were mature enough to say,"Don’t watch it if you don’t like it."

      Delete
    3. Yes, that is indeed rather sad. The fact that something is tagged as 'above 18' doesn't deter anyone. Instead, more often that is the 'attractive' factor for them.

      Delete
  5. I did not see Part 3 of the Roast. I didnt find it amusing or funny and now it is not because I am against whatever a roast stands for. I just didn't find it funny. The issue is that even my 13 year old cousin watched it and has been asking me the meaning of various words and the meanings of the joke. Something to think about especially when roasting is available to be viewed by people of all ages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We need to respect sensibilities. Even twitter was divided between# We Stand With AIB and # National Shame. I understand what you say. But an FIR and threats are uncalled for.

      Delete
  6. Well I have not watched this video but whatever is presented in the name of entertainment nowadays, be it an Award Night or a Comedy Show, the jibes are overly derogatory. We have forgotten that comedy can also be subtle and not always pointless. Actually, in today's world we wish to make our point by downgrading others and it is this philosophy which is permeating every aspect of life - be it the political arena, the entertainment world or our work fronts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, not many appreciate subtle comedy. Different folks, different strokes.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  7. I haven't seen any part of it but it's lame to create a furor over a video and let other important issues pass through. I agree - if you don't like it, don't watch it.

    Spend time in useful pursuits people.

    ReplyDelete
  8. i dunno about this video until it came in news,so i din't watch it and i dunno what the content is.there are lot of comedy shows on regional tv inspired by kapil sharma. all these portray vulgarity and indirectly define women as sex objects.so teens and kids get carried away with the way women are portrayed from these shows.these shows do really influence teenagers and sexually starved adults to misbehave with women in public places.civilisation defines what has to be public and private,if someone says speaking private things in public is modern or liberalisation,then we must call him savage or uncivilised.you might have born as dogs or animals instead of humans. i don't go to a multiplex and watch a movie with nude scenes coz it doesn't make sense,paying for someone's nude show which we all practise at home.is n't that stupidity to the core.people can be classified into two groups,civilised or uncivilised.whatever explanation or excuse you give to sell sex ,nudity or vulgarity in the name of liberal society is just absurdity or nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rohan, appreciate your concern about degradation of society. As adults, we all decide what is good or bad, civilized or uncivilized, moral or immoral. Personally, I believe in drawing a line somewhere just as you do. But having said that, I don't support bans, FIRs and threats.

      Delete
  9. Our Politicians make the most outrageous statements, incite hate and make AIB Roast look like a child's play. I wonder why no one files a case against them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are not deterred by FIRs and continue with impunity.

      Delete
  10. Agree with Purba! Also, we have the discretion to choose what we watch! We are still in a maturity stage as a society where huge gaps exist thus it comes to cherry picking to meet individual political or other goals !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The event divided the middle classes and confused us on many fronts.

      Delete
  11. I liked the AIB roast except the cuss words. Filthy language is not comedy. Fat jokes and racist jokes show lack of talent to create good humor. Everyone makes fat jokes in college. It could have been refined, but I still liked it, and dont think anyone should take it seriously. Because the people who were roasted have no problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but there are different thoughts about airing the video on You Tube. Otherwise it's like watching an adult movie in a cinema hall.

      Delete
  12. Like you said, Comedy is subjective. Honestly, I had a good laugh over the jokes, no matter how crass. It's good to laugh at self sometimes and sad that some people couldn't take the humor. Either you watch it or not and a matter of personal choice. Our right to offend, makes me wonder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies


    1. There are different thoughts about airing the video on You Tube. Otherwise it's like watching an adult movie in a cinema hall. Amazing how the event divided the twitterati too!

      Delete
  13. Quite true! Humour can be offensive so it's important to learn to laugh at yourself. BTW - hope you can attend my blogger meet on 21.2.15. Details on my blog www.kalpanaawrites. Do come

    ReplyDelete
  14. Today I read somewhere that AIB organisers have apologised to Archbishop since it hurt the sentiments Moffat Christians.....Crazy ,Crazy

    ReplyDelete
  15. I really like that the fact that you didn't watch the whole video because you disliked the beginning and that is how it should be... Nobody forced anyone to watch it! I fail to understand the whole argument on one stupid show! You like it, you watch it, else don't! There are millions of videos out their one doesnt have to watch them all!!! And we have better things in India to fight for!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Take a diabetes care "travel kit" whenever you leave the house, not just when you're on vacation. Pack the kit with all of your medical supplies, snacks, and water. Don't forget to include glucose tablets or hard candy Coach Outlet Online in case you have low blood sugar.

    The recordings Coach Purses On Clearance include a portion of a call Martinez made from the front desk, in which the police dispatcher Nike Air Force 1 Cheap Outlet put her on MK Outlet Store hold to consult with his supervisor. During the delay, the governor repeatedly asks a hotel employee for the room number of the people who complained. The employee refuses to Coach Outlet Clearance Sale divulge the information..

    Their powder coated steel triple sculpture titled Let Michael Kors Outlet Online Roll now stands in Richmond. Another named Air will debut in North Vancouver District on Sept. 15.. Ailes' resignation in 2016 was a shocking fall from grace. Lawsuits filed by former hosts Gretchen Carlson and Andrea Tantaros alleged Ailes created a toxic culture at the network where sexual harassment was permitted. Carlson said she was fired for refusing Ailes' Coach Outlet Clearance Sale sexual advancements, and Tantaros alleged Fox News was "steeped Michael Kors Bags Outlet in intimidation, indecency and misogyny.".

    ReplyDelete