How The In­ter­net Be­came The Fun­ni­est Place In In­dia #satire #memes #GIFs #videos #puns #Face­book #Twit­ter #par­ody #un­cen­sored

The In­ter­net has shown us how videos can be a won­der­ful medium to make fun of any­thing and not give a *darn* about it

Hindustan Times - Brunch - - FRONT PAGE - by Ro­han Joshi

On­line com­edy is demo­cratic. You forge a joke, and then the In­ter­net em­braces it. Your joke can then be re­forged and re-ap­pro­pri­ated by people who could be thou­sands of miles away on a park bench in Krakow, un­til it takes on a life of its own. Two weeks later, it’s back in your lap as a What­sApp mes­sage, email or Face­book share.

Eight months ago, our col­lec­tive, All In­dia Bakch*d (AIB), jumped into the on­line video sand­box with our own YouTube chan­nel. It’s been one of the most en­ter­tain­ing, ex­haust­ing and, most im­por­tantly, lib­er­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ences we’ve had as co­me­di­ans. Most mass me­dia in In­dia is cen­sored to the point of ir­rel­e­vance. “Beef ”, “nip­ple” and “les­bian” get beeped out, so there’s no hope for any­thing re­motely edgy. More than one chan­nel has ap­proached us with para­noid briefs like “We want to do a weekly half-hour show about In­dian pol­i­tics for the elec­tion BUT you can’t take the name of any politi­cian.”

The joy of a self-pub­lish­ing

plat­form like YouTube is that we don’t have to work to any­body’s briefs, bow to any­one’s sen­si­bil­i­ties or kow­tow to any­body’s prej­u­dices. We get to make the jokes we want to make and say the things that we think need to be said, with lit­tle cen­sor­ship. And if some­one tries to cen­sor us, we can just make a video about the fact that some­one tried to cen­sor us. The re­fresh­ing thing about work­ing on­line has been get­ting to talk about the things that mat­ter to us, on our terms. With no client or author­ity to re­port to, there’s lit­tle gap be­tween the orig­i­nal idea and its ex­e­cu­tion. On our chan­nel, we’ve been able to talk about ev­ery­thing from vi­o­lence against women to LGBT rights and the id­iocy of our po­lit­i­cal masters. Cen­sor­ship Cen­sor­ship has made In­dian hu­mour coy and blunted its egde over the last few decades. decades. But on the In­ter­net, we can call a spade a f****ng b*****d spade.

We’ve all grown up on a diet of Amer­i­can and Bri­tish sit­coms, stand-up and sketch com­edy shows, and we’ve ab­sorbed their tropes, styles and even their clichés. The lib­er­at­ing thing about on­line video is that it gives us the chance to repli­cate that id­iom, but with ref­er­ences (pop-cul­tural and tra­di­tional) that are rel­e­vant to us as In­di­ans. Bet­ter still, this hap­pens at a frac­tion of the cost a TV pro­duc­tion would re­quire. All it re­ally takes to start your own YouTube chan­nel is a cam­era and the In­ter­net. Best of all, at that price, you also the­o­ret­i­cally have a larger reach than any one TV chan­nel can of­fer. A TV show airs at a spe­cific time in a spe­cific coun­try/state/city. On­line, our videos are avail­able to the en­tire world, for free, and they’re also avail­able for­ever, to be viewed at your con­ve­nience.

Our favourite thing about work­ing on videos for the In­ter­net is the scale of the can­vas. When you do a live stand-up act about Di­wali for ex­am­ple, you ask an au­di­ence of 300 to imag­ine how an­noy­ing fire­works are, and the id­iocy of fes­ti­val shop­ping frenzy, and the count­less boxes of dryfruit that show up at your door. But when AIB did a video about Di­wali, we got to put those words into vi­su­als, to act that out and add vis­ual gags and phys­i­cal com­edy and tiny touches that would never work in a spo­ken-word piece. And why 300 people? It’s a joke we’ve been able to share with 4,30,153 and climb­ing.

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