“Is samay election chal raha hai, aur world media bada fascinated hai. O-ho kya baat hai.
Dance of Democracy.
Matlab sophisticated sa, classical dance chal raha hai.
Yahan aake dekhenge, nanga naach ho raha hai.”
Applause, applause, applause and Varun Grover sets off on his monologue. His stand-up comedy video that dropped last week has already clocked in upwards of 2 million views.
Honestly, it is not surprising that comedy is how we digest and discuss politics today. A thriving political satire scene is a sign that a society possesses both humour, and frustration; the former being a therapy for the latter.
The comic scene exploded in America post Trump’s election. Most comedians, liberal, were horrified that Trump had been elected, but they were also promised years worth of comedy material. His life, his words, and his hair, by any stretch of imagination, were ripe for satire.
India too has joined the ranks in recent years. The moral cesspit of our current political system, and the bizarre commentary around it is fertile ground for humour. And the lord knows we need it. Varun Grover is leading that brigade.
Latest on this silsila of satire is Hasan Minhaj. His Netflix show Patriot Act has faced the heat of the overtime Whatsapp war rooms that felt his bias against Modi. The sensible thing to do as Modi PR would be to let it slide.
But that’s not what happened.
Modi was in Texas, addressing his 50,000 pardesi mitron in an (American) football stadium, with a prologue delivered by Trump himself. Minhaj wanted to attend as a member of the press. He would find out that he was blacklisted from this #HowdyModi rally.
A cruel ironic twist awaits.
Minhaj recounts the story on the show Late Night with Seth Meyers.
“So I am in the parking lot and I am just watching this whole thing on live stream… while I am looking at the stadium. And, I am watching the program, and during the program they are honouring prominent Indian-Americans… And they show a photo of me on the jumbotron and people start clapping… It was the most Indian thing ever. They were like ‘We’re proud of you but we will never say it to your face.’”
We live in interesting times; where humour is now discourse, politics is a joke, and irony has died a thousand deaths.