AIB Knockout – Comedy or Vulgarity

AIBThe AIB Knockout show has been in a lot of controversies. I saw the recording of it on YouTube.  Did I like it? No I did not enjoy it. I felt they were using vulgarity for the sake of it and forgetting if it was indeed adding to the  entertainment. They were competing on who can be more nasty. But should they be allowed to do it? That is a different question.

Though I love comedy with a bit of foul language and references of that sort for getting an extra laugh, I often get bored when it is just loaded with obscenity, I am not of the thinking that every filth will make people laugh. Many good comedians know when, where and how to use profanity to get that extra punch to the show and when they do it, it just seamlessly fits in. Obviously the AIB knockout team and their invitees did not have a clue on that. But that is just my opinion and I might not be the majority. I felt they were just riding on vulgarity for most part except a few very intelligent ones that came through.

In India someone will always reject something happening for the first time

The AIB knockout is the first of its kind in India and India is a place where anything when it comes first will be met with some opposition. There is someone who will object to it. We call it diversity in India. But then later it becomes popular. When computers came we had many who said that it is bad and will take jobs from people. So opposing something first just says we are truly diverse Indians.

There are some things I don’t joke about; be it in public or in private

After watching AIB knockout I also went and watched a few videos of AIB, I found that also distasteful for me, but that is just me, I cannot laugh when people make a joke of cancer, Ebola etc… That is me and often I will refrain from watching them.  if thousands of people in India pay and go to watch and hear such stuff then that is their choice. I wish to differentiate myself from them.

Though I saw it and did not like what I saw, I don’t think I can blame the people who made it. YouTube or otherwiseI had a choice to not watch it. No one forced me to watch it and it did not happen at a place and time (YouTube or otherwise) where I cannot avoid it as part of my daily activities. So I did not like it but I cannot complain about it either.

Is the structure of the program to not have any boundaries?

Another issue I feel is when we imitate something we do not know how to (if we need) set the boundaries, unless the structure of the show is to not have any boundaries. Though the vulgar language and what was spoken should not come as a surprise to people in India because that is used often in college campuses, accepting that these things can be said on a stage makes some people uncomfortable. Especially when they realize that this  profanity knows no boundaries. But again everyone had their choice to watch or not.

Did AIB knockout serve the purpose it intended?

The large crowd that came there proves it did. Did the crowd enjoy, may be yes, maybe no, because I would think most of the people got inside not completely knowing what to expect. Many times seeing other people perform vulgarity can be more distasteful that personally doing it.

Also the YouTube Video gave easy access to the program to people who would not have otherwise paid and seen it. That I think is where the issue occurred. Not that people who took tickets would not have come out and complained. In India we are good at complaining whether we pay for it or not.

That being said, I think if the purpose was to generate funds, they did it. Did they entertain everybody. I don’t know and I did not pay, so I cannot comment. Only people who performed, organized and attended can comment if the purpose as they see it was met.

Should AIB team apologize?

I don’t think so. Well I know they apologized to the Archbishop, though I don’t think that was necessary. But I am not surprised because I don’t expect them to ‘not apologize’ if they find that there will be people who will stop watching their show.

I am of the opinion that they are apologizing not because they felt what they did was wrong because basic common sense allows us to know what is right and wrong even before we do it and I don’t believe that all of the show was an unprepared impulsive act.

They are apologizing because they do not want to put a fight and more controversy, they are entertainers and performers, and probably being apologetic is a necessary evil of that trade. Did they think the people who might take offence would clap and appreciate them…? I don’t think so. They intended to say what they said and now they apologize because it back fired.

Honestly I don’t think AIB knockout was promoting anything great, just entertainment through vulgarity. And some like it and some don’t. Tomorrow you can also go to them and ask for an apology because your sentiments are hurt for what ever reason. And if you can show you have a following enough to disrupt their business reach I am sure they will apologize to you as well. Apologies in such cases happen not because of new revelations, but because of the fear of confrontation.

Simple thing is, in the AIB own language “don’t f***ing do things that you have to apologize for later”. Knowing how touchy we Indians are about many things, especially religion and caste, you could have avoided joking on them and stuck to your vulgarity based entertainment or you should not apologize for what you did and what you believe is the right thing to do.

Final Thoughts

I remember a standup comedy by Russell peters in which an Indian family came with their 10 year old son and Russel asks “What did you expect to hear when you took your 10 year old to join you” We Indians are a caricature in our self, who in their sane mind would take a 10 year old to a standup comedy? But we do that and we also blame when the show has R rated jokes. Sometimes we are OK with things outside India but in India the same people become so virtuous.

We should accept the fact that as grownups we have the choice to go where we want and see what we want. It is up to us to not be offended. This is not streaking in public and should people be free to do that is a different question which we will come to that when that happens 🙂

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