In a country like India, where taking offence is a national pastime, how political can the comic scene be? Is it okay to make jokes on politicians and their politics, or is everyone too scared of Jaya Bachchan?
We sent email questionnaires to India’s leading comics and satirist to get answers to these questions. We also asked them to rate themselves on our liberal-conservative scale.
Next on our series is Aakash Mehta. A member of Mumbai’s Comedy Circuit, Aakash started his comedy company, Jokes-A-Part, with Utsav Chakraborty and Joel Fernandes. Their main goal was to make comedy more accessible to people who couldn’t afford to go to clubs or bars. He just recently joined The Comedy Factory – A comedy troupe from Gujarat.
How political is comedy in India?
I think comedy in India is not really that political. We do find comics who are incredibly political with their material (like Varun Grover). Most of us seem to be doing apolitical content.
How important is it for comedy to be political?
I don’t think comedy has to be political at all. I think the only thing comedy has to be is funny for the audience.
We know there is a large number of liberal comics (writers and performers) in India. But are there any conservative comics in the country? If yes, please name a few.
I don’t think anyone is conservative per say. Some comedians’ material may seem conservative but they’re just as liberal as the rest of us.
Where would you place yourself on our liberal–conservative scale?
I think I’m probably a 1 on that scale.