Sharing a few ‘serious’ laughs

The Asian Age.  | aarti bhanushali

Entertainment, In Other News

Stand-up comic Kunal Kamra’s podcast series on YouTube is bringing politicians and comedy under the same roof.

Kunal Kamra, Stand Up Comic

From being threatened for cracking jokes on the government to sitting across politicians across the same table and having a 'healthy' discussion, City-based stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra has come a long way. His latest podcast show on YouTube Shut Up Ya Kunal bridges this gap by engaging politicians in a humorous and enlightening debate about current affairs and politics.

His idea was to reach out to people and break the social media clutter people are exposed to. “I always wanted to experiment with the medium of podcasts. I did not want to do what all the comedians were doing, I had no interest in Bollywood as well, and there was no conjunction where current affairs and politics came together with comedy. We should discuss politics as much as we can and this was a good medium,” Kunal shares.

Three episodes of his show are on air currently. The stand-up comic is seen having a freewheeling discussion with Madhukeshwar Desai, vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s youth wing in the first episode, Congress National Spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi in the second and the most popular one so far has been with Jawaharlal Nehru University students Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid. Convincing people to come on board has been a difficult task, “It is always difficult to get them on board and I had to convince them that I’m not biased towards anyone and that it is going to be a fun show. They often come up with excuses like ‘I don’t have the time for this,’ ‘I’m too busy,’ ‘this is too trivial,’ etc.” he laughs. “The plan’s to have a guest every month but politicians always end up with some excuses or the other,” he adds.

Kunal has a wish list of people he would like to invite on his show, “AAP’s spokesperson, Shashi Tharoor and Rahul Gandhi as well. The pitch is simple, do you want to be yourself on the show, have a casual chat and share a few laughs. There is nothing that is pre-planned. They don’t have any idea what is the topic of discussion. It's all impromptu and spontaneous.”

With comedy and politics being a touchy subject how does he maintain the balance, “We can have a fun discussion on a serious topic as well. It’s only changing with time, politicians only have a problem when something hampers their vote bank. How are they going to stop someone from cracking jokes at their expense, I can't imagine that to happen anymore. They (politicians) will only try and stop something if it affects their vote bank,” he signs off.