“A Delhi regiment of the army would just not stop honking their tanks. We would be the first country with weapons of mass irritation. A Mumbai regiment would queue up for a battle, they are too polite.”
“Hindu’s joke about Sikhs that they are stupid, but the next thing they do is worship a stone statue.”
“These gyms promise you the body of a goddess. They just fail to mention that its the body of an Indian goddess you get.”
“A Jat and a feminist- that relationship just does not work. A feminist would never go on her knees for a Jat.”
“There are no fat girls in Delhi. Check any matrimonial site. There are just a lot of healthy girls.”
Just a small selection of jokes from a night of Indian stand-up comedians in Delhi. I could not understand all the jokes, but enjoyed the loud laughter and interaction of the audience and in the end, I did learn a bit more about stereotypes of different groups, casts and religions within India. People in Mumbai more polite than in Delhi, people in Calcutta more up for protest, West-Bengalis sticking together a lot, Tamils very religious, Jats very macho…
I was surprised to hear hard jokes about religion, and people laughing about it. I always thought that religion was a too sensitive subject in India, even among the young and educated. I was also surprised to hear sexual jokes, without the audience giggling or getting nervous about it. Even one female comedian made a lot of references to sex, while another comedian had just talked about how Indian girls would never publicly admit to any ‘intimacy’ in a relationship when not married.
Big absence in the performances were politicians and politics, while I thought that Indian politics is perfect to joke about. The same day, parliament had to use screaming and headphones to force through a bill, because the opposition was screaming and protesting. Four big members of the ruling coalition had to be sacked in the past few months because of corruption scandals. Almost 50 percent of new assembly members in Bihar, a state where elections took place last month, has a criminal record. Many of them are booked for murder. I could go on, but the point is that this could have made a funny show, right?
Perhaps it says something about Indian society. Or perhaps it says that universal jokes about sex, men and women are more popular than topical issues. But I guess I’ll have to go more often and talk to the comedians to write up an intelligent analysis of all this. I’ll save that for another time. For now, I want to say that perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was that most of the comedians were actually funny and original.
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