A comment war on an Instagram post started when an anonymous account of a person attending a stand-up show in an upscale South Delhi bar was published on the page “Spoilt Modern Indian Women“.
View this post on Instagram
As per the post, a group of all men youth made offensive, Islamophobic and homophobic jokes, and from the sound of it, they probably just had a bad taste in comedy (there’s a bit about grandmother making masturbation reference). What followed after was the comedians and organizers spamming the comments section with hate. There was a page called Brahman Manch Morcha with two followers and it was commenting in favour of the comedians, and guess what? One of the followers was the comedian who performed there. The comment has now been deleted.
Some people tried to explain what is wrong with the event. In the comments section of the post, Adel Rahman (a comedian who has over 1 million views on his YouTube video and images with Kunal Kamra) decided to shame a woman for her choices in life and went on to say, “you do haram things (referring to the fact that it was a pub where the anonymous person reported the incidents from and she was drinking) and I don’t say anything (as giving permission to a woman is important even if you don’t know her).”
Further, when someone tried to ask him questions, he asked, “Are you gay?”
When the same person called out Adel’s sexist comments, Keshavan Vishal, who performed the homophobic joke at the venue replied “nahi milega tujhe”, which loosely translates to you won’t get any. Another comedian, Shubham Shandilya, who has performed at venues like Canvas Laugh Club, Akshara Theatre, The Piano Man Jazz Club commented that the page is true to it’s name, “spoilt and cancer for society.” He used the term “pseudo-intellectual” and then proceeded to imply that audience members who called out the problematic views during the set were not normal, had a narrow mentality, and shouldn’t have been at the venue.
Way to go, mister, that’s how you take criticism.
The establishment took the onus of the incident and stated that “Due to a communication gap we are here at this situation, we didn’t know the script of the show and hence this incident happened, however, we take responsibility that such stuff shouldn’t have happened at our place and are committed of ensuring these things do not occur in future”.
I was particularly interested in these events because I’ve been to the same pub a few months ago. During the visit, me and my friends (all women) were bothered by a group of rowdy late 35 years old men as they tried to talk to us even after us stating we’re not interested in what they have to say. Even during this incident, the staff just stood at a corner and looked on, when they could’ve ideally intervened and asked those men to respect our space and boundaries.
It is good to know people raised concerns, stood up to the comedians and even left because of the problematic jokes. We need to raise our voice in any situation that can hurt sentiments or is incorrect in any way. That is how one can bring change.
The problem isn’t that people don’t do anything or think offensive humour is okay, but lack of awareness and ability to listen is. With the current polarized and rough times, it is important that we all are sensitive to our surroundings. Stand-up comedians have an extra responsibility, in addition to making a group of diverse people from different backgrounds laugh, they need to be responsible for the content they are sharing.
They need to be open to understanding different views, rather than shaming and calling names. Cracking problematic jokes normalises regressive views. Is that the message one wants to send to the community we live in?