Comedy on Indian television has lost its sense of humour. And going by the number of times anchor-standup comedian Kapil Sharma pokes fun at people's bellies, the punchline is replaced by the 'paunch'line in Comedy Nights With Kapil.
Last week I caught Kapil mercilessly ribbing two paunchy guests on his show. The paunch ceased to be funny. But Kapil was still at it.
That more or less, sums up the fate of Kapil's show which began with plenty fan-fare but has now become as boring as the showbiz guests that keep dropping in to meet Kapil's filmy parivaar show which includes Asgar Ali in drag playing Kapil's feisty over-sexed Dadi.
Jeez, what a drag!
That the show's format is borrowed from the British comedy Kumars At No. 42 goes without saying. And Asgar playing a drag-queen version of Meera Sayal is a scream. But Kapil's comic outing has rapidly lost steam probably because it has become yet another platform for Bollywood stars to promote their films.
Last week I lost count of the number of shows where Shahid Kapoor showed up to promote his new film (no, we are not mentioning the overplugged title). No matter which channel I saw only Shahid.
'Surf' tum Shahid, 'surf' tum!!!
On Sony Entertainment's Comedy Circus Shahid sat with the regular hosts Archana Puransingh and Sohail Khan (both of whom are given the thankless job of laughing at every gag as if it was the funniest in the world). On stage was item girl Claudia Cisela in a comic act that required her to scream, 'Sahid, help me!' after every pause.
Shahid looked like he could do with some help himself.
Where are the real humour writers on television? Are they all busy in cinema writing a series of sequel for Masti and Grand Masti?
I've a serious anger-management problem with Anger Management. Don't get me wrong. This sitcom on the Comedy Central channel sparkles with brilliant writing. And I suggest Kapil and the other countrymade 'laugh'-boats take a long hard lok at what makes the home-viewing medium shake rattle and roll with laughter.
Once again, it's the censorboard that has played the villain in the comedy. Apparently no four-letter words are allowed. And that includes the word 'sex'. On Sunday's episode of Anger Management the 's' word which recurred intermittently was prudishly beeped out each time.
The eco-friendly channels better watch out. The censors might beep out words like 'birds' and the 'bees'.
My vote for the funniest comic actor of the season is the affable Karan Mahi on Sony's Junior Indian Idol. For weeks, Karan took potshots and abuse from the judges and the guests for his terrible jokes.
At least Karan Mahi could laugh at himself. And that's funnier than laugh at other people's bellies.