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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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(Published in, on 25 January 2012, retrieved from

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“Remember, I told you about this stalker of mine who asked me what the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon was?”
“Is this heading towards a dirty joke?”
“No, no. He said something about how you can stir tea with a teaspoon, but can’t...”
“Oh, God, yes. Did you run into him again?”
“No, I was just thinking that becoming a software engineer is the easiest way to downgrade one’s sense of humour. And a miserable sense of humour is the only way you won’t get sued in this country.”
“Right, so this is an oblique reference to Jay Leno and his Amritsar gag.”
“Well, yeah, I mean, you’d think Mitt Romney’s the one who should be pissed.”
“Hanh, I’m still trying to figure out why India’s got its knickers in a twist. We’ll have a Lokpal before we develop a sense of humour, man. No wonder Indian stand-up comedians suck so much, huh?”
“Well, most of them lift their material off gigs on YouTube, so the cultural references don’t make any sense.”
“They should be careful anyway. Can you imagine what would happen if someone stole Rowan Atkinson’s Devil sketch?”
“There’d be hell to pay, hahaha.”
“Yeah, man, you’d be fighting off Church groups on the one hand for making the Devil cool, and the Saffron Brigade on the other for bringing in the Biblical character instead of Yama. And if they flicked his Indian waiter skit, the Hoteliers Association or Waiters’ Association or something would object to the portrayal of Indian waiters.”
“Plus, it’d be banned in all the dry states. How many were there at the last count?”
“How many states, or how many dry states?”
“Never mind. Seinfeld’s a relatively safe guy to pinch stuff off. Especially since none of our airlines seem to have the money to take people to court.”
“And the handicap parking gig sends out a strong social message. The government would probably endorse it and make a PSA out of it too.”
“No, dude. Feminists would get ticked off. And remember, at the end of the episode, he says he wonders how they handle the handicapped parking at the Paralympics? That’s going to have the NGOs up in arms.”
“Oh, yeah. How about The Colbert Report then? He only makes fun of Americans.”
“Dude, can you imagine what would happen if someone used the one about the Norway bombing? The Darul Uloom Deoband would protest, and the Centre would ban him from performing in India. I can so see a very grave PM or FM going ‘We cannot allow anyone to insult any person of any religious persuasion in India’. And Stephen Colbert would go, ‘But...whaa...? No, see I was being sarcastic. It’s sarcasm. When I said these people were doing a service to the nation, I meant...’ ‘No, Mr. Colbert, we cannot tolerate sarcasm against any person of any religious persuasion in India’. ‘But the sarcasm was directed against the media, not against Moslems!’ ‘We must respect the media too, Mr. Colbert.’”
“Then Jon Stewart’s gag about All American Muslim and the protests against it by the family association that wanted Muslims portrayed as terrorists wouldn’t work either.”
“Well, in that case, you’d have some women’s association baying for his blood for calling the guy’s account of sympathetic pregnancy boring, as well as Residents’ Welfare Associations across the country accusing him of making fun of their beliefs, plus the minority associations going ballistic.”
“That leaves us with the British stand-up comedians. John Cleese has that nice one on women...actually, several on women and alimony...oh, no, no, the NCW would be all over it. Well, there’s the one on free speech.”
“I don’t think anyone in India would find that funny. That’s pretty much what all our talk show hosts do, right? And we love them for it. His search for The Cleese Idol may work, though.”
“You think? If he were Indian, the lot from those laughter challenges and most wanteds and most talenteds would cry foul. I mean, they’ve been unearthing prodigies who can see through bandages and suchlike, and here’s a guy making fun of them! How about Fry and Laurie? They had that hilarious one about the poem, remember?”
“I can’t think of a single group that wouldn’t object to it. Teachers, homosexuals who don’t like poetry, Baba Ramdev...”
“Well, Baba Ramdev could probably teach Stephen Fry a few yoga exercises that would set him straight. He’s the one who invented some potion to cure gayness, no?”
“Potion or position, I’m not sure. But Fry and Laurie wouldn’t last in India anyway. That cricket commentary of theirs would have the BCCI speaking to the MCC.”
“And doing what? Bullying them into selling bananas instead of strawberries?”
“Well, they’d be banned for introducing kids to vulgarity in that piece on new swearwords anyway.”
“How about the Onion News Network? The media’s kind of hated anyway, na? Someone could steal that piece on the bullsh...hey, am I allowed to speak of animal excreta under the government’s new policy?”
“I’m not sure. But whoever flicks that gag will likely be fined 100 crore rupees for showing the wrong bear or something. And that’s why the only things we can laugh at are Malayali accents and Punjabi pronunciation, and those tired cracks about bargaining with autowallahs, and how Indian men can’t wear tuxedos without looking like waiters.”
“By the way, are you sure software engineers can’t sue us for this?”


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