How can you take such sick jokes, India?

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015 10:10 hrs
Abish Mathhews

Hardly has the dust settled on the infamous and utterly boring AIB Roast than they have struck again. This time it was over one of their unwatchable performances at the National Law University in Delhi, where some students finally took a stand and protested.

This protest made clear the one thing that was completely missing from the debate around that sad and sorry Roast. That the fulcrum of the so-called ‘humour’ of this utterly unimaginative, unintelligent and unfunny set of idiots is a mixture of sexism, racism, misogyny and a banal and mindless and relentless repetition of the same sad so-called ‘jokes.’



Numerically, most of these jokes centre around women and are sexist and misogynist. This is what is amazing about the great defenders of AIB across the board. They never seem to have any problem with the anti-women jokes, the rank sexism and the dank misogyny. From the reports, the jokes are the same.

I had the singular misfortune of being subjected to AIB when I had gone for a Raghu Dixit concert in Delhi and they opened the show. It is something I will never forgive Raghu Dixit for.

I almost threw up at the jokes and it took all my courage not to sling my shoes at them. What was even more appalling, of course, was a large part of the audience loving them, hooting, clapping and so on, supposedly showing sporting spirit. The fact is that it had nothing to do with any such thing.

It was the anti-women sentiment that everyone, including women, was loving.

It is important to unpack the allure of this sick and demented ‘humour.’ Part of it, of course, is that most of the jokes are sexual. In our sexually starved culture, any sexual shit sends a frisson down our sex-craving spines.

AIB are like five year olds who have just discovered abuse and cuss words and are trying them out for the first time, feeling mighty chuffed with themselves. Unfortunately, most of the audience is at the same mental age.

Part of it is the fact that men resent women for not falling at their feet and craving them. Popular culture is full of shit about women being a waste of time, heartbreakers, moneysuckers and, most of all, bitches who don’t put out.

A resentment against women is the staple of every Honey Singh song and every AIB joke. Part of it is the just the crudeness and sickness of the new Indian middle class who get their kicks from people being insulted, abused, raped and beaten to death. AIB specialises in the verbal performance of all of this.

The hypocrisy of AIB is evident when they apologise to the Catholic Church for offence caused and yet play the ‘Freedom of Speech’ drum when it comes to their brand of offensiveness. Women, of course, are never to be apologised to for any offence caused.

The sickness of the audience is evident in the violence the handful of protestors faced from an audience denied their spectacle of the abuse of communities and half the world’s population, the less important half, of course.

That there were women also pissed off only shows that the only thing many women can do to feel better is to hate themselves an pretend that that makes them get close to men or, better still, makes them men themselves.

That, in this case, the audience was a bunch of law students really speaks poorly for the future of lawyers in this country. Why single out the lawyers of Mukesh Singh and their views? All lawyers share these views. AIB jokes are no less than the verbal rape of women and law students love it.

But the biggest sickness of it all is the offensive drivel we mistake for humour. If our understanding of what is funny is the repeated reference to women’s bodies, women’s genitalia and women’s minds in the most derogatory and offensive terms, if it is the making fun of communities based on the most pathetic stereotypes once again mindlessly repeated and if we consider a bunch of rightly infuriated students worthy of abuse, violence and heckling, we are truly the sickest society in the world.

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Ashley Tellis is a freelance writer, editor and gay activist

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