Watch Kunal Kamra and Yogendra Yadav discuss why dictators hate jokes
Why did stand-up comic Kunal Kamra join Bharat Jodo Yatra, asks activist and Bharat Yatri Yogendra Yadav? Kamra stumps him with his reply.
TV anchors would surely ask him what he is doing in the Yatra and if he is planning to plunge into politics or join the Congress, jokes Yogendra Yadav. Is it because Kunal Kamra is out of work and is currently unemployed?
In response the stand-up comic concedes that it is difficult for him to perform in India though he can perform in every other state in the United States. There is no dearth of work abroad, he informs, but police permission is invariably denied in Delhi, Noida and Gurugram. He can still perform in Maharashtra, which has a different ethos and welcomes every ideology. ‘Forget about Kerala, where people come not to listen to you but to make you listen to them! If there is a microphone, the comrade must speak,” jokes Kamra.
On a more serious vein Kamra says that he was observing the Bharat Jodo Yatra for a week since December 8, trying to understand why people were joining the Yatra in such large numbers. After listening to people for over a week, he agreed to walk alongside Rahul Gandhi. “I felt I could not chicken out and take refuge in neutrality,” he added
He had cracked jokes at Rahul Gandhi and the Congress too, Kamra reminds Yadav. In fact, the BJP had used comedy and jokes with great effect to lampoon the Congress and Rahul Gandhi. But the same BJP do not have the stomach to accept jokes at their expense.
Why are stand-up comics, cartoonists and satirists at the receiving end of the government and the police? Kamra points out that the Bharatiya Janata Party used comedy as a weapon against Congress and Rahul Gandhi. They continue to do so, agrees the activist. But any comedy today, Kamara adds, must necessarily stick to the current dispensation, which is not quite known for its tolerance.
Yogendra Yadav concurs and says he is often confronted by people who accuse him of being on the ‘wrong side’ and who disagree with him. But they accept his views in good humour. But the same people react more violently to jokes and comedy.
Dictators everywhere are scared of comedy, says Yadav. “They are not afraid of reasoned arguments, logic, facts and figures. Tell them about fake and manipulated data, effects of demonetisation but they remain unmoved. But crack a joke at the dictator and they see red,” he reflects, ‘especially when the dictator is a joker’.
Yadav recalls a member of the Door Darshan crew claiming that before shooting an event, the Prime Minister spent 15 minutes instructing the crew on different angles at which the cameras should be placed. “Who goes to meet his mother with cameramen? Who can possibly even think of placing cameras in an empty cave for meditation?”
No, Kunal Kamra is not joining politics or the Congress. He is happy cracking jokes, says Kamra, the thing that he knows best. He is not cut out for politics and joining politics would affect his objectivity. But there is no reason not to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra, he declares.