India's Sassiest Comedy Group Tackles the Big Stuff
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because this group of Indian comedians isn’t afraid to piss off mummy and daddy.
By Sanjena Sathian
Hold on to your chappals. The aunties are about to squeal. In minor mortification.
But we’re ROFLing our asses off, thanks to a new comedy group founded by two 20-something guys: All India Bakchod, or AIB.
This isn’t just liberal self-congratulation dressed up in jangly saris.
Bakchod (pronounced “buck-chothe”) loosely translates to “senseless fuckers,” and that’s just one of the many irreverent phrases these guys say that you’d never hear on Indian TV (where censorship sometimes renders the otherwise hilarious absurd). Which makes the daring, flip-the-birdie attitude of this Indian comedy collective all the more surprising — and sensational. What else? These comics and their guests have been known to engage in some hot-and-heavy kissing — in a country where smooching on the airwaves (and in public) is still new. And where old-fashioned slapstick is far more common than political satire of the Jon Stewart or Bassem Youssef variety.
Like Jon Stewart, however, AIB trades in aggressively relevant, often intellectual, material. They’ve got plenty to say — in Hinglish — about Nietzsche; they mouthed off on last year’s elections (especially on now Prime Minister Narendra Modi), cricket fandom and classic comedic parodies (like this take on the late cookbook writer Tarla Dalal meets Breaking Bad).
They’re also bringing on some of $2 billion Bollywood’s hottest faces as YouTube short guest stars — like Imran Khan, who lambasted India’s ruling in late 2013 against LGBT rights. The founders have performed at Scotland’s Fringe Festival and all over Asia, and AIB made its viral entrée into the insular world of American comedy in the fall of 2013 with a satirical video chock-full of famous Bollywood heroines (best known for their ability to bat their eyes, shimmy their hips and run around trees in classic masala-madness) telling rape victims, “It’s your fault.”
But this isn’t just liberal self-congratulation dressed up in jangly saris. There’s a changing tide among India’s next gen — and the 20-something founders of AIB are having a blast blasting what could be the last iteration of Indians willing to tolerate covering up, censored smooching, and separate curfews for men and women on college campuses and clubs.
Check them out and decide for yourself, but we think these senseless fuckers are the smartest, most hilarious proof that something new is brewing in India — and it ain’t chai.
This OZY encore was originally published January 21, 2014.