India’s Stand-Up stars who are known for diving deep into the hilarious world of political comedy
A true riot in laughter never hurts anybody!
Stand-up comedy is the fastest growing sector in Indian entertainment and it can also be said that there will come a point when these comedians will take over the cricket and Bollywood stars in terms of popularity. Comedians like Vir Das, Kunal Kamra, and Varun Grover who are famous in India and over the world are constantly making news not only for their stupendous humour but also for their political comedy.
In the changing times when the public at large already has a very strong dose of healthy or even noxious connection with their preferred side of the wing, taking shots at the politicians and the system has become a new trend. But the best stand-up comedians do more than just jokes, they shape this very crucial discussion and become part of a greater process through the act of making jokes. In simple terms, they are the voices, funny but voices!
But this easy-looking job is not so easy! Writing jokes might sound uncomplicated but bringing them out in front of the world takes a lot more courage than you can imagine and with that, a thought always comes up in the minds of these stand-up comedians when it comes to doing political comedy- To do or not to do, that is the question!
We have prepared a list of all the comedians who have made a conscious decision to not censor themselves when it comes to politics-
Who doesn’t remember Kamra’s infamous flight confrontation with Arnab Goswami and how he faced a 6-month flight ban because of it. There is no doubt that his journey since 2017, has been a timeline of Indian politics beginning from his stand-up act named “Patriotism and the Government” to him interviewing various politicians on his controversial show “Shut up ya Kunal”, to creating hilarious political memes, and supporting the fellow comedians like Munawar Faruqui, one thing is sure, Kunal Kamra is not someone who’s falling short of the political comedy. Don’t believe us, his social media is filled with all the proof!
We all have heard of Munawar Faruqui who was arrested for jokes allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments. The comedian faced his share of controversies when his 12 shows got cancelled which ended with him writing an Instagram post saying, “Hatred Won and the Artist Lost”. The comedian has done several stand-up shows and much of it is based on political satires. He is known for doing political comedy.
We can’t think of Vir Das without remembering his iconic “Two Indias” monologue at the Kennedy Centre in Washington. According to Vir Das, you just have to keep doing it, until there are too many jokes, the only way out is through. He certainly swears by his words and is believed to be one of the most prominent and intelligent comedians not only in India but also globally. Through his clever writing and quick wit, he has been able to create a name for himself by also becoming the first Indian comedian in India to have his own stand-up show on Netflix. Well, all we can say is there’s no doubt that Vir Das is a comedian from two Indias!
When it comes to political comedy, some comedians have made a conscious decision to stay away from it. Kenny Sabastian has given his share of reasons in a hilarious way on his stand-up special, “Why I Don’t Do Jokes About Politics in India”, where he talks about why he prefers to do jokes about tea and biscuits and not religion and politics and all we can say is you’ve got to watch it!
Varun Grover through his socio-political comedy and themes in his stand-up comedies has dared to ask some very uncomfortable questions all disguised in humour. Grover is popular for his jokes targeted at the privileged in the country. The lyricist turned comedian is also the co-creator of the political satire musical show, “Aisi Taisi Democracy” which is a treat to watch.
We can’t talk about comedy without talking about Hasan Minhaj. The Indian American is very vocal about his views on politics especially when it comes to India. Starting from Indian Elections to Pulwama Attack, there’s no topic he doesn’t touch upon. Minhaj’s show “Patriot Act” on Netflix revolves around socio-political topics which brings an acute and nuanced perspective to global and political news.
According to Agrima, it is absolutely impossible to do comedy without touching politics. She became popular after her first comedy video, “UP is the Texas of India”. Caught up in a controversy for an old clip from one of her comedy shows, comedian Agrima Joshua’s battle is a battle of every opinionated woman in India.
Sorabh Pant is another name in the list of India’s top stand-up comedians. In his stand-up comedy, “Make India Great Again”, he claims that he knows nothing but wants to change everything, taking a hysterical dig at the political affairs of state and Indian politics, there’s only space for an absolute laugh riot in the room for the viewers. According to Pant, “The most entertaining thing on Indian TV is our politics”. Well, we beg to differ since Pant’s comedy takes that spot for us.
Rajneesh Kapoor is a stand-up comedian and a cartoonist who is best known for his hilarious jokes on a wide range of topics. He is the founder of the comedy group, “Tongue in Cheek” and has done various comedy shows nationally and internationally. He has also been rated as “India’s Top 10 Comedians” by the Times of India. When it comes to making jokes on politics, Rajneeesh Kapoor does it in the most friendly and non offensive way. His stand up comedy, “Politicians ka Roast” is an entertaining feast.
In India, a trending wave of Hasya Kavis has also taken the stage, where a crowd of thousands goes to watch their favorite talents live. Many Hasya Kavi’s have been using their talents for years to speak about various political and social issues and sending a bigger message out in the world. Although Hasya Kavita is a very different genre, our list will be incomplete without it. Some of India’s biggest political Hasya Kavis are-
Kumar Vishwas is an Indian poet and politician. He is a member of the Aam Aadmi Party and a former member of its National Executive. Vishwas who has a Ph.D. in Hindi Literature hosts a comedy show called KV Sammelan on the Aaj Tak television channel. Along with being a songwriter, Vishwas always hit the headlines giving performances in which he demonstrates his poetry and love for literature. He is known for incorporating his comments on topical and political issues relating to India. Vishwas has presented the musical poetry series, ‘Tarpan’, where he recited poems of famous historical poets against a background of music. He performs routinely in front of large crowds in different cities and has also participated in poetry recitations abroad including the US, Dubai, Oman, UK, Singapore, and Japan.
Arun Gemini is one of those Hasya Kavi’s whose Haryanvi accent is enough to make you laugh. He routinely hits the news for his comments on social and political issues. One of the biggest stars of Hasya Kavi Sammelan, he was also awarded the Kaka Hathrasi Award for outstanding contribution in the literary field by the Government of Delhi in 2000. Arun Gemini has his own way of making unpredictable and light-hearted jokes in Hasya Kavita which is why he is most loved among his fans and followers. Along with being a host to the comedy poetry show, Hansgola, he was also one of the participants of SAB TV’s comic poetry series Wah! Wah! Kya Baat Hai!. With an incredible talent for touching people’s hearts through his words, he is one of the most well-known faces in the Hasya Kavita scene today.
When it comes to the comedy scene, we can’t forget the famous YouTubers of India, who have taken the responsibility to make people in India laugh from the comfort of their homes. While making you laugh, these YouTubers also make sure to give you an idea of what is going on in the political environment in their own style. Some of the most trending comic Political YouTubes in India are-
The Screen Patti
The Screen Patti is a new age comedy channel for the Millennials of India who make hilarious videos on various topics and issues. Their videos are known for comedy sketches on social satire that humorously infuses social problems in their short episodes. Their videos like TSP’s Rabish ki Report, Prime Minister with Rabish, and Elections in Different States will leave you in splits of laughter.
Ajeet Bharti is a well-known journalist and YouTuber, who makes videos on various social and political issues. He is best known for his comic sketches and mimicry of various politicians and media personalities. He has more than ten years of experience in the field of mass communication and journalism which helps him all the more to come up with new topics for his YouTube channel. His straight-faced comedy will make you laugh while also giving you a lot to think about.
Sham Sharma Show
Shambhav Sharma is the talent behind the popular Sham Sharma Show. He is an opinion and news sharer based on current affairs. He started creating YouTube content in 2017 and now has gained a massive following with millions of views. In his videos, he tries to uncover the hidden facts behind any incident and is especially good at criticizing those who he doesn’t agree with and also shares his logical opinions.
This list is incomplete without mentioning some of the biggest Indian political cartoonists who by their creativity, art and imagination have managed to leave a mark. The famous Indian Political cartoonists are-
Manjul is a well-known face in the world of cartoons. He has several accolades to his name. He won the Maya Kamath Memorial Awards for Excellence in Cartooning in 2009. He is specifically known for his political content on various politicians and current affairs. He has worked with many major Indian publications like The Economic Times, India Today, Dainik Jagran and Financial Express.
Satish is a self-taught cartoonist who hails from Karnataka. He has released many cartoon books and is known for routinely making many social and political statements through his cartoons. His sketches are on a wide range of topics like Indian politicians, Corona and Cricket. In the years 2015, he was featured on “United Sketches” as a professional cartoonist from India and also made it to the list of “24 Intellectuals” by Forbes India.
Sandeep Adhwaryu is another notable name to the list of professional cartoonists of India. He has worked with Times of India as a chief cartoonist and earlier also worked as cartoonist with Outlook and IndiaToday Group. He regularly makes political content on current affairs and his designs are always novel and hilariously creative.
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