I think the whole concept of Stand Up Comedy broke into the Indian television industry with The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Till then comedy on television was either the run of the mill TV series or Shekhar Suman with his line of weekly chat shows(read Movers and Shekhars, Simply Shekhars etc). With the recent growth in pub culture across metros like Mumbai and Bengaluru, I think stand up comedy has become the preferred evening entertainment after the karaoke and music nights went stale. But whats more interesting is a slow transition of these stand up comedians to their own series and presenting it with a flavor of their own. Yes, I am talking about the recently launched series On Air With AIB.
You may call it a desi version of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver with ofcourse the AIB tadka. A Hindi version is anchored by Tanmay Bhatt and Gursimran Khamba and an English version is anchored by Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya .The series has completed 5 episodes and trust me, they have been killing it! Be it the bi-lingual(Hindi and English) touch or intelligent segmentation of the episodes the series has everything going for it. Taking digs at our neta-janta has been a beaten to death genre but with sections like “Can You Not”(which I personally LOVE) and Topical-ISH, it brings about a decent variation through 20 odd minutes of AIR time. It is heartening to see them take potshots at Bollywood stars, Mulayams & Laloos, RaGa & Vadra group, and ofcourse the ruling party(Modi & Shah) though in a subtle way 🙂 Of course they do not push the envelope as much as they do with their videos and AIB Roast but still for the audience they are catering to, its well defined. The episode where they discussed the topic of fire safety was simply outstanding. Such a serious issue and was handled very deftly. But recent episode on Archaeological Survey of India was the best topic according to me. Something that I wasnt particularly aware of and I am sure most of us wouldn’t have given two hoots about!
Should you watch it? I would say YES! It is really commendable to see these young guys to do what we always wanted Indian comic stars to do. And for a change its premiered first on web(www.hotstar.com) and can be watched at your convenience with limited ad time. So finally what do I feel is missing? May be some more changes in script between English and Hindi version so that will be twice the fun it is now; actually!