Author and all-around funny man Sidin Vadukut talks about comedy in the time of intolerance
Q. What's the most important thing about writing something funny?
A. Sensitivity. People, places things. You need to be aware. In my experience, the biggest comedians are some of the most informed people you will meet, especially the ones who write their own material. You need to notice farce absurdities. You also need to take a step back, distance yourself and not be attached, to see the funny side of things.
Q. Stand-up in India is new a format...
A. Yes. Humour in writing has been around forever. I was researching ancient mathematics and you should see the kind of putdowns one mathematician wrote to the other. Busy Bee was my favourite. His observations of Mumbai were classic. There’s lots of humour in local languages too. I could never do stand-up. The idea of not being able to edit is scary.
Sidin Vadukut and Anil Kumble at a session at JLF on Saturday
Q. Is comedy and comic writing most affected by intolerance?
A. The biggest issue is law. There are restrictions on free speech and sedition. Change can happen only when laws are changed. The law allows selective interpretation. That has to go. Also, mindsets have to change.
Q. Are politicians the easiest target?
A. Yes. They have the thickest skins. You can keep making fun of corruption, etc. They don’t care.
Q. What about the AIB episode?
A. I think they are learning to deal with it now. I believe they apologised to a Christian priest once. I’m not for that. You have to tell people, if you are offended, sue me.
Q. What about making fun of religion.
A. I believe you should make fun of religion. In India, people’s identities are connected to their religion. So, if you say your God is an idiot, people think it is personal. Don’t take things personally.