Two Tamil comedians that I enjoyed listening to were Cho Ramaswamy and S.V.Shekar. I use the past tense because I can’t stand them anymore. They have abandoned their traditional roles by dabbling in politics; Cho as a political commentator ( for many years now) and Shekar by throwing himself directly into the murky den of state politics.
Worse, from being satirists who used to delight with their wit and sarcasm, the two have turned into sanctimonious preachers. This, in my opinion, is gross misuse of the ‘humour’ platform that they built their early careers on.
The oxymoron, “wise fool” has always been used in Indian stories. Birbal and Tenali Raman come immediately to mind. Humour was seen as an important medium to impart sense into the minds of autocratic rulers who would not listen to conventional counsel. In the modern world, satirists, cartoonists and talk-show hosts perform that role admirably. But, when hubris seizes them and they take it upon themselves to expand their mandate to indulge in serious political discourse, they generally make asses of themselves. Bal Thackeray is an example that comes to mind of a cartoonist who took a turn for the bitter.
I faced the same accusation from a friend and loyal reader of this blog. He encouraged my attempts at humour, but when I tried every now and then to come up with a ‘serious’ post, he was extremely critical. I had to tag such posts as “boring stuff” so that he would be alerted and could stay off.
So, I guess, the need to be taken seriously and not just as a clown who provides a few laughs, is ticking in each aspiring humourist or comedian. Maybe I should be more charitable in my views on Cho and Shekar.