There's a reason why news comedy shows aren't hugely popular in India (well, at least not as popular as Big Boss). You can't directly take on the government, the president of the ruling party, his henchmen, Amitabh Bachchan, and the Shiv Sena of course without asking for a death wish. That is not unless you replace names with less controversial things like jalebi and chai; everyone loves those!
So when we heard that our favourite comedy collective, All India Bakchod, was actually going to be hosting a news comedy on television-yup, they have a slot on Star Plus and Star World-we were thrilled. You have to admit, these guys don't play safe. Remember The Roast starring Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor, and Rape: It's Your Fault featuring Kalki Koechlin, and the countless other satires they've done?
Now three episodes down, their latest, and probably biggest, show On Air With AIB seems promising but definitely lacks the AIB-vity. Believe it or not, but I didn't find myself laughing hysterically. Probably a slight smile every now and then but AIB definitely doesn't roll out the punches like candy. There are few of them, very few I'd say, and at the end of the show you end up feeling less than satisfied.
You can check out their videos on the Hotstar website.
Interestingly, the show airs in two formats: the English version which airs on Star World and is hosted by Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya, and the Hindi version which airs on Star Plus and is hosted by Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba. And if it wasn't obvious already, it draws inspiration from news comedy shows like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
But here's the problem: the show is too much talk. Unlike its western counterpart the guys are unable to deliver the perfect combination of narrative, videos, statistics, memes, and theatrics. At certain points you're tempted to stop mid-show; something that NEVER happens with an AIB satire.
Regardless, they do manage to address some relevant and timely topics like the Bihar Elections and Diwali. But the segment that is funniest by far is Can You Not. From debunking the stupid assumption about the picture of India on Diwali taken by NASA to seeing through the rumours about Neil Nitin Mukesh being approached for Game of Thrones, this segment is well thought out and funny as hell.
The verdict: you should definitely watch the show despite the fact that it falls short on the ROFL moments. Think about it like this. It's AIB so loyalty. And it's not like you're going to read up on the Whistleblower's Act so you might as well watch this. See it as a Spark Notes cheat to current affairs.
The saddest part has to be the fact that the videos aren't on YouTube. Shame AIB!