Why are the jokes always on her?

Spotlight

This saying is absolutely true – ‘Behind every successful man, there is a woman’. But in his case, there are multiple women – the dadi, the unmarried bua, his neighbour Palak and his wife.

 Kapil Sharma, who needs no introduction has reached new heights of success in no span of time, all thanks to his TV show Comedy Nights with Kapil. 

A comedian who came to ‘the city of dreams’, Mumbai with the aspiration of becoming a singer, is today one of the most successful comic actors of our country. Kapil, who started his career by winning a stand-up comedy show even managed to get superstar Amitabh Bachchan in one of his episodes.

But, jokes apart...he was earlier this year in hot waters over a ‘pregnant woman’ joke, which earned him the wrath of women activists. The Maharashtra State Women’s Commission also issued a notice to him and the channel, demanding an explanation and summoned them for a hearing too. 

And this is not the first time, Kapil has targeted women with his jokes. His middle-aged bua, allegedly too old for love and unable to find eligible suitors despite being a “hot, sexy, twonty-two year old”, makes her a good subject to poke fun at. Palak, the spirited young woman is always insulted because she is fat and compared to a bull-dozer, rhino, tanker et al. His dadi who loves her booze and drools over young men. And finally his wife whose ‘full lips’ are always joked about, so much so that once the comedian even said tere itne mote honth mere deewar paint kar sakte hai.

The women on his show may all be ‘just characters’,  but the fact is that we laugh at them as we watch the show. Defending Kapil, comedian Vipul Goyal, said, “According to me he is the funniest guy in the country now. If the girl in the show (Shumona Chakraborty) doesn’t have any issue with such jokes made on her, then who are we to comment on him? Aise to hum kisi bhi cheez ka women-related issue bana sakte hain. Even in movies we find sexist remarks and women are shown as objects – seducing men, showing cleavage. Ninety per cent women expose karti hain films mein. So, why is he being targeted?”

Another comedian Abish Matthew, said, “One cannot have 100 per cent hit rate on any joke. Only 50-90 per cent will like any joke, it is a personal choice. And all depends on the sense of humour of the masses. Jokes are always a result of observation and one should not be offensive when it comes to their opinions. And mixing these two things together is deadly.”

There are a few who also advocate that we cannot and should not control ‘creative content’, but if we can understand why we enjoy certain kinds of songs, shows, visuals, the onus to change might be on us. It is high time that we should realise that not everything can be laughed at or consumed without question. 

Delhi-based women’s rights activist, Purnima Nirantar, said, “Kapil’s TV show, displays a ‘patriarchal’ mindset. Even the way he speaks to the audience is humiliating. Gutthi who left the show and now Palak, in a way also demean the transgender community.

 He also cracks jokes on fat women and people from rural areas – basically a lot of sexist remarks. One needs to keep in mind that when they are in a public arena, they have some responsibility towards society. Even showing his bua, who might be merely 40 in real life, as ‘old’ and can’t get married is giving notions about middle-aged women.”

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