Back in April, Netflix added a stand-up comedy special by India-based comic Vir Das titled Abroad Understanding. It’s a combination of two routines, one shot in Dehli in front of a big audience, and one shot in New York at a small club.
My wife’s family being of Kolkata origin, we look out for these cross-cultural comedians (e.g. Scottish comedian “Danny Bhoy”) which is why I was drawn to it, but to my delight this brave guy dug into the absurdities of religion too.
A couple years ago there was an incident where a complaint from someone of influence was made about the content of his show (part of a tour in India) resulting in the police coming in to shut it down. The content in question referred to a former politician in this case. This kind of comedy routine, while familiar over here, is still fairly new in India. He responded with an open letter expressing the problem with that kind of influence over the police.
“…That to me represents a larger picture of where we are today, and which this govt has created, where comedians, humorists, cartoonists, filmmakers, musicians aren’t just scared of leaders anymore…we are also scared of the random dude with a cellphone who knows someone who knows someone who is related to someone who is the third cousin of someone with power.
If we’ve offended you…that’s all we’ve done. We’ve offended you. that’s it. Accept it and move on”
– Vir Das
Here’s the Netflix trailer:
…and a small bit from his appearance on Conan (from the 2:10 mark):