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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Price of being funny

Serena Menon, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, August 07, 2012
First Published: 14:14 IST(7/8/2012) | Last Updated: 16:10 IST(7/8/2012)

As Jay Hind earns Sikh community's ire, we ask city stand-up comics about censorship When does something go beyond a joke? Sumeet Raghavan, Rajeev Nigam and Abhigyan Jha, host, comedian and director, respectively, of the online comedy show, Jay Hind, can't say. Last week, they received death threats when a skit they'd done on British marathon runner, Fauja Singh, attracted the wrath of the Sikh community. They were forced to issue an apology, and it made us wonder: Do stand-up comedians in India censor their routines so as to not offend their audience? Stand-up comics Tanmay Bhat, Ashish Shakya and Rohan Joshi have received threats in the past, but nothing really frightening. "When I received a threatening phone call a long time ago, I didn't take it seriously, though they messaged again to make their point," says Tanmay.
 
Adds Ashish, "About three years ago, I was asked to apologise for a joke by some members of a political party. But death threats for jokes? That is some twisted sense of perspective."

Stand-up comics say they need not censor themselves because their audiences encourage and protect them. "People expect us to make jokes about certain things," says Rohan. "A stand-up crowd is different from the people who watch videos. They are much more
controlled."      

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