There are cringe-worthy moments on TV, and then there is material that makes you wonder whether it is at all appropriate for national television. I’m not talking about ads that compare human lungs to a sponge being squeezed. Those make you grimace, but are made for a purpose — to frighten you into giving up smoking.
I’m talking about the stuff that passes for jokes on television. Topping the list is toilet humour. Last week on Bigg Boss 7, we saw Ratan Rajput go on about using the toilet, how the toilets had no water, the missing latch and how she needed to go before any other contestant came into the house. Another contestant, Rajat Rawail, was talking about heaven and hell with Salman Khan when they began chatting about loos. Rajat was told that hell has Indian-styled loos, to which Rajat shared rather avoidable information about how he can’t squat and instead will make a hole in the seat of a chair.
Earlier, Parineeti Chopra too spoke about her stomach being upset on Kapil Sharma’s show Comedy Nights With Kapil. We also saw host Kapil slide down the ramp in Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa mimicking a contestant, but instead of just sliding, he squatted, giving it a whole new meaning.
Some of the jokes simply put you off. So why do the actors talk about it? With stiff competition on TV, and week after week of churning out funny scripts, they are sometimes left with nothing intelligent to use. The fact is that while it offends some, a section of the audience does like such humour. A popular comedian even told me that at times, these jokes are crutches from one element of their act to the other. Or at times, they are just jokes added at the spur of the moment when they feel they aren’t hitting the right notes with the audience.
There is a debate over double entendre and toilet humour, and where to draw the line. Deepika Padukone’s item number in Dum Maaro Dum (2011) faced flak for the toilet references. So we can’t imagine Ali Asgar being loved for bringing farts to the table and punning on a war of a different kind.