'One Mic Stand': Shashi Tharoor calls out PM Modi, speaks millennial lingo; his stand-up act becomes a massive hit
The veteran politician tries his hand at stand-up comedy, says ‘blame it all on Nehru’ if you don’t find it funny.
Several people on Twitter admitted that they skipped all the episodes and went straight to the last one, as it featured the Thiruvananthapuram MP trying his luck at stand-up under the guidance of comic Kunal Kamra.
Other episodes feature YouTube sensation Bhuvam Bam, Bollywood actresses Richa Chadha and Taapsee Pannu, and playback singer Vishal Dadlani.
For starters, Kunal Kamra mentoring Tharoor raised quite a few eyebrows. For the uninitiated, Kamra is a left-leaning comedian whose jokes often target the ruling government and are mostly anti-BJP.
For Kamra to mentor Tharoor, who basically lies on the same end of the political spectrum as him, should have been easy. The two also have a dislike towards a certain journalist who ‘must not be named’, or else he might file a defamation case, as Kamra mentions in the opening act.
But, things weren’t smooth for Tharoor as the veteran politician had only 24 hours to prepare his set, memorise it and deliver it on the stage. Needless to say, the Congress MP’s stand-up act left Twitter impressed for not one, but many reasons.
First things first, Tharoor’s set was very self-aware and full of self-referential jokes. The politician-author knows that the public perceives him as a human dictionary, someone who has a colourful vocabulary and always has a thesaurus handy. The politician turned stand-up comic used this as a premise for quite a few of his jokes.
In a country like India, where politicians are often assumed to be uptight and volatile, seeing a politician of the stature of Tharoor crack a joke at his own expense was indeed a breath of fresh air. It showed that politicians, much like the common man, are not above jokes and can laugh at themselves.
What’s more? Tharoor’s experiment with the millennial lingo made the Internet go ROFL and how! In an attempt to explain to the millennials how the British plundered and exploited India, the 63-year-old used sentences like ‘Brits were LIT AF when they saw India’ and ‘We resisted the [British] empire because YOLO’.
“Anything I say is assumed by people to be more complicated than it really is. Like today, I was ordering lunch at a restaurant and I said ‘may I have a Caesar Salad?’ and this woman goes, ‘Oh, Shashi! Always quoting Shakespeare’,” said the politician turned stand-up comic.
Moreover, the MP didn’t miss a single opportunity to take rather dignified potshots at the ruling party, the BJP. From saying that ‘colonialism is talked about in Britain as much as Narendra Modi mentions demonitisation’ to ending his set on ‘didn’t find it funny? You can learn from Narendra Modi and blame it all on Nehru’, Tharoor wasn’t afraid to get political with his set.
The Thiruvananthapuram MP got a standing ovation from the crowd towards the end of his set and was lauded by Twitterati for being his witty best.
Tharoor, who used to be the most-followed politician till 2013 and was subsequently overtaken by Narendra Modi, also took to Twitter to share some interesting feedback that he received for his stand-up act.
Thanks! Coming from Thiruvananthapuram that’s doubly welcome! https://t.co/1ohr1U3fDY— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) 1573796061000
And it didn’t cost them a paisa to have me on the show! Also many people wrongly assume I appear in the whole serie… https://t.co/MgfZq3FRwE— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) 1573760082000
Thank You Dr. @ShashiTharoor for making me LOL (just like, in your stand-up, You’ve made the utmost of the millenni… https://t.co/qrzleNKChw— (@MasterOogwayyy) 1573830932000
All in all, Shashi Tharoor trying stand-up and doing a decent job at it was a monumental moment not just for the Indian stand-up comedy scene, but also for Indian politics. It showed how humour can be used as a tool to bridge the gap between ideologies and political opponents.
Till then, let’s thank Shashi Tharoor for being such a sport and making us laugh till it hurts.