Why Kapil Sharma matters in these uncertain times

For the last ten years, the irrepressible entertainer from Amritsar remains a bright blast of comic relief in our hectic and tense lives. And as his popular show proves, making people laugh is always a serious business

In a recent episode of Kapil Sharma Show, a visibly amused Anupam Kher asked Kapil Sharma, “How do you manage to come up with such rib-tickling one-liners at the drop of a hat,”? The effervescent and ever-smiling Kapil, always thinking on his feet, came up with a quick-witted response that had the audience in splits. He said, “I am from Punjab where people barely have anything constructive to do. They just keep talking silly things. I was also one of them. Somebody suggested why didn’t I go to Bombay as I would make money by selling those wacky and funny ideas.’’ This is vintage Kapil Sharma, the current baadshah of comedy, gifted with a puckish sense of humour, and who for the last ten years, has become a household name in India.

A self-made man, Kapil hails from an ordinary middle-class family in Punjab’s Amritsar. Kapil is a born comedian and has a nuanced comic talent. His show guarantees laughs, and the quality of darts is mostly of the highest standard. In his shows, bodacious by all accounts, he regales and entertains us by asking his celebrity guests to narrate their funny experiences and embarrassments in life. Be it actors Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, singer Mikka or cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur, Kapil has funny questions up his sleeve for each of these celebrities from different professions. In fact, Kapil has this uncanny knack of bringing the best out of celebrities who grace his shows. When Kapil flirts with Bollywood heroines, peppered with innocuous remarks, it provides lots of belly laughs. Kapil loves to indulge in self-deprecating humour by making fun of his own tooti footi (Pidgin) English in front of his guests. He is like one of us and comes across as a simple guy sans any ego and pretensions. Perhaps, Kapil is one of those rare personalities who, besides being a comedian, is also a gifted singer. The comedian will soon be seen as a disillusioned delivery boy in the upcoming movie Zwigato directed by Nandita Das.

Kapil’s fans come to India from as far as the US, the UK and other European countries to be part of the audience in his reality show. The audience comprises a whole gamut of people from all walks of life. They sit together, laugh together irrespective of their social background. Just as nature allows no vacuum, so Kapil and his fans draw each other. In other words, humour is a great leveller. Kapil has made us realize that life is worth living no matter how tough and disconcerting it might get. He reduces our stress hormones. His show teaches us to be optimistic and look at the lighter side of life. He has impressed on us the need to laugh at oneself and at life’s idiosyncrasies.

Using a hackneyed adage, laughter remains the best medicine in these uncertain times and has its therapeutic underpinning, especially after the devastating pandemic laced our guffaws with shades of blue. And who else but our own Kapil to keep reminding us that a day without laughter is, in the words of Charlie Chaplin, “a day wasted.”

kapil sharma show stand up comedian laughter Zwigato
Kareena Kapoor Khan with Kapil Sharma in his show | Courtesy: Twitter/KapilSharmaK9

Making it big in the dog-eat-dog world of stand-up comedy was never easy for Kapil who started off by doing small comic roles in comedy shows on TV around 2009. The likes of Raju Shrivastav and Sunil Pal, despite their advancing age, were still drawing a large crowd in public functions and gatherings. But the young and good-looking Kapil was made of different stuff. His comic timing and unique dialogue delivery marked him out as someone who had all the potential to blaze a trail in Indian comedy. Finally in 2012, Kapil Sharma came to success after he got the opportunity to host Kapil Sharma Show and wrote its genetic code in an act of derring-do. There is nothing on television quite like Kapil Sharma Show which also has other talented comedians to jazz up the episodes with their madcap antics. It has completed ten years and continues to rule our hearts. Kapil has more than 44 million followers on Instagram.

We desperately need the likes of Kapil Sharma whose comedy show is a balm for our frazzled nerves in an age when militarism, communal disharmony and violence have become endemic. So, next time, you feel overburdened with weltschmerz, or a red mist descends, tune in to Kapil Sharma Show to laugh your head off. It will be good for the health of your heart.

Aditya Mukherjee

The writer is an independent journalist based in Delhi

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