Bright Side with Vir Das is available on YouTube. (Photo: Vir Das/Instagram)
To entertain people during the 21 day lockdown, Vir Das released his new comedy series Bright Side with Vir Das on his YouTube channel and IGTV. In this interview with indianexpress.com, Vir talks about his new series Bright Side, his support for the lockdown and what you can watch while you self-isolate at home.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
How did you come up with Bright Side?
I really feel that comedy is becoming the voice of truth, and I don't think there is a comedy show out there which is unapologetically spreading optimism. I was planning to do this show for a very long time, actually we had shot four episodes of this show already, and then the lockdown happened. We have shot an episode on the #MeToo movement, Vladimir Putin, Nazis, lots of dark humour. When the lockdown happened, I shot the coronavirus episode from my house. It is going to be a proper series, which will be launched online. Things seem to be happening quite rapidly, so we might do one more on coronavirus quite soon.
For years, your acts have had a welcoming tone, a clean language and you often talk about the issues that we face as Indians, but not in a condescending way. How and why do you do so?
It is not a conscious thought to do that. I have been doing comedy for 10-12 years. Once you get a little comfortable doing it, you allow more and more of your personality into your comedy, into your art. These are the things I am thinking about. The issues in India, you and me are both thinking about it, everybody is thinking about it. As you get older, and more secure in your art form, they find their way into the page. So, that is more of a subconscious thing than a conscious thing.
Why do you think it is important for comedians to speak up about certain issues in their content?
I don't think we are, I'll be very honest with you. We were just trying to make people laugh. And because nobody else is speaking up about these issues, it seems like we are speaking up. So, it is about relativity. I think when we will get a strong media, a strong opposition, comedians will become very weak in comparison.
Today when you see Trevor Noah making his shows from home, he still has an agency, he is critical of the government's shortcomings. Do you think Indian comics will be able to call out the Indian government for its shortcomings?
Both politically and comedically, I don't think that the reality that applies to any western country can apply to India. We are a far more diverse country, with far more languages and far more sensibilities. We can't have a unified comedic voice for India, even if was to be a Hindi voice. Just because we are such a diverse country, I don't think we are going to get that.
And, I also think that our government is dealing with a different set of circumstances. We have got to work with what we have right now. Firstly, I think it is time to stand wholeheartedly with the government. This lockdown is a very very tough but very very needed decision, and I support it completely. When there is a time again to question the government, we will do it. But right now is the time to stand hand-in-hand with the government.
How are you passing your time in self-isolation?
My wife and my bulldog are very happy to have me home, because otherwise I travel so much. So, I am just enjoying spending time with my family so much.
Suggest five comedy shows for people to watch online during this lockdown.
I would suggest Blackadder, it is British comedy. Then, Bill Burr's comedy specials. Then there is this guy called Vir Das, he is really funny and has three specials on Netflix, so please watch him, but I would put him on number three. Then please go on YouTube and you can find all of Jaspal Bhatti's stuff, it is amazing.