Comedy in today’s time has become quite a risky field as people are quite vocal about expressing their displeasure when they feel offended by something. One of the major example of it took place at the Oscars 2022 today when a joke made by Chris Rock about Jada Pinkett Smith didn’t go down well with her husband Will Smith. The actor went on to stage and punched Chris on live TV. While I was shocked then and am still confused now whether it was staged or real, the whole incident sparked a debate online.

In India, I have seen that hosting shows is always majorly about making people laugh. Thus, it must get tricky to find that balance between humour and insult, and while I can only wonder about it, one of India’s most renowned hosts Maniesh Paul shared his opinion on it, as he was asked about it at a press conference for IIFA Awards 2022.

He says,

“We try our best to draw a line, but today, things have become more sensitive. Earlier people used to be okay with humour but today they have become more sensitive in regards to certain topics. So, as a host, actor and performer, there is a lot of filtering that we do in our scripts so that no one feels bad and if they still do, I would like to apologize to them. Thankfully, whenever I have been on stage till now, no one has felt offended yet. I have joked around with Karan Johar, Varun Dhawan and also (Amitabh) Bachchan sahab and he didn’t mind. So, it depends on how open you are with your sense of humour.”

The actor reveals that while he uses the scripts as a reference, he doesn’t like to stick to them completely as spontaneity is what makes hosting fun for him and his audience.

Maniesh asserts,

“I don’t follow the script completely as I believe that if you do so as a host, you get restricted somewhere. A lot of things that happen on the spot are what makes it more fun. And God has been kind that I do such things spontaneously and people enjoy it. As an artist, we use filters a lot but sometimes it’s also our responsibility to deliver what the writers have written. We do check on our end as well but sometimes the writers do believe that something needs to be said. For me, whenever I am hosting, I never feel like I am hosting an award show, I feel like that I am in my drawing room and performing for my family. And that feeling is reciprocated by the audience as well.”

Maniesh insists that comedy in award shows and such events is meant to be enjoyed and if scrutinised more, it spoils the fun.

He concludes,

“If we see it as a critic, then we will have problems. A lot of us actors pull each other’s leg, but if we critique a show, we won’t be able to enjoy it. That’s why I request everyone to just enjoy it.”

Maniesh is one of the best and most loved hosts on Indian TV and if he has a point of view like this, I can’t help but agree with him. It has been a while since I have got to see his antics in any award shows or such, but now with the award season coming back, I can’t wait to witness his sense of humour on stage.