Stand-up comedy is relatively new to India—comics only began to think of it as a career in the 2010s—but its antecedents are much older. It inherits its iconoclasm, for instance, from court jesters who mocked and thereby checked the hubris of kings. For centuries, comedy has grabbed power from below, but having been brutally harassed and trolled in recent years, India’s stand-up comics now think twice before upsetting the apple cart of power.
If comedy is a handy model of human relations, some comedians in India are today performing routines that teach us how to survive dark times. Laughter can still be medicine.
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