Take all the sayings and cliches you want into account, and one of them has remained constant for a long time now - comedy is a serious business. Always underappreciated, unawarded and taken for granted, comedy as the practice it is should be regarded and appreciated when done well.
Of course, it is subjective and usually open to being offensive to many but having a sense of humor that is generally massy is usually doable.
When asked what are the best comedy shows you can think of? There is a chance you may not have too many Indian names popping up except the sheer gems from the 90s. The comedy scene in TV shows has deteriorated miserably over the years and what's alarming is that it doesn't seem to be getting better anytime soon. Here we will try and discuss the sad state of comedy shows in India as opposed to elsewhere and how we have the potential to make it change.
Disclaimer- Not included the on-going comedy reality shows in the list and mentions.
Having written about these names umpteen times, we all know that Indian comedy was at its best back in the 90s to early 2000s. From Hum Paanch to Sarabhai vs Sarabhai and Khichdi to Flop Show and Office Office to Zabaan Sambhal Ke among many more, we have had true gems indeed.
Ever wondered why is it only the old sitcoms that we take into account when thinking about the best? Because we actually have just over a couple of noteworthy mentions for comedy to be talking about from recent times. The last slot of having relatively decent shows included the likes of F.I.R, The Great Indian Comedy Show, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge and Shararat among others. The reason we include these shows here is how all these presentations were almost up to the mark throughout their runtime but unfortunately deteriorated in their wee days.
The latest slot of shows suggests how we have gone immensely downhill from having good sitcoms to just sheer laziness in writing. I don't deny how Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah and BhabhiJi Ghar Par Hai are iconic and will always be. But apart from the initial few years of genuine comedy, both these shows are currently running on-air just for the heck of it and the writers themselves seem to have just given up in trying to innovate in any manner.
Cause For Alarm
It's a pity that in spite of living in times where the web world has its own massive viewership, we still cannot produce quality sitcoms which may otherwise be considered to be 'niche.' Look at the likes of shows like BoJack Horseman, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and others who seamlessly and perfectly blend intelligent writing with potent humor and genuinely hilarious moments. I don't mean to compare it but rather have this being set as an example for makers in India here to understand that even though this kind of humor may not have a mass appeal, you still have the web to exploit and remind us, that we have the potential - we always had.
If you ever think 'Hey, I am in the mood to watch a good sitcom (Indian) right now', you might want to think again as with all the flock of shows currently available on the GECs, we literally have not ONE quality sitcom expect watching rehashed and fatigued content of Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah or a show that has lost its actual spark but still runs on - Jijaji Chhat Par Hai.
Indeed times for comedy need to change for the better soon.