The decline of comedy

It is saddening for TV viewers and ironic that the observation is with reference to comedy programmes. While Pakistan drama appears to have staged a comeback of sorts (shunning Indian soap style frivolities) the quality of comedy shows has consistently declined and now has come to a level where it becomes hard to distinguish whether you are watching a TV project or a lowbrow stage drama.

A couple of years back, a TV channel started a talk show hosted by the son of an Urdu poet, on which comedians from Punjab’s stage were a regular feature. Nothing wrong with that. Gradually the standard of the prgramme started to dwindle, primarily because of the loud and unfunny antics of the comedians who sometimes became hard and unintelligible to understand for many viewers.

After that another TV network adopted the concept with minor changes and lumped poet Wasi Shah with a few Punjab stage comedians. Don’t know what happened to that venture. Now another channel has come up with more or less a similar idea where comedian Naseem Vicky anchors the gig while film actress Nargis and actor Irfan Khoosat accompany him as he (Naseem V) interviews politicians. Watching Nargis and three or four comedians (one of whom bafflingly stands right next to the seated Naseem V) go bonkers in the first episode made you wonder: is there no one on our media networks who vets these projects? The people of this country have seen the likes of Kamal Ahmed Rizvi, Nannha, Moin Akhtar, Shoaib Hashmi, Anwar Maqsood, Behroze Sabzwari, Jamshed Ansari, Ismail Tara, Majid Jehangir and Zeba Shahnaz on TV making them genuinely smile and laugh. And now it is subjected to mindless zaniness born out of mediocrity!

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