Mumbai, March 5 -- Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but sometimes an overdose of something can be boring too. In recent times, that has been the case with comedy shows on television.
Two of the most-talked-about shows - Comedy Nights with Kapil and Mad In India - appear to be grappling with similar issues. While sources claim that actor Manish Paul, who is part of the latter, is contemplating walking out of the three-week-old show owing to poor response, Kapil Sharma has apparently requested his show's channel to go back to the weekly telecast format instead of airing it twice a week.
Sources reveal that the ratings of Kapil's show have dropped, possibly due to repetitive content. On being contacted, Kapil's spokesper-son says that his health issues have led the show to be aired once a week. Manish and Sunil Grover's Mad In India seems to be in bigger trouble. "The shoot was gets into a woman's garb in one of his acts on a TV show recently cancelled for three consecutive days, and the actors had to return after waiting for hours on the sets," says an insider. When asked, Manish maintains that he is still on board. "I have signed a 26-episode contract,"he says.
Besides these two shows, every channel seems to have a show in the comedy race. Recently, comedian Krushna Abhishek, too, said that he'll launch his own series on TV. Industry experts and actors feel that it's possibly this overkill of comedy that's now starting to bore viewers.
"Once a trend is set, people tend to keep stretching it like chewing gum... aur chewing gum ka swad sirf shuruwat mein rehta hai, uske baad nahin (the flavour of chewing gum doesn't last)," says stand-up comic, Naveen Prabhakar. "We used to write our own scripts, but now all these actors have writers scripting for them. Weak content can kill your show," he adds.
Apart from the overdose, the concept of men in drag does not seem to be working any more. "Most of it is not even funny," says adman Prahlad Kakkar. TV producer (Clockwise from top) Kapil Sharma, Ali Asgar as Dadi, Sunil Grover as Gutthi and Chutki, and Manish Paul Rajan Shahi agrees, saying, "A guy dressed like a girl is a novel formula for laughter, but that should be done in limits."Viewers also feel that the practice of humiliating live audiences is in bad taste. "Comedians think they can say whatever they want in the garb of a joke. That is just not done," says Pooja Dixit, a viewer. Adds television producer Sudhir Sharma,"Kids watch TV, too, so one needs to be careful."