DD's Comedy ShowPerhaps I was the only one rejoicing at the prospect of Doordarshan bagging telecast rights to the India-Australia Test Series. For this meant the lip-smacking prospect of the most hilarious TV show on earth, Fourth Umpire.
Monty Python would've come up a sorry second against it, the Marx Bros. would've converted to Maoism, and Chaplin would've thrown away his hat & moustache and retire knowing that nothing he could do would match its heights. The regular cast of Charu Sharma in the lead with his two able lieutenants in Atul Wassan and Krish Srikkanth are the only men in the world to possess only funny bones in their body.
When you watch them, prepare to give your tummy a workout. When Krish Srikkanth says "Noe Noe! This yndian team has every chance to win wonly if Billie Bouden would stop pointing to the skie", you marvel at his sense of comic timing. Atul Wassan's counter punches as a sad-faced ex-medium pacer evoke great humour in sharp contrast to "Chika". Charu Sharma is the funny man who plays it straight, raising a laugh with his keen insights on excessive over-ultra happy appealing by the Indians in the face of defeat. His great comedic talents lie in the fact that he keeps an upbeat face even though everyone else would've lost all remaining hair & sliced off both ears at the mindless (actually ribticklingly funny, mind you) drivel churned out in which ever commentary panel he has to anchor. Which also proves that he isn't an incarnation of the tortured Van Gogh.
But as time goes by, the producers of this epic DD show feel the need for change. They take resort in the greatest television tactic of the last ten years by introducing what is colloquially known as the "Sports B@be".
But, as we all are aware, one of the D's in DD stands for "Different"*. Unlike other channels who like to invite uninformed TV stars or failed movie item girls, DD prefers a considerably-more-ignorant, completely obscure daughter-of-the-soil. Stringent selection consists of getting all the answers to the true-false questions "Is John Wright usually wrong, According to the Bible, Adam bowled a maiden over at the Eden Gardens and A batsman can be declared out if he makes faces at the short-leg fielder" wrong. The duties of the "Sports B@be" in "Fourth Umpire" essentially consists of remembering the names of the co-panelists, the (full) phone number for asking questions and answering trivia teasers, and being able to read from pre-written "ad-lib" notes written in 20-pt size fonts.
Like a nervous batsman making his debut, the latest DD "B@be" was introduced on the fourth day's play, sitting at the corner to the right of Charu. In her anxiety, she forgot the remaining 8 digits of the DD number (luckily Charu remembered this), asked if India should enforce the follow-on (sadly, I'm making this up) and was forced into a false stroke by the DD typist who rendered the trivia question "Which of the following batsmen scored a hundred on debut against India" as "... debut in India".
By far the most important role of the "B@be" is to profess undying optimism in the face of unparalleled devastation. When the scoreboard reads "India needs 353 to win with 1 wicket in hand" and you ask her who will win, she will say India with a fair & lovely smile. That earns her a performance bonus directly proportional to the losing margin. (In fact, one of the earliest known sports "B@bes" assured US field hockey fans that the team would win the 1932 L.A. Olympics clash with the Indians despite being down by a bit)
Thanks to the BCCI, I can look forward to more of the adventures of Charu & the Boys & the Sports B@be in the next three Tests. I pray to God to give the lower orders of both teams enough hydration to pile on 200 runs each so to push each match into its fifth day to enable me to get my daily shot of stomach-churning comedy.