Indian comics seem to have decided that it isn’t enough to get laughs out of their audience. With ‘having to defend what you do in front of a judge’ now an expected part of the job description, they’re now looking to add some educational value to the mix. So you have Tanmay Bhat waxing on about finance, Samay Raina and his chess addiction, Kumar Varun and trivia, and the latest: Biswa Kalyan Rath and maths. Suddenly there’s a parallel pandemic of comedians taking on the world’s most boring topics… and making them fun!
It seems like it won’t be too long before we have our very own university with a comedians-only faculty. There’s a school I wouldn’t mind attending!
1. ‘Stonksmaster’ Tanmay
One of the original Bakchods, Tanmay Bhat is not just good at writing jokes. The comedian is also known for his obsession with research and his penchant for breaking down complex concepts. He explores a wide variety of topics including neuroscience, biology, and economics on his second YouTube channel Honestly by Tanmay Bhat.
The most famous series from the channel Stonks—where Bhat shares his knowledge about investment and the stock market—is helping his ‘Bot Army’ make some sound financial decisions. With a team of economic experts, along with comedian Nishant Tanwar, Bhat makes the study of money fun by breaking the monotony of graphs and economic models with his humour and many idiosyncrasies.
2. Shatranj with Samay
The name Samay Raina has become synonymous with chess in our country. When he started streaming chess games at the start of the lockdown, Raina had no idea he would start a trend that just keeps getting bigger and bigger. With some of the biggest names in the chess world joining him, the comedian has been pivotal in making learning this intellectual and tactical game a fun experience.
Drawing inspiration from the classics, breaking down the theory, and learning from the greats, the ‘Blunder Master’ has made chess an eminently enjoyable experience.
3. KVizzing with KV
General knowledge and trivia as a subject can be very dry and boring. However, comedian Kumar Varun found a way to get the people hooked onto an activity that most of us enjoy only when (a lot of) alcohol is involved.
One part of the Random Chikibum collective, KV brought on some hilarious people to compete in his quiz show KVizzing with the Comedians. All of us got to see how good our favourite comics are with their trivia, and how bad they are with their puns.
4. A Biswa Mind
The latest on this unusual list of teachers is Biswa Kalyan Rath.
The IIT graduate dedicated his first YouTube live stream to a universally hated subject. In the first episode of his new Simple Maths series—released yesterday—Rath explored the world of irrational numbers and broke down the famous Monty Hall problem for fellow comic Raghav Mandava.
Biswa succeeds in making numbers interesting, which is a massive compliment in itself. Here’s hoping that our ‘Mast Aadmi’ who is now ‘Maths Aadmi’ (#sorrynotsorry) does more of these streams so we can all finally understand what was going on in A Beautiful Mind.
5. Sober History with KV and Biswa
Two teachers from this list got together last March to start a history podcast 2 Past 2 Curious. The two comedians, who are neither historians nor have studied the subject, tackle a different historical theme each episode, finding humour in the absurdities of human history. We’re sure it helps that nobody can say “too soon” to these jokes, though we wouldn’t put it past people to try.
If you remember history as a subject riddled with dates and names that nobody cares about, you’ll love Rath and KV as they dig up facts and stories that will blow your mind. A product of their love for reading and the subject, the series has 5 episodes out as of now, and we hope there are plenty more in the pipeline.