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On SRK’s Birthday, Here’s A Reminder That The King Is Low-Key Funny AF

By Shreemi Verma 2 November 2022

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Being funny is hard, especially if you’re a superstar. You can be sarcastic, but that can come across as caustic (see Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif’s interviews during the promotion of the ill-fated Jagga Jasoos) or borderline cringe (almost anything our actors do under the garb of comedy). The Goldilocks problem of having just the right amount of the right comedic elements is difficult to solve. But one Indian megastar has mastered the tightrope, bringing the perfect blend of charm, wit and good-natured humour to bear.

Yes, we’re talking about Shah Rukh Khan, who turns 57 today. King Khan’s interviews have always been a delight to watch—breaking out into a qawwali rendition of Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein Khayal Aata Hai on Rendevous With Simi Garewal, good-natured guffaws at the audacity of the AIB boys asking him to play FIFA with them (solid “what a joke” energy). Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that Khan is genuinely funny. He knows timing, he’s got punchlines, and he’s got a good eye for a meme-able quote.

Neha Dhupia once said that “only sex and SRK sell” and over a decade later, that statement still holds true. So for his birthday, we’ve put together a refresher of Khan’s most iconic comedy bits and interviews that show why he remains one of the towering figures of Indian pop culture. 

BARELY SPEAKING WITH ARNUB

The bastard parody child of Arnab Goswami’s Frankly Speaking and Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Ferns, this TVF talk show featured Biswapati Sarkar doing his hammiest Goswami impersonation. Getting Khan as the guest for the pilot episode was a real coup, and the actor speaks about the kerfuffle that got him banned from Wankhede stadium for five years, roasted Arnub (Sarkar) for being a fake journalist, and had an absolute blast throughout. 

The gag is even funnier given the rumours that Khan and the news anchor strongly dislike each other, as hinted at by his masterful impression of Goswami reading a nursery rhyme on Koffee With Karan.

BHAAG JEETU BHAAG: THE JODI AWAKENS

Yet another TVF skit, this time alongside long-time friend and frequent co-star Kajol. One of the most loved on-screen couples do a heel turn in this sketch that riffs on their star pairing status, their emotionally invested fandoms, and the smash success of DDLJ. A gag for the ages. 

THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW

Khan has been one of the most popular guests on The Kapil Sharma Show, and for good reason. In this episode, the King—dressed sharply in a sherwani and some glorious harem pants—speaks to hyperventilating fans, constantly pulls Sharma’s leg, and tells jokes about peeing in public with surprising elan. Sharma gamely plays the straight man, allowing Khan to showcase his dry, genteel wit to an adoring audience. 

MY NEXT GUEST NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION WITH DAVID LETTERMAN

From dead parent jokes to wholesome pasta cooking, this 45-minute-long interview with David Letterman shines a light on the many facets of Shah Rukh Khan. The contrast with the Rendevous With Simi Garewal interview is stark—the baby-faced chocolate boy has matured into a handsome elder statesman with kind, smile-lined eyes—but Khan remains consummately charming and funny, peppering his thoughtful answers with self-deprecating humour.

FILMFARE AWARDS

Shah Rukh Khan and Filmfare are probably a better pair than Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, and that’s saying a lot. Khan ushered in the era of award show hosts being funny in India. Before him, the onus of humour fell on the very able shoulders of Johnny Lever (I will never forget “Pandu We Love You!”). With Khan as host, Bollywood showed the public that it could laugh at itself, sometimes. But a lot of it had to do with the man’s ability to shock, awe and surprise. While he was supported by co-hosts like Saif Ali Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Kapil Sharma and more, Khan was always the constant. 

AIB INTERVIEW PART 1 AND 2

Easily the gold standard on how to give an interview to a comedy collective. This chat with Tanmay Bhat, Gursimran Khamba, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya unveiled the superstar’s madcap, which has mostly remained under wraps. Reminiscent of his interviews in the early ‘90s (without the chain smoking), Shah Rukh was razor sharp, showing—not just telling—how in tune with politics, pop-culture and with the younger generation he actually is. It also doesn’t hurt that if you pause and zoom in at regular intervals, you will see some amazing books in his massive library. 

Most comments under both the videos are about Khan being the funniest in a room full of comedians. And while you can put that down to fandom, it’s not really difficult to see where they’re coming from.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Shreemi Verma

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