‘On Air With AIB 3’ Gets Lazy With Stale Jokes, Memes & PJs
<i>On Air With AIB</i> Season 3: Yay or Nay?
On Air With AIB Season 3: Yay or Nay?Photo: TheQuint

‘On Air With AIB 3’ Gets Lazy With Stale Jokes, Memes & PJs

All India Bakchod is hot in the news these days.

Too bad it’s NOT because of the third season of their ‘show’ on Hotstar, On Air With AIB, which we are reviewing here.

On Air With AIB toh yaad hai na?

ICYMI, it’s the current affairs talk show where the four members of the boy-band of Indian comedy circle tackle newsworthy issues in the country with memes, PJs, and some information. You know, in John Oliver style?

<i>Last Week Tonight with John Oliver</i> Vs <i>On Air With AIB.</i>
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Vs On Air With AIB.
Photo: The Quint

While the show had started with a bang back in 2015 - precisely because of their cool international format -- it created at best a fizzle in their second season. Thus, we were curious how it made it to its third instalment at all?

Khamba clarified that in the very first episode.

“If you are wondering how come this show is still on, don’t worry, we are wondering the same.”
Gursimran Khamba, AIB

Tanmay went a step ahead and announced that their contract with Hotstar ends this year so next year it may be hosted in a different platform.

Okay, then.

My Take After Watching the First 6 Episodes

The Packaging

Given that this may be their last, couldn't they work on their opening sequence a bit?

From <i>On Air With AIB’s&nbsp;</i>opening sequence.
From On Air With AIB’s opening sequence.
(Photo: Screengrab/Hotstar)

AIB’s visuals for the famous ‘Tragedy Mein Comedy’ rap by Naezy is so 2015!

But of-course, we won't judge the show based on the opening, so we gave the first six episodes -- the only ones that are out so far -- a watch.

Our Take

On Air With AIB was a brilliant way to dole out news as well as social commentary without going dull on us. The format was tried and tested - with stalwarts like John Oliver heading the market. It was supposed to be funny, sarcastic, but not compromising on facts.

And season 1, and to some extent season 2 did justice to it.

This season, the novelty of the concept starts to lose its charm when you’ve heard the same jokes feature a over a hundred times on your timeline already.

Their choice of topics - lynching, Umar Khalid, sedition - were hot SEO keywords -- but almost a year ago, so they did very little to show how the conversation on these major topics has evolved since.

In their defense, the show was probably recorded when these issues were still topical - but being veterans in the digital world, AIB should have been able to anticipate how stale their jokes would sound a few months from then.

Also, whatever happened to getting actual interviews done? Last I checked it was still a thing in their first season -- remember the Fire Department episode?

Where is the research they put into each topic? If its reading out pre-existing reports and cracking jokes on it -- we have enough and more meme/troll pages doing that already?

Their ‘Off Script’ segment was introduced to give the audience a break from the four members and discuss important but less newsy issues. It tackled exams, misogyny, pseudo science, evolution of the Internet and social media in India.

This season, it has turned into a backscratching session at best.

‘What song do you listen to at 2 am?’ ‘How do you interact with your crush through Instastories?”
Questions from On Air with AIB season 3 Off Script
From <i>On Air With AIB</i> Off Script
From On Air With AIB Off Script
Photo: Hostar

Really now?

It has been reduced to a bunch of friends chatting in their living room, without even trying to redeem it with good content.

So yeah, meh.

Either way, if you guys are still interested, here’s a low down of each of their episodes so far.

Episode 1: Petrololol

Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba kick-start the third season by cracking up on the weird ways in which Congress has protested against the petrol price hike -- and that was over half of the episode.

Of course, they called out BJP’s (in)famous graph explaining the price hike in their jokes. Did that salvage the episode somehow? We wonder.

Episode 2: Good Indian, Dead Indian

No one wants to wants to talk about the elephant in the room. Mostly because the elephant won’t let you. If you do, elephant tere ghar ake tujhe lynch kar dega.
Rohan Joshi

It doesn’t take a scientist to guess who Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya are referring to as the elephant here.

Episode 2, titled ‘Good Indian, Dead Indian’ dives straight into the heart of the matter -- lynching, polarised opinion, and urban naxals.

From the assassination attempt on JNU student Umar Khalid, to the callousness with which some people had responded to the Kerala floods - the show didn’t shy away from addressing the evils of our polarised society.

Episode 3: Guilty Pleasures with Rahul, Srishti


Episode 4: Iss Cheez Pe Nahi Bolne Ka

Tanmay and Khamba were back to discuss the dangers of the archaic law and how India could do away with the sedition law altogether.

While there was an overdose of PJs, the information on how the laws for sedition came into being was interesting. Could I have found it on Wikipedia? Probably.

Overall, not much of a value add.

Episode 5: Weed Like To Talk About It

Rohan and Ashish were visibly passionate about the topic for the day and the jokes were funnier in the start.

Towards the latter half though, it seemed like they were reading out from one of those pro “Mary Jane” infographics that freely float on the Internet. Not contending the facts behind their claims, but monotonous readout of information totally betrays their format.

Episode 6: Social Media Habits

Again, meh.

Bottom Line

Barring episode 2, their choice of topics remained relatively tame, even if we do forgive their topicality. Spreading awareness about marijuana and its possible need for legalisation in this country is cool. But could we have addressed something more current and burning as a fifth episode? Hell yes! Tanushree Dutta and India’s failed attempt at #MeToo clearly warranted a mention in the first 6 episodes, IMHO.

But oh wait, AIB’s ‘woke’ness comes with disclaimers. And their contracts with publishers come at the expense of their edginess.

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