Comedy collective All India Bakchod’s insult comedy show “AIB Knockout” has notched up a cumulative 4 million views within two days of its YouTube debut, of which the first million came within 12 hours, which frankly is quite unprecedented for a comedy show in India.
For the uninitiated, AIB Knockout appears to be inspired by Comedy Central’s Roast series wherein celebrities are subjected to barbs and insult jokes from a panel of comedians and their peers for the amusement of a wider audience. This is quite a refreshing change from the regular celebrity talk shows or interviews which usually turns out to be a PR-driven exercise that happens around a film release or any other significant event. This actually reminds me of Priyanka Chopra’s disastrous Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) encounter last year.
Some thoughts on what helped it go viral:
– Explicit content: One of the things that stood out in the video was its explicit nature with the jokes ranging from being outrageously offensive to brazen and very personal and a free flow of expletives throughout the show. To get a sense of the jokes made in the show, check out this BuzzFeed article. This was possible due to the liberal nature of the Internet and possibly wouldn’t have been the same on any other platform like television which is heavily censored and the whole channel is suspended if “obscene” content is aired on the channel.
Interestingly, All India Bakchod co-founder Tanmay Bhatt said that around 40% of the show was edited out of the YouTube version due to various reasons. (p.s. The Quint has made a list of jokes which didn’t make it to the final cut).
– New format: Comedy roast is still a new concept in India and AIB Knockout was probably one of the first insult comedy show involving Bollywood celebrities at such a large scale. While there are tons of Bollywood gossip content on YouTube and elsewhere, what possibly went in favour of AIB Knockout was celebrities letting loose and taking a dig at others, in front of millions of people on the Internet, which is quite a rare sight to see, wherein a celebrity’s image is given a lot of weightage.
– Debate on Twitter: People started sharing both comments and brickbats about the show on Twitter and Facebook, which likely led to #AIBKnockout trend on top of Twitter India trends, thereby leading to more views for the video.
Just saw #AIBKnockout. Some great roasting there. Loved it. Please see it before it is taken down.
— Rohit Awasthi (@rohitawasthi) January 28, 2015
Best part of AIB knockout was when Ranveer Singh comes to Karan Johar in that Dog Shot position and Karan Johar replies “That’s my position” — Danish (@dan1shmemon) January 28, 2015
— Jaskirat Singh Bawa (@JaskiratSB) January 28, 2015
Significant pent-up demand: There was already a significant demand for the video before its release, with the show trailer itself witnessing one million views in about a week and people were actually waiting for the video to be released on AIB’s YouTube channel, so much so that users started lamenting on Twitter when the video released was delayed by an hour.
Dammit @AllIndiaBakchod I cant be sitting at work till 9pm for this. I’m not that good of an employee *read no wifi at new home yet!
— Samiya Shakir (@sammo_rani) January 28, 2015
@AllIndiaBakchod 🙁 jhoothe vaade
— Savar (@SavarSuri) January 28, 2015
– Choice of Bollywood celebrities & the gossip mill coverage: The explicit humor and the digs taken against Bollywood celebrities’s work and personal life, which is a rare sight otherwise, also gave a lot of fodder to Bollywood news & gossip sites which further contributed to the already growing views of the video. Interestingly, India.com even took of one of jokes seriously.