Vivekh’s amicable presence and a few standout performances aside, this unscripted Tamil show is more cacophony than comedy
The basic concept behind the latest Tamil show LOL: Enga Siri Paappom is a lot of fun. You make others laugh, but you cannot laugh.
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And that is a very serious ask of anyone, especially if you put in a motley bunch of Tamil comedians like Pugazh, Premgi Amaren, Harathi and Powerstar Srinivasan. In each other’s faces all the time, this unscripted reality comedy show throws up a few genuinely funny ‘counter dialogues’ (retorts to comments) and mokka jokes that make you want to punch the contestants. But to get to that, you need to sit through several minutes of nothing-ness.
The biggest problem with a show like this is its unscripted nature, which can lead to long stretches of time when not much happens. If it does, it is because there is someone teasing someone or pulling someone’s leg, in a bid to make the other person smile.
But does the audience?
Hardly…because LOL isn’t like watching an OTT series or show; it is exactly like one of those timepass television shows they telecast during festival holidays (for Pongal, get an actor to drive a tractor, or for Deepavali, get an actress to set off a rocket… get the drift?). Here, you get hideous costumes (sample: Powerstar Srinivasan dresses like a woman), jokes that are repeated multiple times and some mundane performances.
A few things stand out in the show: performances by a few contestants like Pugazh, Sathish and Abhisek Kumar, is one of them. If Pugazh and Abhisek tried experimenting with their looks and used the space on the sets to showcase their skills, Sathish impressed with just a single costume throughout the show and just responding to everyone’s comments with a funny statement. His ‘counters’, as they’re known in the comedy business, were among the best in the show.
The other aspect, of course, is the hosting/judging done by Vivekh and Shiva. While the humour between the two does not work to the extent that it ought to have, it is heartening to see Vivekh — who passed away earlier this year — let his guard down (he is the senior-most comic of the lot), have fun and indulge in a bit of harmless banter. His full-of-laughter face is the most striking image of LOL: Enga Siri Paappom. It has a message for all of us and that, is to keep smiling, despite whatever happens around us.
LOL: Enga Siri Paappom is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video