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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Who is Kunal Kamra, the stand-up comedian banned on IndiGo, Air India, GoAir and SpiceJet

After IndiGo suspended Kunal Kamra from flying on account of "unacceptable behaviour", Kunal Kamra responded saying he had "politely asked" Arnab Goswami for a conversation and later gave the news anchor "a monologue about what I felt about his journalism".

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 30, 2020 11:08:07 am
Who is Kunal Kamra Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra was on Tuesday banned from flying for six months by IndiGo airlines for heckling TV news anchor Arnab Goswami on a flight. (Source: Twitter/@kunalkamra88)

Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra was on Tuesday banned from flying for six months by IndiGo for heckling TV news anchor Arnab Goswami on a flight from Delhi to Lucknow. The ban was imposed hours after Kamra posted a video on his social media accounts in which he is seen mocking Goswami.

After IndiGo suspended him from flying on account of “unacceptable behaviour”, Kamra responded saying he had “politely asked” Goswami for a conversation and later gave the news anchor “a monologue about what I felt about his journalism”. State-owned Air India soon followed suit and suspended Kamra for flying on any of its flights until further notice.

Kamra was subsequently banned from flying on Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir.

Kamra is known for his popular political-comedy podcast ‘Shut Up Ya Kunal’, where he has spoken to guests including journalist Ravish Kumar, MP Asaduddin Owaisi, Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Shehla Rashid, MLA Jignesh Mevani and now Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi, among others.

In an interview to The Indian Express in 2018, he made it clear that he was neither a journalist nor an activist looking to bring change. “I am just a content creator… and this is all good content. It’s more fun than addressing other subjects because I get to air my views, which are obviously biased.” Read the interview here.

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This isn’t the first time Kamra has been in the news. The stand-up comedian joined the anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi last week and garnered praise for his opening remarks where he said, “I didn’t come much prepared to speak here. But the Modi government was even less prepared to introduce CAA.”

Known for his blunt anti-government commentary in his shows, Kamra recently teamed up with Thiruvananthapuram Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for a stand-up comedy limited series named ‘One Mic Stand’.

In 2018, Kamra deleted his Twitter account after his ‘jokes’ on Muslims, Sikhs and Mother Teresa went viral. Around the same time, he was asked to vacate his apartment in Mumbai’s Shivaji Park for voicing his political opinions. He shared a screenshot of the conversation he had with his landlady.

At least twice in 2018, Kamra’s shows in Gujarat were cancelled. On August 3, 2019, his gig in Surat was cancelled after some people showed up at the venue and threatened to disrupt it. Days later, a show at MS University of Vadodara, scheduled on August 11, was cancelled after the Vice-Chancellor received a letter from 11 ex-students calling his content “anti-national”.

In 2017, Kamra received death threats for his first stand-up clip titled ‘Patriotism and the Government’.

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