Monday, July 14, 2014

Guide to becoming an effective Talk-show guest?

I NEVER watch talk shows, particularly about politics. Or mega-serials. Not by my choice, at least. (So, of course, I feel competent to talk about how to become a talk show guest, you murmur? Don't jump the gun.  It may go off in your face.) Sometimes, though, guests at home inflict these things on me.

After having had a surfeit of political talk-shows, I derived some important lessons about what qualifies you to become a talk-show guest. I must warn you at the outset that you are solely responsible for any consequences arising out of following these lessons. I also absolve myself of the blame for what you may, in your turn, inflict on the unsuspecting viewers - not that it seems likely to be any worse than what they already appear to be enduring enjoying.

1. You must have an unswerving conviction that people holding the opposite opinion are, in your charitable moments, congenital idiots or, at all other times, black villains sent down by the Devil to Earth expressly for the purpose of tormenting normal people. It helps to have as few charitable moments as possible.

2. People holding the same opinion as you may have their hearts in the right place. You may even get to like them BUT for the unfortunate fact that they have also been given mouths AND they use them to speak. No-one can articulate your side of the tale with such perspicacity and clarity as you, and it is such a pity that they will not acknowledge that and leave the field to you. You must FEEL but nobly refrain from voicing, "With friends such as these, who needs enemies".

3. It is perfectly all right to keep talking, even if four others are also exercising their vocal chords at the same time, and you should train yourself to continue to do so till the anchor cuts in with a commercial. It helps if you have selective deafness that will only permit you to hear the anchor interrupting. Why that is important will be dealt in the next session.

4. You must always have an opinion about everything but that's unnecessary to say since, without that, you would not WANT to be a talk show guest in the first place. What is more important is that you should always say, "In my opinion..." in such a tone of voice that the others understand that what you are really saying is, "Of course this is not merely an opinion but incontrovertible fact, certified by God, but I can hardly expect people with IQ in the single digits to understand that."

5. You are not allowed to use those words that can only be written as "@#&$" - YET - but you are permitted, nay encouraged, to enunciate the names or positions of the others in a way that sounds like "You @#$&# so-and-so". You will find that 'the honorable so-and-so', rather than just the name, gives you more scope to enable you to sound quite the way you are 'encouraged' to sound.

Those are lessons that, properly imbibed, would qualify you for talk shows BUT, as you can readily understand, to get on THE premier show, you need to be something special. After all, the manners that you can get by with in an ordinary aristocrat's house would hardly suffice to be the guest of a king.

1. You must rise every day, go to the mirror and practice saying, "Arnab" in as pleading a tone as you can manage. Check your face to see if the expression looks like a starving beggar desperately seeking alms. Your only chance of getting a word in edge-ways in the middle of Arnab's monologue is if he takes pity on you and allows you a nanosecond to talk. Never mind if you cannot get the right plea in your voice. Statistics (that I gleaned out of a five minute segment, which I saw as my friend was channel-surfing) say that more than 90% of what other people say on his show consists exclusively of "Arnab", so you can be happy that you have had your say.

2. Strangely, some things are easier on the King of all shows. You really do not need to have an opinion. All you have to say is, "In my opinion..." and Arnab will fill in the rest with his "I know what you want to say..." (In that, he is different from the others. They only know what you meant and not what you intended to say. Say, "The sun rises in the East." and they will say, "So, you mean that you believe that the Earth is the center of the Universe and all Science starting from Galileo is so much hogwash?" You would never have known that you had any opinions about science at all, but for their kindly enlightening you about your own thoughts. Arnab, though, will also supply the 'Sun rises in the East' part along with the rest,.thereby easing your burden.)

3. Now comes the reason why you should have an ear out for the anchor's interruption. You may get away with talking on despite the anchor's interruption on other shows but it is an unpardonable transgression on Arnab's show. Fail in this and you will be put through the horrendous experience of Arnab looking at you like a stern headmaster, wagging an admonitory finger and lecturing you on manners - all on Prime time TV. (Oh! And, by the way, you are NOT supposed to learn your manners from Arnab's own behavior. Manners are for the hoi polloi and they ought not to ape the king.) Unsubstantiated rumors also claim that transgressing guests have to write, "I will never interrupt Arnab again" a thousand times before they are allowed to leave - and no copy-paste allowed either.

4. If, for some unaccountable reason like needing a sip of water, Arnab is silent for a second, the one thing you NEVER do is contradict him. The grapevine says that this act of lese majeste counts as one of the 'rarest of the rare' cases, which are eligible for the death penalty, and what substantiates the rumor is the fact that no-one can deny that it happens VERY rarely indeed and, thus, will certainly qualify as the 'rarest of the rare' - the 'rare' being where other anchors are contradicted.

5. The most difficult thing to master is the tightrope walk that you need to manage. You must retain sufficient of your childhood memories to not mind someone treating you like a truant schoolkid but, at the same time, be adult enough not to respond with a "Sorry, Teacher! I promise not to do it again". Arnab may well like the latter but the problem is that it is all being telecast and he would like the viewers to have at least the impression that you are free to express your own opinion.

But, then, why would you ever have an opinion that contradicts the man who knows what the Nation wants - on an everyday basis? It only shows that you are an idiot to end all idiots and do not deserve to be even an ordinary guest, leave alone achieving the exalted position of a talk-show guest and on Arnab's show.

"Arnab! Arnaaab! Arnaaaaaaaab!"

Don't tell me you are in front of the mirror, already.

"Arnab! Arnaaab! Arnaaaaaaaab!"

Omigod! What on Earth have I unleashed!

34 comments:

  1. Hahahaha Tongue in cheek! Brilliant! I can draw some parallels to social media from here :-).

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    1. Any parallels you draw is also at your own risk, Rachna :)

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  2. Cool points, Sureshji :) This is a guide for Talk-Show Hosts & Participants! :)
    Tight-rope walking, it is! Most of the times cacophony :)

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    1. As it is in most human interactions involving more than two - cacophony :)

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  3. I can quite clearly see what you watch on Prime Time TV everyday now :)

    Although I must warn you that such programmes are not necessarily for the faint of heart, not that I am accusing you of having a faint heart.

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    1. No way, Jairam! I do NOT watch TV at all these days :)

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  4. What many have been feeling for a long time, you have put across in your trademark wit & satire!

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    1. I am sure it has been said before :) I said it only now cos it has been a new experience for me :)

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  5. A lesson I am sure I will never need, but still good to know where I can go just in case...;) Life is good without TV, I say :)

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  6. These are the things many of us would have noticed but it was fun reading your 'opinion' ;)

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    1. Opnion, Jaish :) Not at all, it is a guide book :P

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  7. Suresh! How could you get this so right? Indian wants to know!!! :P

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    1. If India wants to know, I am sure Arnab with tell them :) No real need for me to also be sitting there :)

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  8. Haha..this was awesome ..I'm trying to imagine Arnab as a headmaster.... :-D :-D...

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    1. Thanks, Maniparna! No need to imagine - he always looks like one :)

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  9. Phew, I am glad someone wrote all this. Now I only have to share it! ;)
    Hilarious, to say the least.

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  10. ha ha , awesome ,..
    Arnab arnab , Troll !

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  11. Someone had to do it, and thankfully, you said it all!!!

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    1. You people will have me believe that I am the first to do it, Akanksha! And I thought I was probably doing what many have done before and better :)

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  12. That was fun :D,he does all this but look at the way his panelists always refrain from giving a straight answer.No matter how deplorable their shenanigans-they never ever confess that they did wrong.
    On the whole his show is any day better than our daily soaps

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  13. hahahaha...... yea..never contradict him and never accuse him, he will make u get on ur knees and apologise! and he's not just the king, he is the ministers, guards, and chairs and throne all rolled into one!! I wonder why people still accept his invitation to be on prime time!

    just imagine, this guy Arnab in conversation with Navjot Sidhu and for added effects, Sheldon Cooper too....that would be one sure firework!

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  14. My comment vanished :(. Must have got scared by Arnab :P
    I always wonder how they manage to talk and hear at the same time in these talk shows !

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    1. You must have tried to interrupt him :)

      Whatever gave you the impression that they hear? :)

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  15. Ha Ha. Arnab finally found his way into your blog as well!

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  16. "You must rise every day, go to the mirror and practice saying, "Arnab" in as pleading a tone as you can manage." Seriously EPIC :D. But yet they return every time :D. The only time I saw him toned down was when he was interviewing our PM Narendra Modi and the PM was far more animated in conversation :D.

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