Reviving of roast culture in India since YouTube V/S TikTok

The roast genre, in which a public figure is ridiculed as their friends watch, is widely popular. You might have come across roast comedy in various forms like roast battles, roast shows & television shows like ‘Comedy Night Bachao,’ ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ or Comic Roast Of Milind Soman’s Memoir ‘Made In India’ By Cyrus Broacha. But from where did it start?

The inception of roast comedy in India was via the infamous ‘AIB Knockout’ 2014 {Inspired by Comedy Central’s Roasts of Charlie Sheen & Donald Trump}. It kicked off controversy & was debated on the grounds of vulgarity, instigating violence & morally unethical. Later on, the video was removed from YouTube.

The show entered via YouTube, but now if you look back the scene has adapted itself; channels have started to air roast shows with celebrities as their main roast item.

However, ‘roasting’ is not a new phenomenon. It has existed since the 1920s & was first televised almost 30 years ago with ‘The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast’ and now ‘Comedy Central’ has made it mainstream with their popular roasts of Pamela Anderson, James Franco and Charlie Sheen, among others. Comedians like Jeff Ross, Anthony Jeselnik and Sarah Silverman have made careers out of insulting celebrities with jokes that can make even the most seasoned of us cover our ears and avert our eyes.

In early 2020, the internet witnessed a row over TikTok vs YouTube. It was sparked after a YouTuber bashed TikTok for its frivolous content and then a TikToker reciprocated with a video reply. Carryminati, a prolific Youtuber, roasted a famous TikToker Amir Siddhique. The video got an unprecedented response with 76 million views while the subscriber count of the young Youtuber doubled to 17 million.

In the video, Carry had allegedly commented on physical attributes and the LGBTQ community that were discriminatory in nature. This propelled many other YouTubers to resort to roasting Amir. Amir alleged Carry for cyberbullying and then, YouTube, abiding by its guidelines, removed Carry’s video. However, the fans of the YouTuber got outraged with the action and started trending the #JusticeForCarry. In India, it is no more astonishing to note that nobody from the audience questioned the extent to which one should be roasted. Many questioned: Is Indian roasting culture only reduced to cyberbullying and harassment?

Post YouTube taking down Carry’s video, Comedian Kunal Kamra, uploaded a video with the title “Aaja Beta Carry Teko Roast Sikhaye!” & the video got 2.4M dislikes till now. Many memes around the video emerged such as – ‘A roaster gets roasted for roasting.’

Following the trend, roast culture has revived in the country.

Like any other trend, roast comedy or insult comedy has also seen the evolution. Recently, after Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking’ & the protagonist Sima Taparia hogging headlines, Instagram introduced filter called ‘Sima Roast’ created by an Instagram user Becca D (@leftbrainedcenteraligned) & it goes like this ‘What does Sima Taparia from Mumbai thinks of you?” If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?

For good roasting, one must make sure it is classic. ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ and ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’ are some of our favourites.

Sit back; relax, and laugh with these shows, because not everything is negative in the world.