Sunday stand-up with Aadar Malik: Roast vs toast
After the most infamous roast in the history of this country – no, I am not talking about India getting Independence; this incident was quite recent and a Bollywood actor called it ‘violent’ – we completely changed how we look at the term roasting, from kebabs to people or ideas.
Numerous discussions with comics and friends later, we agreed that the primary difference between the roasts that happen on YouTube versus what we are used to watching on a very massive scale out West is that in the West, the person being roasted has given their permission to the roaster: permission to be as nasty, horrible, dark and mean as the roaster can possibly get, because everyone is aware of the fact that these things would never be spoken by either party under normal circumstances.
The whole point of the roast is to say things that would be against the normal rules of “civility”. Any shock value is defused by laughter because the person being roasted is in on the joke from the very beginning.
But most of the videos on YouTube that are labelled as roasts are actually opinion pieces or reviews of a movie, public figure or any other trending hashtag. Whether they are funny or not is objective, just like any other joke. But in this country we are quick to take any joke as a personal attack faster than a mint can react with a diet Cola.
Some of the things that I’ve heard hosts on entertainment channels say about celebrities have made my face cringe to a size so small that you could fit it on the head of a pin. From zoomed in photos of an actress’s cellulite to a style ‘blunder’ that ends up being equated to one of the greatest global atrocities, a comedian’s roast jokes pale in comparison to the “well-researched” critical analyses of human beings by these entertainment channels.
We’ve always roasted each other as friends. For many, it’s the basis of their friendship. It creates a kind of camaraderie. But there is a fine line between roasting and bullying.
A one-sided roast is like a diss track. It’s up to you to nod your head or just subscribe to another channel.
Aadar Malik is a comic and actor with a strong background in theatre. He went to Trinity College in London to train in music and his composition Goat Song became a social media rage. His YouTube channel has more than 60k subscribers.
From HT Brunch, September 27, 2020
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