Dead Ant

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The Juggernaut: Sumukhi Suresh Turns Complexity Into Comedy Gold

The comedian gets candid on her rise from food scientist to creator of the cult- favorite TV series Pushpavalli. With inputs from DeadAnt’s founder and editor, Ravina Rawal.

Read the story here. | 11 September 2020

Scroll: Why have Hindutva online armies launched a concerted attack on India’s stand-up comedians?

Read more here | July 2020

Newslaundry: [TMR Dispatches 3] Mumbai’s Lutyens: Is Entertainment Journalism all about Access?

The third session of #TheMediaRumble – Dispatches focuses on the art of access and its significance in entertainment journalism. In the session ‘Mumbai’s Lutyens: Is Entertainment Journalism all about access?’, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri is joined by film critic Anupama Chopra; Mayank Shekhar, an author, film critic and entertainment head at Mid-day; Sowmya Rajendran, deputy news editor at The News Minute; and Ravina Rawal, founder and editor of Dead Ant. The session focuses on the significance of having star access as a film journalist, the limitations of this access, and how bigger stories, like Bollywood’s underworld connections, remain untapped. The panel also discusses why the #MeToo movement fizzled out in Bollywood, and the vulnerability of comedians and their lack of faith in the mainstream media.

Watch the session:

July 2020

Deccan Herald: Roasting back in focus as YouTube acts against ‘offensive’ video 

The key to the insult-comedy genre is to go far enough to be funny but stop just short of being nasty 

The format, made popular by the TV channel Comedy Central, was first introduced in India through the infamous AIB Knockout roast. AIB is one of India’s most popular YouTube comedy channels, now on hiatus. “It created such an uproar that no one has dared to dip a toe in those waters since. So it never really got a chance to evolve,” says Ravina Rawal, founder and editor-in-chief of DeadAnt, an online publication that tracks India’s comedy scene.

During a roast, the performers and the audience are temporarily allowed to be cheeky, even badly behaved; your conscience is allowed a quick break in this space, she says. When asked whether CarryMinati’s videos can be considered roast, Ravina says they feel more like the diss battles on the hip-hop scene. “I take you down, then you take me down, and we go back and forth while our fans watch in morbid fascination and decide which side they’re on,” she says, describing these videos.

Rules of roasting

While a roast is insult comedy, the key is to go far enough to be funny, but stop just short of being nasty. “The environment on the whole should feel safe; your roastee and even fellow roasters need to be able to trust your motivations,” Ravina explains. 

“The most popular roasts are the ones in which things are being said in a public forum that would otherwise be restricted to your living room. You thought it too, but the vicarious pleasure of seeing someone have the guts to say it out loud in public, even worse, to the person’s face, articulated for you with a punchline. That’s what’s keeping people hooked,” concludes Ravina.  

Read more here | May 2020

Deccan Herald: Laughing in your language

Hindi and English dominate the stand-up scene in India but a slow and steady shift to regional comedy is now pretty evident. 

Read more here | March 2020

Interview with Ishq FM

Listen to the interview:

July 2019

Podcast: Advertising is Dead

On this week’s episode of Advertising is Dead, host Varun Duggirala is joined by Ravina Rawal, Founder, and Editor of Dead Ant. Ravina talks about the evolution of the Indian comedy scene and the growth of regional comedy. She talks about how the name Dead Ant is inspired by a lame 90s joke and the future of her venture.

June 2019

Audio file: