All good things take time, this one just took a bit more. You’ve already voted, we’ve just done the math. The winners of the DeadAnt Annual Comedy Awards have been chosen.
With these awards we celebrate and highlight the best of Indian standup from 1 January 2022– 1 December 2022. They’re like the Oscars, but the kind Indian standup n̶e̶e̶d̶s̶ deserves. Congratulations to all the winners!
Best Online Comedy Special
What you get with a comedy special is a distillation of months of touring and countless rewrites. There were lots of specials released in 2022, but Zakir Khan’s Tathastu really tugged at people’s heartstrings, even as it made them laugh. Khan has been at the top of his game for the last couple of years and this is one more addition to his list of accolades.
Best TV Series, Web Series Or Format Show By A Comedian
Indian comedians have firmly established themselves as mainstays on streaming platforms and are now making inroads into TV! But the one name that has been around since the early days of YouTube, and is now regularly seen on streaming services, is Jitendra Kumar. He’s brought to life some of the most memorable characters with his flawless acting, and our audience absolutely adored him as Abhishek on TVF’s Panchayat. Dekh rahe ho, award jeet gaye Jitu Bhaiyya.
India’s Favourite International Comedy Special
This one’s slightly awkward. But well, even before the “saga” unfolded, people were constantly talking about Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix special The King’s Jester. DeadAnt‘s voters couldn’t get enough of the special and it shows in the votes with Minhaj winning the category by a landslide.
Best Podcast By A Comedian
Another W for ‘The Internet Said So’. In other news, water is wet. With their third consecutive win in this category, Aadar Malik , Kautuk Srivastava, Neville Shah and Varun Thakur have arguably become every Indian comedy fans’ favourite podcast (no shade to the country’s #1 one grudge-holding podcast, you know who you are). Time to celebrate! BELL BOTTOM! #IYKYK
Best Social Media Game
A spot at an open mic might seem short, but the best of the best can make you LOL in less than 90 seconds! And in 2022, Rohan Joshi served up the best memes and reels with a side order of coffee and video-game trivia. Ye lo sir, aaj ek extra coffee peena aur do ghante aur Spider-Man 2 khelna.
Most Exciting Voice
Many artists found their voice and really made us sit up and pay attention in 2022. But Gurleen Pannu’s voice rang out the loudest. After coming in second-place on Amazon Prime Video’s Comicstaan, the comedian took her hour-long special Pannu, Yaar on tour across the country. Here they are giving back some love, Pannu. Take a bow!
Funniest Person On The Indian Internet
This one’s for the trend-setters. The algorithm all-stars. The opinionated hot-takers. They’ve mastered the format and made themselves a permanent fixture in your digital lives. And queen Kusha Kapila is the crème de la crème of this breed of entertainers. What can we say about this star creator that hasn’t already been said? In the word’s of Rahul Gandhi, “Maza aaya.”
Best Live Show
After two years spent away from the mic, they travelled India (and the world) to bring us some much awaited laughs with fresh material in 2022. Anubhav Singh Bassi was the front-runner in this race. From performing live to over 10,000 people in one day to delivering his hour on Amazon Prime Video, he’s been hard at work. Here’s a little token of our appreciation Bassi Bhai!
Best Regional Comedy
India’s growing regional standup comedy scene is only good news! And leading that charge, at least in our voters’ eyes, is Manpreet Singh. Chha gaye guru!
Best Comedy Format Show
Because comedians are restless and have trouble sticking to the brief and we’re not going to complain about the extra content to binge on. One such fan-favourite show is Raunaq Rajani’s Relationsh*t Advice in which he sits down with a group of friends and gives unhelpful relationship advice. Their guidance might not be the best but the jokes are top-notch which has won them this award!
Best YouTube Channel
This one’s not just for the most prolific comedians on the platform, but also for those who bring the long-form quality to YouTube that we all crave (and desperately need). And the most OP creator of 2022 was, without a doubt, Tanmay Bhat. The only thing more consistent than his uploads are my mom’s reminders of how I’ve disappointed her. This one’s for the Bot Army Commander and his troops!
Peer Picks: Next Big Thing
The winners of the DA Peer Picks awards are decided by a panel of 12 accomplished comedians from across the country.
This one’s for the up-and-comers, comedians who are not only doing a good job today, but are also destined for standup comedy greatness tomorrow! Congratulations to Gurleen Pannu and Mohd Suhel.
Peer Picks: Most Stalked
Jose Covaco has been one of the funniest people on the Indian internet for MANY years but what’s most impressive is how he’s also been able to seamlessly transition between formats and platforms. Wherever he goes, the laughs follow (and so do we!) These days, Jose Covaco rules the IG roost. Talk about a smooth operator!
These are the comedians that the rest of the crew look to for #CareerGoals. Vir Das and Kanan Gill moved from strength to strength in 2022, leaving milestone after milestone in the rear-view mirror. They’re dreamers who aren’t afraid to put in the grunt work, and for that they’re bagging the Most Inspiring award.
Peer Picks: Comic’s Comic
Sure, you can make an audience laugh, but how often can you make a fellow comedian go “I wish I’d thought of that?” All the green-room chatter in 2022 was about Abhishek Upmanyu and Anirban Dasgupta, with the comedians earning praise for their expert timing and compelling storytelling. This one’s for their mastery of the craft.
Peer Picks: Best Venue
Where do comedians most feel at home? The Habitat, of course! Our panel of comedians agrees that the Mumbai venue had everything they needed to bag the Best Venue award in 2022. We’re talking everything from staff to atmosphere to the nuts and bolts that hold it all together.
Peer Picks: Best Producer
Chalta Hai Comedy secures the W for the best producer in 2022, for pushing the standup comedy envelope and maintaining the highest standards when putting together a show. A well-deserved ‘thank you’ is in order from comedians and comedy fans alike.
Critics’ Choice: Comedy Innovation
With great stage time comes great responsibility. And Sumukhi Suresh has used her spot in the limelight for all the right reasons, finding fresh ways to make us LOL and paving the way for upcoming female writers and comedians with her company Motormouth. Go tell your Amma RIGHT NOW! Suresh has won the award!
Critics’ Choice: Best Online Special
In a year when comedy left the Zoom rooms and got back on stage, Vir Das really stuck the Landing. One of the pioneers of Indian comedy, Das’ Netflix special really showcased the growth and evolution of his craft over the years. And for that, here’s another award to show off on your mantle!
Critics’ Choice: Comedy For Change
Few things are more powerful than an art form that can engage people on urgent issues. Navin Noronha’s Queer Rated Comedy and the all-Dalit lineup Blue Material—featuring comedians including Manaal Patil, Mayur Kamble, Ankur Tangade and Manjeet Sarkar—are a testament to that belief. In a world where the media and advocacy falls short, these comedians are striving to bring about positive change all while making us laugh.
Critics’ Choice: Community Champions
Standup might be a predominantly solo art form but every artist gets by with a little help from their friends. Chirayu Mistry , Manan Desai and Vidya Desai’s Comedy Factory has been pivotal in making the journey to success a little easier for plenty of comedians. They’ve been the community champions that Indian comedy needed AND deserved. After all, teamwork makes the dream work.
Critics’ Choice: Guts Award
In a country where comedy is becoming harder to perform by the day, it takes some real dum to make jokes about those in power. Punit Pania has always come out all guns blazing, delivering hard-hitting comedy and making the audience think about life’s hard questions. He’s got some real guts, and here’s an award to show we see and hear him!
Critics’ Choice: Master Blaster Award
An all-rounder with excellent work ethic—that’s Vir Das. The comedian was everywhere you looked in 2022. On stage, on our Netflix screens, and even in Hollywood! Here’s one more reason to celebrate, Mr. Das!
Critics’ Choice: Always On Award
It takes a lot to build a career on YouTube, let alone two. Persistence is key. One person who did precisely that in 2022 was Tanmay Bhat. Live streams, vlogs, reaction videos, podcasts, finance advice… Bhat was constantly on the ball and here’s an award to recognise his dedication!