It’s World Laugh­ter Day! But trolling is so un­funny

Co­me­di­ans say that In­di­ans do have a sense of hu­mour, but a few trolls tend to dom­i­nate the nar­ra­tive

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Etti Bali etti.bali@htlive.com ■

The first Sun­day of ev­ery May is ob­served as World Laugh­ter Day. Now, co­me­di­ans make most of us go ROFL, but they get a lot of trolling, too. How do the peo­ple who crack jokes deal with the an­gry hordes on social me­dia who just didn’t get the joke?

Just to jog your mem­ory, Hin­dus­tan Times had ob­served April 26 as An­tiTrolling Day. Rais­ing their voice against In­ter­net bul­lies, some of the coun­try’s top co­me­di­ans share their an­titrolling strat­egy.

Co­me­dian and tele­vi­sion an­chor Cyrus Broacha (left) says that the trolling cul­ture is scary for two rea­sons. “One, the per­son has so much time, and two, he has so much anger,” says Cyrus. “Now ev­ery­body has Facebook and Twit­ter, where un­nec­es­sary com­ments are pushed for­ward. The same peo­ple you talk to in school or col­lege or of­fice be­come very opin­ion­ated on Facebook. They talk down and be­come hos­tile. Their avatar changes when they go near the com­puter or the phone.”

His ad­vice for deal­ing with trolls is not to at­tack them back. “You should apol­o­gise im­me­di­ately and say that they are com­pletely cor­rect. Douse the fire as fast as pos­si­ble. It has worked with my wife. I have sur­vived so many years by say­ing sorry,” quips Cyrus.

Co­me­dian Mal­lika Dua, whose Make-Up Didi videos on social me­dia have a huge fan fol­low­ing, feels that trolling is

“a form of In­ter­net ter­ror­ism”. She deals with it by be­ing “very in­tol­er­ant” to­wards trolls.

Comic and ac­tor Ro­han Joshi, of the com­edy group AIB, says that trolls cre­ate only nui­sance value. “I don’t think we’ve lost the abil­ity to laugh at our­selves. I think that [trolls are] just a very vo­cal, fun­da­men­tal­ist mi­nor­ity and they dom­i­nate the nar­ra­tive,” says Joshi. “And it’s al­ways some po­lit­i­cal or reli­gious group. They’re very good at cre­at­ing nui­sance.” His ad­vice on han­dling trolls: “Block and re­port.” But what about free speech? “I’m a free speech ab­so­lutist. You can say whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean that I have to lis­ten to you,” replies Ro­han.

Stand-up co­me­dian Sorabh Pant also feels that most In­di­ans do have a sense of hu­mour, and that “it’s just a small mi­nor­ity that doesn’t”. Pant feels that even though en­gage­ment is im­por­tant for per­form­ing artists, he has no qualms about block­ing and re­port­ing who peo­ple who are vit­ri­olic and is­sue threats.

PHOTO: AALOK SONI/HT

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