The dynamic journey of Rakin Absar
Navigating the fine line between edgy and offensive in dark humour is difficult, but Rakin Absar does it well with finesse. Mr Absar aka Rakin Absar initiated his digital footprint in 2012 with the YouTube channel Bhai Brothers Ltd, Absar’s initial foray into content creation was met with significant popularity.
However, choosing to prioritise education, he momentarily stepped back from the limelight to pursue undergraduate studies at Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB). After graduation, his career took various turns through marketing agencies and a brief stint in the real estate sector. The turning point in Absar’s career came during the 2020 pandemic when he embraced content creation with renewed vigour. And the rest is history!
As Rakin Absar looks to the future with aspirations and hopes for personal as well as professional growth, MWB gets to know the man behind the content.
You are one of the OG content creators we have in our country. What inspired you to pursue a career in comedy and content creation?
I started creating content in 2012 and initially made Vines and subsequently formed a YouTube channel named Bhai Brothers Ltd, which was quite popular. However, I took a break from content creation to pursue my undergraduate studies at Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB). For a while, I worked at various marketing agencies and after graduating I decided to join the real estate sector.
I was employed as a real estate agent for about two months and I used to sell apartments. But eventually, I decided to leave the job and join Daekho. I was a program producer there and used to create content behind the camera. Slowly, I started appearing before the camera and this is how Mr Absar happened.
During the pandemic in 2020, I started creating content in full swing. I couldn’t enjoy a full-time job because there was always someone to supervise me – I didn’t like working under anyone. After several years, I reinvented myself and took a leap of faith.
It was about taking a risk to do what I love and believing in the power of my content to entertain and connect with people
Now, I am well-known for using dark humour and I also make travel as well as lifestyle vlogs. Also, I have my own podcast show called Inbox. For now, I am trying out different ventures and waiting to see what works for me.
Can you share a surprising or unexpected moment from your early days that propelled you towards a comedy career?
Comedy has always been my genre. First, I created videos on Vines and slowly, started re-uploading those videos on Facebook – wearing wigs and just being myself – and they brought me a lot of attention. So, that attention and engagement made me think maybe I could build a career out of content creation.
During that time, there was no Google AdSense or option for monetization. But the attention was enough to encourage and propel me to move forward. However, this was all accidental. I never thought I would be a content creator. I was a depressed kid and felt lost in life. But I overcame all the hurdles and now I am here – creating content and making money out of it.
How do you develop ideas for your content and comedy sketches? Can you walk us through your creative process?
I consider myself a versatile actor. I am also a visualizer and a very imaginative person. I was once a photographer at the age of 14, then I worked as a freelance graphic designer and earned a substantial amount of money. Along with it, I used to tutor A and O-level students and created content simultaneously. So, I always made sure that I had multiple sources of income.
A fun fact about me: I thought of myself as a sociopath because I couldn’t empathise with people’s emotions. I was able to understand their struggle but when it came to the emotions, I felt detached. So, I used to make myself feel things intentionally – I talked to myself and imagined myself in different situations. This is how my creativity flourished: In my head.
What’s the most unconventional source of inspiration you’ve found for your comedy sketches and content?
I was always into pop culture and it includes comics, movies, songs, and lots of other things. I used to consume tons of content as I had been a lonely kid and had just one or two friends. I felt alienated and thought I was born in the wrong place or wrong time.
I followed the Western culture, mainly the comedians and actors. This might seem mainstream at first glance, but the way I draw inspiration from it is unique
I studied actors, comedians, and musicians – how they would talk, act, and present themselves. They have been a great source of inspiration for me. I am a very enthusiastic collector and I used to collect DVDs, Blu-Rays. This is why I think pop culture has influenced me greatly and made me feel confident that if I try, I can achieve anything.
Who are your favorite personalities in the industry?
Nazia Hassan, Sarah Alam, Jessia, and Kamrun Nahar Dana are my very good friends. But I have immense admiration and respect for Jon Kabir and Tahsan. They had been trailblazers in the industry, breaking barriers and setting high standards for us.
Jon bhai is like a guru to me, he has guided me throughout my journey. And Tahsan bhai has been very supportive when I worked with him. He made me feel seen even though he’s far more experienced than me.
Dark humor can be a tightrope walk. How do you gauge the line between edgy and offensive, and have you ever had a moment where you felt you crossed it?
If you meet me in person, you will know I have a very dark personality. However, I have worked with many brands and now, I have a manager and editor. They guide me about what is sustainable for brands as well as the audience and what is not. I always try to stick to the guidelines.
Then again, when it comes to my non-branded content, I don’t hesitate to speak my mind because I want to keep reminding people what I am capable of.
As a comedian, you should not worry about offending anyone. Because the moment you do, you are putting a restriction on your brain and your brain won’t function beyond that point
Dealing with dark humor is about striking a balance. It’s about being bold enough to tackle tough topics, but also being sensitive to the diverse experiences of your audience. It’s a continuous learning process, and being open to feedback and willing to adapt is crucial.
How do you think comedy can bridge cultural gaps and misunderstandings in today’s globalized world?
I feel that the people of our country are not progressive enough, compared to our neighbours such as India or Sri Lanka. We have a long way to go. We are trying to bridge the gap through our content – especially the socio-economic messages we are sending. If you look at my content, you will find a lot of socio-economic messages that criticise the wrong aspects of society, which need to be fixed. Though I don’t say this literally, the character I portray sends the message and points out the hypocrisy.
I think it should be a collective effort. So, other comedians should come forward and take part in it. Still, I am trying to see the silver lining as people nowadays understand what I am trying to say.
Let us talk about your podcast show Inbox. How did you come up with this idea?
I always wanted to be an interviewer and during my spare time, I watch interviews of actors. This way, I try to understand their creative process and how these artists function. The questions that are asked of them are very constructive and they feel comfortable answering them as well.
I had dreamt of conducting such interviews. But as I suffered from anxiety and didn’t have a team or capital, I couldn’t start this podcast until now.
Honestly speaking, I didn’t give it much thought and started the show as soon as the idea came to me. Since I am well-connected with many people in the industry, I just called them up and shared my plan. Nevertheless, I hope season 2 of Inbox will be much more organised than this one.
Looking back at the episodes of Inbox so far, which episode would you recommend as a must-watch for new viewers, and why?
Every single episode! We heard different stories and gained different experiences from the individuals who were invited. So, I can’t compare or specify any particular episode as every guest had something to offer. Everyone should watch all the episodes and then perhaps, the audience will understand that I always try to bring something new and different to the table.
However, I had a negative experience with episode 2 as I was asked to delete some of our conversations. And I wasn’t happy about it at all.
Has hosting Inbox changed or influenced your perspectives in any way?
Hosting the podcast has made me a better conversationalist and I can understand better than I ever could. I no longer feel anxiety while talking to people and it sort of broke my barrier. Now I feel that if I can host well-known figures for an hour or so, I can do anything! It made me feel calmer and understanding towards other people.
When you talk to someone, you can understand the person behind the façade. And that helps you to sympathize or empathize with them
You often do lifestyle and travel blogging. How does it align with your comedic persona?
I used to suffer from body dysmorphia and wasn’t happy about how I looked. But recently, I came to terms with my flaws. For the last three years, I have felt very confident and healthier and I love experimenting with clothes. This is how I came up with the idea of lifestyle blogging.
Whenever I don’t just visit tourist spots, I talk to people and explore the local culture. Along with it, I bring clothes from abroad – for example, recently I bought a few clothes from Japan. So, I am more myself when I experiment with wearing such clothes and travelling to places.
What’s next for Rakin Absar?
For now, I want to focus on creating content. But in future, maybe I’ll try my hand at stand-up comedy and see how it goes. Many people don’t know I can sing. So, don’t be surprised if you see me publishing a music album soon.