After five sold out shows with his New York City debut in 2015, Indian actor and comedian Vir Das will return at the famed comedy venue Carolines on Broadway (1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets) in New York City to headline from Friday, March 10 to Sunday, March 12. Das’ U.S. debut show “Unbelivablish” was a roaring success in over 17 cities in India and had also toured in Dubai and Singapore. With over 35,000 tickets sold, it was the largest domestic comedy show tour ever by an Indian comedian.
As the biggest English speaking comedian in India, Das is taking his authentic point-of-view worldwide and is quickly becoming a global phenomenon with his unique and original perspective. Das has cemented himself as one of India’s top stand-ups, actors, writers, musicians, and festival producers. He climbed the ranks of the Bollywood elite in various films such as “BadMaash Company”, “Delhi Belly”, and “Revolver Rani”.
Through his various tours, including “The History of India” and “Battle of Das Sexes’, Das has sold over half a million tickets as a stand up and is winning over comedy fans around the world. He has made record-setting premiere appearances across the U.S., and he recently concluded a two-week run at London’s .Soho Theatre. Last year, Das was featured at the Montreal Just For Laughs comedy festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Das spoke about his career path, the challenges in the profession and his future aspiration. Excerpts from the interview.
How did you get into stand-up comedy?
A: Probably the easiest way to get someone to do something is to tell them they can’t, right? My stand-up journey began almost just as simply. I wrote and performed my first special, “Brown Men Can’t Hump” when I was a student at Knox College, Illinois. While I was working on the material, I remember a friend telling me that it makes no sense for a foreign kid to try and enter this dog-eat-dog world of American stand-up comedy. And weeks later, I was on my path.
You were among the first stand-up comics in India. What are your thoughts on the comedy scene in India now?
A: The Indian comedy market is small but exciting right now. We’re really in that vibrant stage where, almost every new voice popping up has something genuinely different to say – and that’s truly special. I’ve had the opportunity to experience and witness the birth of English stand-up comedy in India over the last decade and, I’m readily excited to see this art form blossom.
What are the major differences you find between audience in North America and India?As someone who has performed both in India and abroad, do you find you have to apply more filters here?
A; I wouldn’t really call it a filter. It’s more to do with the treatment and delivery of the material. I’ve written material specifically for India that I know may not work abroad – based on language and cultural differences. And the same for the material I’ve written for a foreign audience. At the end of the day, the topic is usually the same, it’s just the treatment of it.
How do you manage your movie career and stand-up?
A: I find, more than droning over the logistics of working on the two worlds, what keeps me going is the audiences. Each of the art forms have an entirely different audience and, of course, at some point they pour over. For me, it’s 100 percent more rewarding to worry about what my fans think of my work – be it criticism, trolling or love.
What’s your mindscape like before each performance?
A: Probably thinking about how mindscape is the marriage of mind and landscape and why more people don’t use it.
Which subjects do you like to poke fun at?
A: Things that don’t get me arrested.
Was it difficult to find your own niche?
A: Absolutely. It’s always a struggle for an artist to find their voice. There’s a healthy amount of self-loathing, stumbling, failing and, eventually, picking up the pieces, learning and, using the experience to know what works for you and what doesn’t. It’s a rigorous and emotionally draining process but, you know. It gets you there.
Vir Das’ performance schedule at Carolines on Broadway is:
Friday, March 10 at 7:30 PM and 10:00 PM
Saturday, March 11 at 7:30 PM and 10:00 PM
Sunday, March 12 at 7:30 PM and 10:00 PM
Tickets are $46.50 per person, plus a two-beverage minimum and can be purchased online at http://www.carolines.com/comedian/vir-das/. Reservations can be made by calling the Carolines Box Office at 212.757.4100.