Desi Comedy Fest

Desi Comedy Fest

Sunday, August 12th

7:00 pm (event ends at 9:00 pm)

$40 ADV / $50 DOOR (plus fees)

Desi Comedy Fest
Desi Comedy Fest
San Francisco, CA… Bay Area-based Indian-born comedians, Samson Koletkar and Abhay Nadkarni, and The Times of India Group Present The 5th Annual Desi Comedy Fest, an 11-day South Asian stand up comedy extravaganza touring comedy clubs and theaters in 9 Northern California cities: San Francisco, Berkeley, Mill Valley, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara,
San Mateo, Milpitas, Dublin, and Mountain View. The festival, the largest of its kind in the US, runs August 9-19 this year and features over 30 South Asian comedians from all over
the US, with diverse ethnic (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Iranian, Syrian-Mexican, Libyan, Japanese, and Filipino) and religious backgrounds (Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, and Catholic). Last year’s festival boasted an attendance of 2700: up from 700 in 2014, the first year of the festival. 4000 attendees are expected this year.

What’s new this year? This year, Koletkar and Nadkarni are partnering with The Times of India Group, India's largest media conglomerate, that just completed The Gaana Music
Festival, the largest ever Indian music festival in America. This year's Desi Comedy Fest will be a grander spectacle than ever before. It will feature the best comedians from the
previous four years and 10 brand new and hilarious comedians. One third of this year’s comedians are women. The festival comes to 3 new cities this year: San Mateo, Milpitas, and Dublin. Since last year’s festival, Desi Comedy Fest has held shows in Portland, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles. In 2016 it toured 20 shows in 20 days across four
cities in India. This June, the festival is bringing 6 comedians to New Jersey for one night for its East Coast debut.

[Desi (pronounced “THEY-see”) is a term for the cultures and products of the Indian subcontinent or South Asia and their diaspora, derived from the Ancient Sanskrit (deśá or deshi), meaning Land or Country. Desi countries include India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Maldives.]

Abhay Nadkarni, festival co-producer, observes, “2018 has not been such a good year for the Indian reputations: Aziz Ansari was in the news for the wrong reasons, Ajit Pai revoked Net Neutrality, there's a group called Hindus for Trump, and Trump pardoned Dinesh D'Souza thinking he is Hindu. We just want to show America that Indians still contribute in a positive way #NotAllIndians.”

Festival co-producer Samson Koletkar notes, “In this post-Trump America, Republicans and Democrats seem more divided than Indians and Pakistanis. So we are bringing together Indian and Pakistanis to show we can all laugh together at our differences. It's going to be like the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner, but with 50 shades of brown.”

The idea for the festival was born on August 14 and 15, 2013, Pakistani and Indian Independence Days, respectively, when Koletkar produced a few comedy shows that featured Pakistani and Indian comedians. The positive response to the shows planted the seed for something larger: The Desi Comedy Fest. Koletkar and fellow Indian comedian, Abhay Nadkarni, talked about the cultural zeitgeist in the South Asian community: usually introverted South Asians are taking to the stage to openly talk about their cultural characteristics while also addressing immigration, race, and other personal experiences of the South Asian diaspora. That discussion spawned the idea for the festival, which they launched the following year in 2014. Koletkar adds, “Where else can you find Indians and Pakistanis sitting together and laughing?”