February 16, 2013, New York, NY: An Indian, an Indian, an Indian and three more Indians enter an auditorium. The first Indian introduces himself and then the others. No, this isn’t the beginning of joke, but the beginning of a stand-up tour of Indian comedians headlined by Kunal Nayyar aka Rajesh Koothrappali on the number one network television sitcom for three years, The Big Bang Theory. The tour, aptly named “Maharajas of Comedy” also stars comedians Dan Nainan who recently performed for President Obama, Anish Shah, headliner for the sold-out No Laughing Matter comedy tour in 2012, Kabir “Kabeezy” Singh, who has shared the stage with some of the biggest comedians including Dave Chappelle and Russell Peters, Mark Saldana, named “The best Indian…if not Asian comic in the country,” by The Los Angeles Times, and Paul Singh, one of the only comedians who can perform in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.

Kunal Nayyar

“The show is amazing,” says Kunal Nayyar. “I get asked to do a bunch of stuff and I’m pretty choosy about what I want to do. When they asked me to join this tour, I thought, there really isn’t a platform for South Asian comedians. How cool would it be to help build a platform for all these guys cause they are all very funny. That’s how it came about.  I wanted to be part of this moment.”

The stand-up show, which is culminating in a world tour, began with three performances in New York City. Those shows were also filmed in front of live audiences for broadcast on a major television network this spring.

Kabeezy adds, “Man, the show is lovely. I usually go out and headline shows by myself. It’s great to get in a group and have fun with other South Asian comics. The dynamic is great. Everyone has their own style and there are a lot of different personalities in the show. It’s great, you buy one ticket and get to see six totally different South Asian comics.”

Kabir “Kabeezy” Singh

Many of the comics took a break from their regular tours to be part of this historic event. Papa CJ chimed in via live broadcast from India and Anish Shah adds, “I’m in the middle of touring with my current show, “B-School Made Me Funny,” which is touring at the top 50 business schools in the country. And I took a break to come out and do this show. Maybe if I’m really funny, some girl will want to kiss me at the end of the night.”

More relevantly, Paul Singh sums it up, “It is a very important show. I think the more comedians we have, the more actors we have in the mainstream, the more exposure we get. You see with comedy, you can get two-three hundred laughs in one night and that is pretty good… it makes you feel great. When you can get people laughing a lot like that, that is the best thing you can do for yourself.” For more information on Maharajas of Comedy visit, www.maharajas-of-comedy.com.

 

Anish Shah

 

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