Spotlight on Indian American Stand Up Comedians

Indian American Stand Up Comedian
Indian American Stand Up Comedian

In the dynamic realm of American comedy, Indian American stand-up comedians are carving out their own space with a unique blend of humor, insight, and cultural nuance. These stars bring a rich tapestry of stories that explore the complexities of being both Indian and American. Beyond the punchlines, their comedic journey navigates shared experiences, challenges, and the joy of finding humor in the everyday, shaping a narrative that contributes to the evolving landscape of American comedy.

Let’s shine the spotlight on these talented stand-up comedians of Indian American heritage:

1. Kal Penn

Kal Penn, born Kalpen Suresh Modi on April 23, 1977, in Montclair, New Jersey, is an Indian American actor, comedian, and producer. Penn gained fame for his roles in films like "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" and TV series like "House." Besides acting, he has been involved in political activism and briefly served as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement during the Obama administration.

Kal Penn

2. Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari is an Indian American comedian, actor, and writer. Born on February 23, 1983, in Columbia, South Carolina, he gained widespread recognition for his role as Tom Haverford in the TV series "Parks and Recreation." Ansari's stand-up comedy often explores topics like relationships, modern technology, and social issues. He has received critical acclaim for his Netflix series "Master of None," which he co-created and stars in.

Aziz Ansari

3. Hasan Minhaj

Hasan Minhaj is an Indian American comedian, actor, and writer, born on September 23, 1985, in Davis, California. He rose to prominence as a correspondent on "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah." Minhaj's comedy frequently addresses issues of identity, race, and politics. His Netflix show, "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," gained popularity for its insightful and humorous take on current events and social issues.

Hasan Minhaj

4. Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling, born Vera Mindy Chokalingam on June 24, 1979, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an Indian American actress, comedian, and writer. She gained fame for her role as Kelly Kapoor on the TV series "The Office" and later created and starred in "The Mindy Project." Kaling is known for her witty and relatable humor, and she has also ventured into writing books and producing.

Mindy Kaling

5. Aparna Nancherla

Aparna Nancherla is an Indian American comedian and actress born on August 22, 1982, in Washington, D.C. Her comedy often explores themes of anxiety, depression, and the absurdities of everyday life. Nancherla has appeared on various comedy specials, podcasts, and TV shows, establishing herself as a unique and insightful voice in the comedy world.

Aparna Nancherla

5. Hari Kondabolu

Hari Kondabolu, born on October 21, 1982, in Queens, New York, is an Indian American comedian, writer, and filmmaker. Known for his socially conscious comedy, Kondabolu addresses issues such as race, identity, and inequality. He has released comedy albums, performed on numerous late-night shows, and created the documentary "The Problem with Apu," which critiques the portrayal of South Asians in media.

Hari Kondabolu

6. Zarna Garg

Zarna Garg is an Indian American comedian, actress, and social media personality based in the United States. She gained attention for her comedic content, which often includes commentary on various topics such as cultural differences, family life, and her experiences as an immigrant. She earned a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Akron, and a law degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. After being a stay-at-home mother for 16 years, she was encouraged by her children to try stand-up comedy.

Zarna Garg

7. Nimesh Patel

Nimesh Patel is an Indian American comedian, writer, and actor based in the United States. Born on July 17, 1986, in Mumbai, India, Patel moved to the U.S. and became a prominent figure in the comedy scene. He is known for his stand-up comedy, which often touches on topics like race, identity, and everyday observations. Nimesh Patel has appeared on various comedy shows and platforms, gaining recognition for his wit and engaging stage presence. He has been a writer for "Saturday Night Live" (SNL) and has contributed to the show's sketches, bringing his comedic talents to a wide audience.

Nimesh Patel


8. Akaash Singh

Akaash Singh, born on May 4, 1984, in Dallas, Texas, is an Indian-American stand-up comedian, actor, and podcaster renowned for co-hosting the Flagrant podcast with Andrew Schulz and his popular YouTube comedy special "Bring Back Apu." Growing up in an Indian family from Uttar Pradesh, Singh pursued his passion for comedy from a young age, performing at school talent shows and eventually leaving a pre-med track at Austin College to focus on stand-up. His career includes notable appearances on television, such as in "Wild 'n Out," "The Leftovers," and "Brown Nation," alongside his impactful work on the Flagrant podcast. In February 2022, Singh's self-released comedy special quickly gained traction, amassing a million views within a week. He resides in New York City with his wife, Jasleen Singh, whom he married in July 2021.

Akaash Singh


9. Dhaya Lakshminarayanan

Dhaya Lakshminarayanan is an Indian American comedian, storyteller, and speaker. Her comedy often delves into cultural experiences, identity, and the challenges of navigating life as an immigrant. Lakshminarayanan, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, has performed at comedy festivals, corporate events, and storytelling shows. Lakshminarayanan was raised in a Hindu household in a suburb Cleveland, Ohio and later, Birmingham, Alabama. Growing up, she spoke Tamil, learning English through Sesame Street and other PBS shows. As children, she and her brother, Venkat, enjoyed Mad Libs and Choose Your Own Adventure books.

Dhaya Lakshminarayanan

10. Jay Chandrasekhar

Jay Chandrasekhar, born on April 9, 1968, is an American comedian, actor, writer, and director. He is a member of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard and has directed and starred in films like "Super Troopers" and "Beerfest." Chandrasekhar's comedy often includes humor rooted in his experiences as an Indian American. He is best known for his work with the sketch comedy group Broken Lizard and for directing and starring in the Broken Lizard films Super Troopers, Club Dread, Beerfest and Super Troopers 2. Since 2001, he has also worked frequently as a television director on many episodes of Community and The Goldbergs, among dozens of comedy series. He has also occasionally worked as a film director outside of Broken Lizard projects, most notably on the 2005 film The Dukes of Hazzard.

Jay Chandrasekhar

11. Shanti Charan

Shanti Charan is an Indian American comedian and writer known for her stand-up performances and comedic storytelling. Based in Los Angeles, she has performed at various comedy clubs, bringing humor to topics such as cultural diversity, relationships, and everyday experiences.

 Shanti Charan

12. Prashanth Venkataramanujam

Prashanth Venkataramanujam, also known as "PV," is an Indian American comedian, writer, and producer. He has been involved in projects like "Late Night with Seth Meyers" and co-created the Comedy Central series "Blark and Son." Venkataramanujam was born on March 12, 1987 in Downers Grove, Illinois to Tamil immigrant parents from India. Venkataramanujam grew up in Darien, Illinois. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where he joined the Chai Town a capella group and appeared as Jacob Winter on the TV series "One Fine Day!".

Prashanth Venkataramanujam

13. Samson Koletkar

   Samson Koletkar, also known as "Mahatma Moses," is an Indian Jewish stand-up comedian based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His comedy often explores the intersections of his Indian and Jewish identities. Samson's comedy is a unique blend of his Indian background, Jewish roots, and American life. His clean comedy has been described as cerebral, witty, & refreshing, and is most enjoyed by those who prefer caffeine over alcohol. He has entertained audiences across USA, Canada, and India, & he has been featured on NPR, NBC, CBS, NDTV, The Times of India, Indian Express, Ha'aretz, Asian Jewish Life, and more.

Samson Koletkar

14. Vijai Nathan

Vijai Nathan is an Indian American comedian and writer known for her stand-up performances and humorous reflections on cultural identity, family, and relationships. Vijai is one of the leading Indian American female comedians making people laugh across America and internationally too. International comedy phenomenon Russell Peters calls her “One of the top two South Asian comics in the world to watch!”

She has performed in South Africa, England and Canada, and was featured at the Montreal International Comedy Festival (Just for Laughs) and the Smirnoff International Comedy Festival. Washington DC loves her too- she’s performed at the Smithsonian Museum, Kennedy Center, Constitution Hall, Library of Congress and won the award for Artistic Excellence from SpeakeasyDC.

Vijai Nathan

15. Rajiv Satyal

Rajiv Satyal was born in Hamilton, Ohio to Indian parents in 1976. He graduated from Fairfield High School in 1994.Satyal earned a Bachelor of Science degree in materials engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 2000. During college, he interned on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, for Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH). Satyal started doing standup comedy in 2002 at Go Bananas Comedy Club in Montgomery, Ohio. He hosts a podcast entitled, The TanGent Show, formerly known as The Funny Indian Show.

Rajiv Satyal



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