Hari Kondabolu bringing his socio-political stand up to Wiseguys


By Holly Vasic

Comedian Hari Kondabolu is bringing his particular socio-political humor to Salt Lake City that is sure to get the house roaring with laughter. Though he jokes that his bachelor’s degree in Comparative Politics and master’s degree in Human Rights makes his banter a double entendre, NPR described him as “a brainy comedian who cuts through the polite talk around race and gender.”

When Kondabolu saw Margret Cho perform for the first time as a teenager, a spark lit. “She was the first person I saw that wasn’t like white, black, or Latino doing stand up so it was kind of ground breaking for me. Oh, you can have immigrant parents and you can have a different voice” Kondabolu said. He also realized the only character that South Asians, like him, had at the time was Apu on “The Simpsons.” When he stumbled into his professional comedy career in 2000 he showed the West there was more to South Asian people than a one-dimensional cartoon. Kondabolu’s comedy is extremely political, dealing with issues such as, but you don’t have to agree with his politics or be a minority to find him hilarious. “The goal is always to make people laugh or be honest with my point of view. So my hope is anyone and everyone will attend” Kondabolu will be performing in Utah this coming Sunday.

The New York Times called Kondabolu “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today,” and the Chicago Reader hailed him as “the important new kind of everyman comic America needs.” Despite the high praise, he humbly stated “I never thought this was going to be a career. When I started doing it I did it because I loved doing it.”

Kondabolu keeps himself busy with his writing and comedy. He has appeared on many TV shows such as “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, “Late Show with David Letterman”, “Conan”, and others. He was a correspondent and writer for “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell” and made a documentary for truTV called “The problem with Apu.” Hari just released his third comedy album, co-hosts the podcast “Politically Re-Active” and frequents NPR shows like “Fresh Air” and “The Moth.”

“The love and laughter of my friends and family wasn’t enough apparently, and so I do this” Hari said with a laugh.

Hari enjoyed his time in Salt Lake City last time he was here. He is very complimentary of Salt Lake’s unique counterculture and is a big fan of our “famous” punk scene, as he has called it. Hari’s advice for any college student comedian, as he was, is “allow yourself to fail, allow yourself to struggle, and it’s perfect.” Advice that applies not only to aspiring stand-up comedians but to all of us.

Hair Kondabolu will be performing at Wiseguys at the Gateway, 194 S. 400 W. Salt Lake City, Sunday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at www.wiseguyscomedy.com or by calling the box office at (801)532-5233.