The Pundits of Comedy return to Beverley Hills this year. For their third installment, “Indian Imports 3,” the Pundits promise to wash away recession blues by poking fun at the current economical status; provide a brief escape from the mundane ways of daily life, work, relationships, et al; and laugh-out-loud comedy. The likes of Paul Varghese, Mark Saldana, Tarun Shetty, Rasika Mathur, and Mike Tsirklin will take center stage with material that promises a different twist on the usual stand-up comedy.
“It’s easier now to adjust my material because I have a good chunk to pull from,” says Paul Varghese, one of four South Asian comics who perform that night. Varghese, who is Indian, has opened for popular stand-up comedian Peter Russell gained great popularity after making it to the semi-finals on Comedy Central’s Last Comic Standing 2. His forte lies in poking fun at mundane everyday activities and Call Center mimicry which he is notorious for. Growing up in Texas, Varghese uses his mood and temperate to write new jokes for every show, “All good material comes from a negative emotion: confusion, heartbreak, stress, fear, frustration. You don’t have to be happy to write jokes. So the more negative I wake up, the better for my writing process,” he jokes.
Tarun Shetty, best known for his stint on Showbiz India, began his comedic ways by “hitting the open mikes” before he gained a spot on Nickelodeon’s Laugh Out Loud. He is best known for his show Generation Desi, in which he not only acts and writes material for but also produces. Shetty started in New York where he claims to have “hustled” for gigs and had to even hand out fliers in “sub-zero” temperatures before finally gaining some recognition on the comedy circuit. He took his experience and confidence westward to Los Angeles where he presently resides. Currently, Shetty tours the country for comedy shows and has landed parts on several films and TV shows.
Mark Saldana has been seen on numerous TV shows, including Latino Laff Festival and peforming at the finals in Last Comic Standing 2. Acerbically sarcastic, Saldana often jokes about disappointing his mother by taking to comedy instead of medicine, and his love for hockey and alcohol instead of “curry and turbans.” Saldana often claims that he was not the class clown and was never compelled to take comedy seriously. Even still, he has become one of the most popular South Asian comics and has been featured by many publications including USA Today and New York Times, and has penned for Harpers Weekly.
On the other hand, the only lady standing at the evening will be none other than Rasika Mathur, a.k.a. “Nilam Auntie.” Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Mathur realized her desire for laughter at a young age and decided to bank on her skills to make others laugh for a career. Best known for her role on MTV’s Wild ’N Out, Mathur is quick to clarify that she is not the least bit intimidated of being the only female comic at “Indian Imports 3.” “They are obviously doing something wrong to be so lonely on a Friday, Saturday night to have to come and relieve themselves of the pain through comedy shows,” she says. “So I’m here to provide that counsel for them. And they’ll be so liquored up, they won’t be concerned that I’ve never known true love myself,” she says in true Nilam Auntie fashion. For inspirations, she counts on George W. Bush, saying, “Bush was a genius! His timing, his consistency, his delivery—he mastered comedy.”
Roshni Mulchandani is happiest when she is lost in a world of words. She enjoys a good read, great food, and even better music. Her weakness is ice cream.
Saturday, May 9, 8:30-10:30 p.m. Tanzore Restaurant and Lounge, 50 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills. Show: $20 advance, $25 at door; Show, dinner, and after party: $65-$80. Tickets: www.desiclub.com. (310) firstname.lastname@example.org. www.tanzore.com.