Thursday, January 14, 2010

10 Years

It's been 10 years since a 17 year old Hari Kondabolu first did stand-up comedy at "Comedy Night," a show he produced at Townsend Harris High School.

Look at him un-ironically wearing that sports jacket on stage because he thinks that's what standup comics are supposed to look like. I'm (switching to first person now) probably telling jokes about Indian immigrants driving cabs and how thick my parents accents are. So much still to learn...

I really didn't expect to be doing stand-up comedy for this long, and the idea of being on TV and making a career out of this was not even in the realm of possibility.

Thank you all for a decade of support. I'm still constantly stunned by all of this and I'm grateful to all my friends, family and fans for their encouragement and for going to all those shows before I was even mildly funny. (I'm so, so so, so sorry...especially for that set I had at the now-closed Blah Blah Lounge in Park Slope, Brooklyn 7 years ago. WOW.)

Now off to Bellingham, Washington to celebrate 10 years by headlining Western Washington University.

And tomorrow "John Oliver's New York Stand- Up Show" at 11pm on Comedy Central.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010


A friend just sent me this video with the following request:

"can you use your star power to stop this?"

I'm sorry, friend. Even with a Comedy Central appearance on the horizon, there is likely nothing I can do.

However, I will ask the actors in this commercial one question: "Was it worth the check, boys?"

And more:

And more?:

For further reference on my views of such buffoonery, please watch my 2007 short film MANOJ:

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Accidental Racism? Part 2

A friend sent this video to me months ago. She believed it to be from Thailand. I'm struggling to make sense of it:

I really do think the folks at this Black Herbal toothpaste company did not have bad intentions when they made this advertisement.

"Appearance can be deceiving. Black Herbal Toothpaste."

On the one hand, the advertisement is saying that you shouldn't judge people/things based on how they look because a person/thing can still be good even if you think they/it looks bad.

On the other hand, this commercial is based on the fucked up assumption that large Black men appear to be "bad" because they are Black.

(Yes, I'm talking in "good vs. bad" saw the commercial.)

"His appearance is deceiving because he is a large Black man, and therefore we would, of course, assume he would hurt a child because that's what Black people do. They hurt other people. Why is that offensive? I still called him a person."

Or as my dear friend Ariela put it "they're saying "don't be grossed out because our product is black. we're scared of black men, but we shouldn't be. don't be scared of our product either."

Also, why is a black man being compared to toothpaste? That's just absurd...and again...DEHUMANIZING.

That point of view is the "other hand." This hand, however, was apparently Black and therefore, was deemed inconsequential or too scary to consider.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Hari Kondabolu on John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show This Friday!

Hey Kids,

As the subject line says, I'll be appearing on John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show on Comedy Central this Friday, January 15th at 11pm.

Here's the proof that it isn't live:

RE-AIR DATES: Tuesday Jan 19th at 6pm and Friday Jan 22nd at Midnight

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Even the Bathrooms in SF are Smart and Interesting

Here are various things I saw written on the bathroom wall at Philz Coffee on 24th and Fulsom in San Francisco. (To the patrons who were patiently waiting outside the bathroom for me to exit, I apologize that my faux journalism potentially created any discomfort for you.)

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams...Live the life you've imagined."

A quotation from Thoreau!

I don't know why the ellipsis was necessary since I do believe that is more or less the full Thoreau quote, unless the tagger added this piece of punctuation for dramatic effect! If so, well done!

And how about something cute:


Adorable! The expression is "let's make like a banana and split," and here the tagger decided to change the word "split" to "abscond," which means "to leave secretly."

Bananas are actually unable to abscond. Unlike animals, bananas are unable to move without force and unlike, humans cannot be willfully secretive. (Interesting side question, can other animals sneak away from something? That's a hilarious thought. A monkey sneaking away from another monkey whose banana it stole. HILARIOUS, RIGHT?)

Anyway the expression is about getting away quickly, and "abscond" does seem appropriate in that context. BRILLIANT.

Let's look at another picture:


Yes, Yes, Yes!! Brilliant! You have called us on our bullshit, good fellow or lady! Yes, in the modern world, none of us are free! EVER.

And another:


Beautiful San Francisco! Beautiful denial of your reality. Put your headphones back on and stare at that computer!

And this guy:


Who is this fellow and what does he have to gain from watching me poop? Why San Francisco? Are you trying to remind us about Big Brother? He's everywhere!

"IB: Go to the Federal Establishment on 23rd and Van Ness, ask for 'general delivery' -ZB"

Drugs? Oh ok. I think this is about drugs. that's what this is all about.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Laughter Against the Machine in Oakland, Jan 7th-9th

After 3 SOLD OUT New Year's Eve shows in San Francisco, W. Kamau Bell, Nato Green and I are bringing our noise to The New Parish in Oakland.

Here's a great write-up from the East Bay Express about our New Year's Eve shows:

Apparently, I was "the night's most acerbic comedian."



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Saturday, January 02, 2010

2010 Starts in SF

Happy New Year, Friends!

I started my 2010 in San Francisco, counting down the seconds with my good friends W. Kamau Bell and Nato Green after our sold-out New Year's Eve "Laughter Against the Machine" shows. We got lots of great press for the shows including our picture in the SF Guardian.

I spent a good chunk of 2009 performing and visiting dear friends in San Francisco. No city, other than my dearest Seattle, has given me so much love and support and I appreciate it to no end.

So, for my first blog of 2010, here are some pictures (with commentary) from this most recent trip to the Bay Area.

I'm so glad I no longer have a Razr phone. Much higher picture quality allows us to take pictures like this:

The view of the city of Lombard Street

This next picture was taken while walking in SF's Tenderloin neighborhood. It's a sign outside of the "New Delhi" Indian restaurant.

Yes, that's right owners of New Delhi Indian Restaurant, Columbus was looking for Indian food! That was the whole point of trying to find India. He was craving Indian food.

Yes, this makes complete sense.

Haven't you ever been so hungry, that you do things you regret? You know, like eat junk food or say crazy things because you can't think rationally. Columbus was the same way, except he responded to not finding Indian food by killing, enslaving and converting to Christianity the indigenous people of the islands.


Then, there's this gem I found at a candy shop in Fisherman's Wharf.

Wheelchair accessibility! How considerate!

Oh C'mon! Seriously? Haven't the Native Americans suffered enough with their land being stolen and the rampant poverty of reservations? And stuff like this still exists?

A Native American turned into a candy dispenser? Lollipop feathers? Lollipop feathers?!?!

Need a closer look?

This statue is clearly unrealistic since the Native American is not crying. Where are the tears that are the result of a person being completely humiliated?

And finally, here's the cutest/ most humiliating photo of the new year:

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