In the midst of the rise of popular Hispanic culture and comedians in today’s American society, the Virginpalooza comedy tour would like to ‘de-virginize’ America by way of introducing you to the ‘South-Asian comedian.’
The Virginpalooza comedy tour performed at UC Irvine last Wednesday night. The tour consists of popularized South-Asian comedians Gerry Bednob, who played Mooj in the ‘Forty Year Old Virgin,’ Raggie D., Sanjay Shah, and fourth-year UCI sociology major Harvin Sethi.
The show was energetic, and entertaining, not to mention absolutely hilarious. Each comedian’s routine was side-splitting, and gave the audience a taste of the humor found in each comic’s South-Asian background and upbringing. There wasn’t a dull moment as the Social Science Lecture Hall was filled with laughter throughout the entirety of the show.
Virginpalooza started with Aziz Ahmed, marketing director for Enigma Entertainment Inc. Ahmed started an exclusively South-Asian comedy tour called ‘Just for HaHa’s’ that played at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. The show sold out instantly, also catching the attention of Harvin Sethi. Sethi contacted Ahmed, who offered him five minutes onstage at the show.
‘The original host for the night ended up going home with hives so I got to host the show. Agents and the club’s owner happened to be in the audience that night, and it all happened from there,’ Sethi said.
Sethi hosts Asian Invasion and All-Star Comedy on Thursday nights at the Laugh Factory. Sethi also performs occasionally at the Hollywood Improv.
One night while outside the Hollywood Improv, Sethi and Ahmed noticed the Virgin Record store across the street. They both agreed that the name of their South-Asian comedy tour would then be called Virginpalooza.
‘We are all South-Asian’ Sethi said, ‘but we are not catering to just one audience, we want to make the whole world laugh.’
The Virginpalooza tour has performed at UCLA, UC Berkeley, UCI and is now on its way to the rest of the country with the aim of exposing all ethnicities to South-Asian culture and comedy.
Sethi believes that ‘there are so [few] Indians in the entertainment industry.’ An agent once told Sethi, ‘It would take a population of 10 million first-generation Indians for an Indian comic to get his own TV show.’
The fan base in America is nowhere near that number yet, but with the rise of South-Asian comics like the Virginpalooza tour, the culture is definitely gaining momentum.
Sethi believes that South-Asian culture is gradually and finally making its mark in America.
‘Indian culture has entered American culture, making a mark as first-generation Indians brought up here diversify our careers instead of becoming the stereotypical Indian doctor, lawyer or engineer,’ Sethi said.
Sethi recently took the LSAT, but has decided to not be a lawyer and pursue his dream of being an entertainer instead.
Comedy has always been central in Sethi’s life. ‘I have always been a good critic of comedy, I constantly live to entertain myself and have fun with my life.’ As a sophomore Sethi and studio art major Paritosh ‘Pari’ Mathur combined their shared love for comedy and started a show called ‘Reel OC’ that aired on Anteaterstv.com.
‘Its basically SNL on crack’ Sethi said. ‘It’s a lot of clever improv and what I like to call shmidleybob.’
Sethi hopes to ‘not only be an ambassador for South-Asian culture but through the Virginpalooza show, also an ambassador for UCI. I want to keep this campus where it should be