30 comedians of different ethnic backgrounds from across the United States will perform at the 11-day festival.
The fifth annual Desi Comedy Fest will be held in nine Northern California cities from August 9 to 19.
It will feature more than 30 comedians from across the United States. According to the organizers, the comedians from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Iranian, Syrian-Mexican, Libyan, Japanese, and Filipino ethnic backgrounds will perform at the festival. One third of the performers are women.
The 11-day festival will be held in San Francisco, Berkeley, Mill Valley, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Milpitas, Dublin, and Mountain View.
The organizers expect roughly 4,000 attendees this year — up from 2,700 in 2017.
Prominent comedians performing this year will include New York-based Adam Mamawala, Ahmed Bharoocha (Los Angeles), Azhar Usman (Chicago), Alingon Mitra (New York), Kiran Deol (Los Angeles) and Usama Siddiquee (New York).
READ: Indian American comedians to host 4th Annual Desi Comedy Fest in 9 California cities (August 10, 2017)
Because of “travel bans and more stringent travel policies,” there won’t be any comedians from abroad performing at the festival, the organizers said.
The festival was launched by San Francisco Bay Area-based comedians Samson Koletkar and Abhay Nadkarni in 2014.
The co-producers say the idea for the festival was born on Pakistani and Indian Independence Days the year before: August 14 and 15, 2013, respectively.
“2018 has not been such a good year for the Indian reputations: Aziz Ansari was in the news for the wrong reasons, Ajit Pai revoked Net Neutrality, there’s a group called Hindus for Trump, and Trump pardoned Dinesh D’Souza thinking he is Hindu,” said Nadkarni. “We just want to show America that Indians still contribute in a positive way #NotAllIndians.”
Koletkar said, “In this post-Trump America, Republicans and Democrats seem more divided than Indians and Pakistanis. So we are bringing together Indian and Pakistanis to show we can all laugh together at our differences. It’s going to be like the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner, but with 50 shades of brown.”
The Mumbai-born Koletkar, also known as Mahatma Moses, was raised Jewish. He moved to the United States after obtaining a master’s degree in computer software. He runs a comedy club, Comedy Oakland, which won the “2016 Best Place for Comedy” in the East Bay Express Readers Poll. Last year, he was chosen as one of the “10 Best Indian-Origin Comedians of the Last Decade” by the Indian website BookMyShow.com.
Nadkarni, a comedian, writer and producer, came to the Los Angeles area for grad school. He is a co-creator of “The Setup,” a weekly underground comedy show in San Francisco. He has been part of a number of festivals including SF Sketchfest and the World Series of Comedy.
Here is the festival schedule:
Thurs, August 9, 8pm: Cobb’s Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave, San Francisco
Fri, August 10, 8pm: Aragon Theater, 900 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
Sat, August 11, 8pm: Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Pkwy
Sun, August 12, 7pm: Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St, Berkeley
Mon, August 13, 8pm: The Gateway Theater, 215 Jackson St, San Francisco
Tues, August 14, 8pm: Throckmorton Theater, 142 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley
Wed, August 15, 8pm: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.
Thurs, August 16, 8pm: Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz
Fri, August 17, 8pm: India Community Center, 525 Los Coches Street Milpitas
*Sat, August 18, 8pm: Dublin Performing Arts Center, 8151 Village Parkway, Dublin
*Sun, August 19, 7pm: Marines’ Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St, San Francisco