Before pursuing stand-up comedy full-time, Hari Kondabolu was a human rights activist. At first telling jokes was a cathartic release from the intense work he did with victims of hate crimes and workplace discrimination. In today’s interview he recounts how he began to incorporate aspects of his work into his comedy:
"I used to do a bit where I used to read the U.S. citizenship application onstage. I think that’s part of just being overeducated and wanting to do document analysis, but I’d actually bring it on stage and read questions. Because for people who don’t know, this is what immigrants have to go through to gain status in this country and it’s absurd and it’s something we take for granted as American citizens.
Sometimes that was hard in a club on a Friday night and it’s 10 o-clock and everyone’s drunk and there’s a dude on stage reading a form, it’s a strange thing to read a government form in front of a bunch of drunk people.”
Hari’s new comedy album is called Waiting for 2042.
Photo by Kyle Johnson