Vir Das is the godfather of standup comedy in India as we know it today. You’d think this was a bit of an exaggeration, but it is not. Since he returned to India from the United States in 2004, Das has made it his mission to cultivate and grow the scene in India at a time when English standup wasn’t a thing yet.
From workshops and live shows to creating collectives, hosting open mics to encourage new talent to come out and play, to hosting the biggest (and only) standup comedy festival in the country, Weirdass Pyjama Festival, and forming the country’s first comedy band, Alien Chutney—his list of firsts is never ending.
He has three live specials to his name—Walking on Broken Das, Battle of Da Sexes, and History of India: VIRitten—and was the first (and at the time, only) Indian to be commissioned by streaming giant Netflix for his fourth special, Abroad Understanding, which dropped in 2017. He was signed up for a second special, Losing It, which released in December 2018.
And we haven’t even gotten to the international stuff yet, which includes scoring a segment on American late night talk show Conan, and a role on ABC’s latest drama series, Whiskey Cavalier. Oh. That’s right. He’s also an actor, with a score of Bollywood movies to his credit, including Delhi Belly, Badmaash Company, Go Goa Gone, and Grand Masti (which he’s trying to forget about but that’s what we’re here for).
They call him the Priyanka Chopra of Indian comedy. We call him the OG.