Alt comic, post-colonial theorist, prodigious tweeter, erstwhile immigrant rights advocate, and acerbic pundit Hari Kondabolu is a natural fit for San Francisco audiences, even if grew up in New York and cut his teeth in Seattle. He gained Bay Area notoriety after teaming up with W. Kamau Bell and Nato Green to head the Laughter Against the Machine comedy tour a few years ago, and he still occasionally graces the Punch Line Comedy Club, or The Chapel.
Kondabolu often says that Bay Area crowds have a unique capacity to understand and appreciate -- his politically tinged, paragraph-long bits, because we're more patient than audiences in other parts of the country. Meaning: We read whole newspaper articles instead of just skimming headlines, and we love taking a long time to digest things. We like intricate, self-referential comedians who set something up in their first five minutes, and make it funny 20 minutes later. We want our comedians to opine and insert long-winded asides -- a style that Kondabolu calls "the new sincerity."
We're not a fast-quip, instant-gratification type of crowd.
That was part of the impetus for Kondabolu opting to record his debut album at Oakland's New Parish club, which has become a go-to killing room in an area that's no longer awash in comedy infrastructure - when W. Kamau Bell left to launch his Totally Biased FX TV series in New York, he took many of San Francisco's rising alt humorists along. Kondabolu is part of that crew, and he currently divides his time between stand-up gigs and the Totally Biased writing team, occasionally serving as a correspondent on "The KondaBulletin" (His commentary on the spelling bee edition: "Hey white people - learn the language.")
But Kondabolu hasn't forgot the Bay Area, and he's all a-tizzy about next week's sort-of homecoming.More »