Most of the stand-up comedians we know in India, accidentally stumbled upon comedy and made it turned into a full-time comedian. But, in the case of Vir Das, he always knew what his destiny was! He has become the first Indian comedian to receive a doctorate.
FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH COMEDY
Vir Das studied in Knox College, Illinois with his major subject being Economics and Theatre with a concentration in performance. After graduating from Knox, he was accepted into the Stanislavsky Program of the Moscow Arts Theatre. It was when he was at Knox that Vir first explored stand-up comedy with his first special, ‘Brown Men Can’t Hump’, which debuted in Knox’s Harbach Theatre.
This, in itself was funny, as Vir has mentioned in many of his interviews that they were expected to submit serious works and he was the only one who ended up doing a comedy!
Nevertheless, he received a Richter Scholarship for Theatre and later went on to win the Colton Performance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting from Knox. He was also a teaching assistant for Beginning Acting at Knox and he also trained as a method actor at Harvard.
After Vir returned to India…
…he has performed several shows, acted in movies and also hosted comedy shows on various channels. His style of comedy is unique, where he plays around with words and uses it well to bring out the jokes. The topics too are not silly, but though-provoking like racism and homosexuality; topics that usually stays under the covers for ‘obvious’ reasons in India.
THE MAN OF FIRSTS
Vir Das is also a man of many firsts – first Indian to make it big in the world of stand-up comedy, first stand-up comedian to get his special with Netflix (Abroad Understanding) and now, he has also become the first Indian comedian to receive a doctorate for his achievements in the world of performing arts. And the one to confer this honour on him is none other than his alma mater, Knox College!
With this honour, he has also become the first alumnus since 1971 to serve as a commencement speaker for their annual commencement ceremony. The list of past speakers includes stalwarts like Barrack Obama and Eva Longoria.
Phew…with some many achievements under his belt, we cannot fathom what award or recognition Vir Das might end up with next.