Mass native to visit Boston, working on one-man show
By Martin Desmarais
Rahul Siddharth, a standup comedian on the rise, will visit Nick’s Comedy Stop in Boston on January 28. His work has drawn interest from television giants like NBC.
WEYMOUTH, Mass. — Rahul Siddharth is coming home. However, unlike most anticipating a big homecoming, he is hoping everybody laughs at him. That’s because the Weymouth native is a stand up comedian on the rise and his return includes a stop at Nick’s Comedy Stop in Boston on January 28.
Siddharth, who lives and works in New York, has been performing standup comedy for eight years. He has performed across the country at many reputable clubs. His comedy has also translated to other mediums such as radio, television and film. In 2002, he was a writer for a new sketch comedy show, “Human Relations 101,” on WPAX. He’s also appeared on Oxygen Network, HGTV and American Desi TV. In 2001, he wrote, directed, starred and produced a short film, “A Close Shave,” that was on Comedy Central and www.ifilm.com.
Still, despite his success and past visits to Boston, he has high expectations for his most recent return to the Bay State.
“I’m excited about this show in Boston,” he says. “I have so many friends and family there and they haven’t gotten a chance to come to New York and come to my show.”
Siddharth is also excited because his stage act has evolved since his early days of comedy. Originally shying away from his Indian heritage, Siddharth attempted to blaze a trail in the comedic world like many others with political commentary, focus on current events and the trials and tribulations of daily life. However, this approach put him in the same category as numerous other comedians out there. It wasn’t until he started talking about being Indian in his act that his career started to pick up. For him the change came down to one fact: there are a lot of aspiring comedians out there, but there are not many Indian-American comedians. “What really separated me from other comics was when I started talking about being Indian and seeing the world through ‘Indian glasses’” he says.
Siddharth’s own publicity describes him as “American-born and slightly confused, his unique storytelling illustrates a first generation Indian struggling to find happiness somewhere between America and the expectations of traditional Indian parents.” His act focuses on the pangs of dating, relationships, family, arranged marriages and social politics.
As can be expected, his approach has resonated with the Indian-American audience and he says an increasing number have been turning up for his shows. “They love it. They are willing to laugh at themselves. They are a lot more fun to work for,” he says. Audiences in general are connecting with his approach. “They like to hear the cultural stuff and the family stuff,” Siddharth says. “It is amazing how much comedy there is in your own family,” he added.
According to Siddharth, he has also come to realize that though his comedy is now Indian focused he is also able to slip in general jokes and that it connects with the audience because it deals with universal themes.
“Being very, very specific about universal themes, that’s what makes comedy work,” he says. “At the end of the day, I can replace that with any culture and that would work.”
For Siddharth, the end result has had him mentioned in the media in the same breath as South Asian comics such as Russell Peters and Sugar Sammy. It has also drawn interest from the likes of television giants such as NBC. Siddharth is currently working on a “one-man show” called, “The Good Family,” which he hopes will help spark sitcom possibilities. The “one-man show,” similar to a play, is traditionally the way many comedians have transitioned to the television screen. Well-known examples include Ray Romano of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and Jerry Seinfeld of “Seinfeld.”
A graduate of Weymouth High School, Siddharth attended Connecticut’s Fairfield University from 1992 to 1997, switching majors several times from pre-med to computer science to marketing, while studying theater the whole time. While pursuing his comedic interests over the years, Siddharth has worked in the marketing and graphic design industry. He currently works for Bernard Hodes Group in New York. He also started his own freelance design company, RSVP Design, in 1998, which he still runs.
Siddharth’s passion for comedy and stand up started when he was 10 and used to watch Johnny Carson’s monologue on the “Tonight Show”. That was when he realized comedy was an amazing art form and one he wanted to learn.