Abhay N
Gig Seeker Pro

Abhay N

San Francisco, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009

San Francisco, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Comedy Comedy




"Virtual Reality Comedians"

It’s like when talking was introduced into the movies,” Sarvate said. “People started discovering new ways to use it. We’re going to find that there’s different ways to be funny in VR.”

Entertainment companies are leading the charge to develop content for virtual reality, a technology that can trick viewers into thinking that they are present in the scene displayed inside VR headsets. The video game industry has created the most advanced VR content, but musicians, filmmakers and the pornography industry are diving in as well.

Audience members enjoy the Desi Comedy Fest at Cobb’s Comedy Club, where comics also experimented with virtual reality. Photo: James Tensuan, Special To The Chronicle Photo: James Tensuan, Special To The Chronicle Audience members enjoy the Desi Comedy Fest at Cobb’s Comedy Club, where comics also experimented with virtual reality.
Nadkarni and Sarvate, who run the Set Up, a once-a-week Tenderloin comedy club, have produced what may be the first comedy sketch expressly written and produced for virtual reality. Nadkarni also is director of the Zee TV Desi Comedy Festival, an 11-day Bay Area event featuring South Asian stand-up comedians that kicked off Thursday night.

They’re using the festival to debut “Meditation in Virtual Reality,” a two-minute video that gives the viewer a series of audio and visual cues to look around a living room where a shady yoga teacher is trying to persuade her student to ignore the fact that he’s being ripped off. (They’ve also posted a 360-degree version on Facebook.)

In a standard video, the filmmaker directs the viewer’s attention toward the eventual punch line by framing specific shots and cutting to different scenes. Virtual reality puts the viewer in the middle of the action, providing more emotional ties to the characters than is possible in regular video. But if viewers miss certain audio or visual cues, they might also miss the punch line.

Sarvate, 32, who quit his day job as a Yahoo Mail programmer to devote himself to comedy, wrote the sketch and stars as the unsuspecting student.

“Writing for VR is more like writing a play than writing a movie,” he said. “So that’s an opportunity for a new type of humor.”

However, he said, “We had to figure out a sketch that would work well in VR. We had to rely on choreography to be funny. In traditional comedy, you can just do editing to make stuff funny.”

The immediate reviews from festivalgoers were generally positive.


Competing in the All Stars match is Jimmy 'DeMoN' Ho (left) and Ching 'Ohaiyo' Xin Khoo at the the Dota 2 (Defense of the Ancients) video game tournament at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, Calif., on Sunday, May 10, 2015. E-sports video-game arena coming to Oakland’s Jack London Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell talks about wireless earbuds on Friday, July 29, 2016, in San Francisco, Calif. Logitech bounces back with speakers, earbuds, gamer keyboards A visitor tests the iris scanning security capability on the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone during a Samsung Electronics Co. 'Unpacked' launch event in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. The South Korean company announced the latest iteration of its large-screen smartphone with the 5.7-inch Note 7 that can be unlocked with an iris-scanning camera. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg Iris scanning means just one look unlocks Samsung Galaxy Note7 Jimmy Hess (center) of Vixen VR shows off the program as Vixen's Dan Dilallo (left) discusses the business during a gathering of virtual reality pornography enthusiasts and businesses at Kink.com headquarters in San Francisco, California, on Thursday, July 28, 2016. Porn meets virtual reality, and sparks fly
“I thought it was great, it was hysterical, short, sweet and concise,” said Mithuna Sivaraman of San Francisco. “It adds a whole new dimension. You could totally do situational comedy with VR. Like Gilbert and Sullivan, when you’re doing things like pratfalls.”

Somaia Salimi of Concord said she enjoyed the “invisible perspective” of standing between the guru and student, although looking around the scene did make her a little dizzy. “But that’s a problem with VR in general,” she said.

A few other productions have allowed audiences the option of watching comedy in virtual reality. During the past year, Redwood City virtual reality software company AltspaceVR has produced a series of improvisational and musical livestreamed productions with Jash, an online comedy channel created by comics Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera and Reggie Watts.

In late May, Watts, also the bandleader for “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” did a 40-minute stand-up set that was livestreamed to about 1,200 people in 140 countries, who used virtual reality viewers. Watts was represented onscreen by a computer-generated avatar, with Watts performing his routine in Jash’s Los Angeles studio while wearing a body motion-capture suit.

AltspaceVR plans to host more virtual reality comedy events, said Bruce Wooden, the company’s head of developer and community relations. “At this point, we’re just figuring out the technical ways to make it more accessible and ways to keep it rolling.”

Gartner research analyst Brian Blau, who’s worked in or analyzed the virtual reality industry since the 1980s, said that he hasn’t seen other instances of comedy and VR besides Altspace and “Meditation.”

In an email, Blau said he was not surprised that comics “want to experiment with VR, as it can be a very expressive medium. But it’s also one that artists have yet to master, and storytelling will undergo many changes. The techniques behind telling those stories will need to change to accommodate the new technology with ways of presenting the material.”

Blau, who found the “Meditation” skit only “slightly funny,” said it may be a long time before anyone finds a way to profit from VR comedy.

“It’s still early in the VR market and devices are just now getting into users’ hands,” he said. “Once devices are used more, and content becomes compelling, then certainly, we will see attempts at monetization.”

Nadkarni, 33, who kept his day job at Dolby Laboratories, believes virtual reality could provide a more sustainable income for stand-up comics by giving audiences a way to experience a club show from home.

“Here at a show, you’re laughing out loud and you’re connected to the crowd,” he said. “That sense of energy at a comedy show is not transferable. But through virtual reality, we can probably bridge that gap.” And as stand-up comics have known for eons, Sarvate said, “laughter is contagious.” - SF Chronicle

"Desi Comedy Fest Leaves audiences in Splits!"

The largest South Asian comedy festival in the US will take place from August 11-21, 2016 in 9 Northern California cities (San Francisco, Berkeley, Mill Valley, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Union City, Livermore, Kenwood, and Sacramento) and feature 50 South Asian comedians from 9 countries including the US, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Yes, there’s a comedy scene in Bangladesh.
The festival producers are two Bay Area-based Indian-born comedians, Samson Koletkar and Abhay Nadkarni, who have both worked in tech in the San Francisco Bay Area. The two, who completed a 4-city comedy tour of India this past February, say their vision for the Desi Comedy Fest is to showcase the funniest South Asian comedians and create a unique live comedy experience for the South Asian diaspora. “There are Jewish comedy festivals, Arab comedy festivals, LGBT comedy festivals, so why not Desi?” asks Koletkar, who has toured all over the US and Canada with You’re Funny But You Don’t Look Jewish and the Mahatma Moses Comedy Tour and just returned from a 3-city tour of India at the end of June.
The idea for the festival, which is now in its third year, was born on August 14 and 15, 2013, Pakistani and Indian Independence Days, respectively, when Koletkar produced a couple of comedy shows featuring Pakistani and Indian comedians. The response to the shows was so positive and planted the seed for something larger: The Desi Comedy Fest. Koletkar and fellow Indian comedian, Abhay Nadkarni, talked about the cultural zeitgeist in the South Asian community, where usually introverted South Asians are taking to the stage and openly talking about their cultural quirks while also addressing immigration, race, and other personal experiences of the South Asian diaspora. That discussion spawned the idea for the festival, which they launched in 2014 with 11 San Francisco Bay Area comedians and 4 shows in 4 cities.
“Having performed with a lot of fellow Indian comedians at Indian-themed events, I often heard them talk about how they ‘Indianize’ their performance to cater to what they think the Indian audience wants to hear, that somehow the Indian audience is not sophisticated enough to appreciate their mainstream material, says Koletkar, the world’s only Indian Jewish comedian. “I wanted to provide a platform where I not only prove the comedians wrong but also provide the Desi audience an opportunity to see the diversity and poignancy of jokes that Desi comedians can provide.”
Festival co-founder, Abhay Nadkarni, observes, “Most South Asians in the Bay Area live in suburban areas, and it’s more convenient for us to go to them and do a comedy show in close proximity to where they live. Through the Desi Fest, our audiences can still enjoy quality stand up without having to spend too much time getting stuck in traffic.” Nadkarni adds, “There’s also a lack of diversity these days in entertainment and it creates needless competition amongst comics from South Asian minority groups. Our goal is to make the festival more collegial than competitive and grow the community as a whole.”
Info/Tix: www.desicomedyfest.com
Comedians: www.desicomedyfest.com/comedians-2016
Facebook: www.facebook.com/desicomedyfest
Twitter: @desicomedyfest
Festival trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEO-mTSEOnQ&feature=youtu.be - Huffington Post

"NBC Bay Area"

Bay Area-based Indian-born comedians, Samson Koletkar and Abhay Nadkarni, will present The 3rd Annual Zee TV Desi Comedy Fest, an 11-day stand up comedy extravaganza taking place at comedy clubs and theaters in 9 cities throughout Northern California.
Desi ("THEY-see") is a term for the cultures and products of the Indian subcontinent or South Asia and their diaspora, derived from the Ancient Sanskrit, meaning Land or Country.
The Desi Comedy Fest comedians are stacking up trophies at various competitions including San Francisco International Comedy Competition, Boston Comedy Festival, and The MOTH StorySLAM.

Source: 3rd Annual Zee TV Desi Comedy Fest | NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com/on-air/community/3rd-Annual-Zee-TV-Desi-Comedy-Fest-390228032.html#ixzz4NlvUZTqU
Follow us: @NBCBayArea on Twitter | NBCBayArea on Facebook - NBC Bay Area

"Wringing Laughs Out of Truckers in Boise: The Zee TV Desi Comedy Fest Returns"

Comedy is a way to connect with people who may not share your opinions, says Abhay Nadkarni, who co-founded the festival with Samson Koletkar.

Nadkarni, who works in film production at Dolby Labs, started the festival with Koletkar in 2014 after a conversation about the growth in numbers of South Asian comics, and how most shows only had one or two comedians of color. The first festival had four shows with 11 comics.

Nadkarni loves the response.

“It’s very cool to see people have such a good time at these shows — they laugh and cheer and go wild,” he said. “There’s a sense of connecting to people and a sense of community.”

That’s important for comedians, Nadkarni says.

“It’s a very tough profession, and you’re doing gigs alone,” he said. “This can help build camaraderie. The arts don’t get enough respect. If you create a sense of pride and community, that can change the thinking about arts.” - SF Gate


Still working on that hot first release.



Abhay moved from South-India to South Central Los Angeles for grad school.

Dodging bullets en-route to grad school armed him with plenty of stories and stand up was his only catharsis for combating culture shock. His act is an eclectic mix of his experiences as an immigrant in the US.

He's been on SF Sketchfest and is the co-creator of the Desi Comedy Fest- the largest south asian comedy festival in America. 

He also runs The Setup, voted one of the best underground comedy shows in San Francisco by Thrillist and Timeout

You can follow him on twitter @abhayoye 

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