Samson Koletkar
Gig Seeker Pro

Samson Koletkar

San Francisco, California, United States

San Francisco, California, United States
Band Comedy

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


"The world's only Indian Jewish Standup Comedian"

The world's only Indian Jewish Standup Comedian - Kol India


"The world's only Indian Jewish Standup Comedian"

The world's only Indian Jewish Standup Comedian - Kol India


"Techie Samson Koletkar is a comic success"

Full-time techie by day and comedian by night, Samson Koletkar, is often described as the ‘Indian Seinfield’. An Indian Jewish comedian, he is greatly sought after by the affluent Indian community in USA and has recently performed at TIE CON, ITPIO and many other established tech forums. Born in Mumbai, he now calls USA home.

Every Indian we spoke to for this article described Samson (aka Sam)’s humour as intelligent and one which cuts across country, caste and creed. He has also performed at Hewlett Packard, Intel, IntelliSwift, Selectica, IIT (3 times) and the Youth Science Institute.


Techgoss: What are your links to India? Where are your parents from?
Samson Koletkar: I am a proud Bombayite (Mumbaikar for the politically annoying). I lived the early years of my life in Goregaon, and then my family moved to Dongri in South Mumbai. My parents are also Mumbai bred.


Techgoss: What did you study at school at Uni?
Samson Koletkar: I attended the Sir Jacob Sassoon High School, the only functioning Jewish school in Mumbai. After that I studied for Bachelors in Statistics at the Somaiya College. Then I completed my Masters in Computer Software from Somaiya Management.


Techgoss: What has been your computing background?
Samson Koletkar: I worked for NucSoft in Mumbai for 3 years before moving to US. I started in Pro*C/Oracle and then moved into Java-J2EE, and have worked for Banking, Manufacturing, Healthcare and Web verticals. I have worked in Professional Services, Pre-Sales, Post-Sales, Training, Tech Support, and Programmer roles.


Techgoss: It does take a lot of courage to leave the security of a well paid techie job to work on your love of comedy. How much have you lost in terms of tech money for following your love of humour?
Samson Koletkar: More than courage it takes desire and determination. So far I haven't lost any money since I have a full-time day job at a Search Engine firm. But yes, when the day to take the plunge arrives it will require more courage :)


Techgoss: When did you realize that you had a sense of humour?
Samson Koletkar: I was the joke teller at family events. My parents were amazed how I could remember so many jokes. In school, I think it was 9th grade, I wrote and directed "Sangeet Ramayan", and it was a laugh-riot. At my first tech job, I wrote, directed and acted in another comedy play for our annual day celebrations. The play was an overlay of bollywood melodrama from the 70s & 80s on the tech industry, interspersed with bollywood songs reworded with tech jargon. That play made everyone expect a funny twist from me at every company event. Even when I was a little kid, my mom dressed me up as Charlie Chaplin and I learned to rotate a hat on a stick and walk like him, in preparation for a school event. The fact that I refused to put a foot on the stage after repeated name announcements is something my mom would never forget. I also think growing up amongst smart, funny, laughing people (my family) helped a lot in shaping my comedic timing right from early childhood. So, to answer your question more aptly, I don't think there was any particular moment of realization. For me it was a matter of fact all along. I have always liked to make people laugh, even when they are crying. Today I love it when I can make people laugh until they cry.


Techgoss: When did you think your sense of humour could even be a career? Was there a certain point/incident that you realized you had this gift and became comfortable in accepting it?
Samson Koletkar: Yes, when I received my green card. I was already in the art of comedy, after the green card I got into the business of comedy. I had already started getting more paid gigs, and I had been playing some big audiences and big venues, so I decided to pursue it more seriously. "Will non-Indians laugh?" changed to "How do I make everyone laugh?” which led to some serious writing. It felt really good when people from world over would come up to me at the end of shows and say, "I understand what you are talking about. I am glad to hear something new and refreshing, instead of the same old drugs, sex and stereotypes". It also felt great to know that people were now telling my jokes to their friends and families. Today, besides performing, I also produce my own comedy show - Comedy Off Broadway Oakland, which runs every Thursday and Friday nights.


Techgoss: Did you select this niche of Indian Jewish comedian? Is your comedy mainly about Indians?
Samson Koletkar: I am an Indian Jew, so yes I did select that niche, since that's what I can talk about. But that's not all that I talk about, because I am also a human being and a lot of my material is based upon how I, as a human, view the world, react to it, experience it and live it. A lot of my comedy is about Indian-ness, a first generation immigrant-ness, but I also like to address the attitudes and the ills of - Techgoss


"‘Indian Seinfeld’ bringing his shtick to Palo Alto"

When comic Samson Koletkar was growing up in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, he didn't even know what standup comedy was.

"In India, standup is not a popular concept," he said in a recent telephone interview. "It was more mimicking other people's voices and making jokes out of it."

While he did this with his family, he was never very good at it, he said. It was only when he came to the United States seven years ago that he began frequenting comedy clubs and learning about the art of standup.

At first, he saw only white, African American and Latino comics. Then he saw a Chinese American comic.

Finally, four or five years later, he saw a video clip on the Web of an Indian comic. "That's when I thought, if he can do it, maybe I should try my hand, too."

He's since learned there are quite a few more Indians in the comedy world, but as far as he knows, he is the only one who is Jewish.

The San Francisco resident often begins his act with: "I'm an Indian Jew and that makes me a rare species. So if anyone wants a picture with me, it's five bucks."

His performance at the To Life! Festival, incidentally, is free. Koletkar is the opening act on the Jessica Saal Memorial Main Stage, at 11 a.m.

Koletkar described the Jewish community in India as tiny, and said most of his fellow Jews are either Orthodox or not-so religious. He grew up in the not-so religious category.

He is of the Bene Israel tribe, which is believed to have arrived in India 2,000 years ago and is the dominant cultural group among Indian Jews. While at their peak they numbered around 20,000; most have immigrated to Israel. There are only about 5,000 left, mostly in Mumbai.

The 31-year-old Koletkar will marry in November, to an Indian woman he met here. She is Hindu.

They will call their firstborn son Mahatma Moses, he joked.

He adds, "A lot of my friends are asking, how do my parents feel that I'm marrying a non-Jewish girl?"

So, how do they feel about it?

"A Jewish mother in Bombay wants her son to get married to a nice Jewish girl. A Jewish mother in New York wants her son to get married to a Jewish girl. In San Francisco, she wants her son to marry a girl."

On a more serious note, he adds, "My family is all mixed marriages, so they're OK with it."

Koletkar works in the software business, but his schedule is quite full with comedy appearances, which he hopes eventually to be able to do full time. He has toured with a group of Indian comedians who call themselves "Pundits With Punchlines." Among his fellow comics, he is known as "the Indian Seinfeld."

Touring with this group has been an interesting experience, he noted.

The comics in the group at first catered their material to things Indian people would find funny — mostly about relatives and family, relationships and marriage. But they quickly realized that not just Indian people were coming to see them.

"If we find a universal appeal, that's what we are aiming for," he said.

While Koletkar has only a limited repertoire of jokes that have to do with his being Jewish, he does like to make fun of the stereotypes about Indians.

"I recently visited Oregon, and I passed through Redding, which I learned is the meth capital of California," he said, referring to the drug crystal methamphetamine. "I asked them why they do so much meth, and they said 'there's nothing else to do.'

"In India when we have nothing else to do, we do math. Here parents say 'Go to bed and say your prayers.'

"In India, it's 'Go to bed and do your multiplication tables.' - jWeekly


"They call me the Indian Seinfeld"

A software professional with a roaring comedy career, Samson Koletkar in an Indian Jew who knows just what it means to be multicultural and, as his fans will testify, just how funny an identity crisis can be. - Indian Express North American Edition


"They call me the Indian Seinfeld"

A software professional with a roaring comedy career, Samson Koletkar in an Indian Jew who knows just what it means to be multicultural and, as his fans will testify, just how funny an identity crisis can be. - Indian Express North American Edition


Discography

2006 Semi-Finalist at the Rooster T Feathers Amateur Comedy Competition.
2007 Finalist at the Rooster T Feathers Amateur Comedy Competition.
2008 Winner of Halloween Comedy Contest in Pleasanton, CA.
2009 Finalist at Walk The Plank Comedy Competition.
2010 Great Canadian Laugh Off
2010 Winner of Asian American Theater Company Comedy Competition.
Creator of Mahatma Moses Comedy Tour, 17 shows, 10 cities coast-to-coast.
Co-Producer of The Minorities Standup & ImmigraNation.
Producer / Resident Host of Comedy Off Broadway Oakland since 2009.
Featured member of Funatical Comedy Tour, Sultans of Satire, Pundits with Punchlines, Make Chai Not War

Photos

Bio

Samson Koletkar was born in Mumbai and raised Jewish. Growing up in the world's most crowded city, he spent most of his childhood years burning the midnight candles for earning a Masters in Computer Software, thereby fulfilling his parent's dreams. He then moved half-way across the world, to the technology headquarters and a hotbed for emerging comics - San Francisco.

As a first generation immigrant in America, Samson brings a refreshingly new approach to cerebral, witty, thought-provoking, clean humor with a global perspective. Driven by personal trials and tribulations, his subtle satire addresses religious and political hypocrisies, social issues, and day-to-day absurdities of human nature.

He won the 2010 Asian American Theater Company Comedy Competition, has performed at clubs, colleges and corporations in India, Canada and 12 states in U.S. & has been featured on Asian Jewish Life, Indian Express, NBC, CBS and NPR.