Tapan Trivedi Indian Comedian
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Tapan Trivedi Indian Comedian

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"Glumness doesn't have a prayer at the Religion-themed Coexist Comedy show"

Comedians of different faiths gather under one banner to confront conflicts while also providing comic relief.

So a Christian, a Hindu, A Muslim, a Buddish and a Jew walk into a bar... Now, it's not the beginning of a joke,it's the beginning of a show all about telling jokes, and pointedly religious jokes at that.
Tonight, the Coexist Comedy show comes to the Hollywood Improv, the last stop in a successful West Coast tour. Comedians chosen for the religious heritage and humor have played to big houses from San Diego to Vancouver, Canada. The point is not to smooth over religious differences but to confront the conflicts that dominate daily healines in the Middle East and elsewhere with a bit of comic relief.

"We don't water down out beliefs," said Tapan Trivedi, co-founder of Coexist and resident Hindu. "We try not to make amends. However, we can still coexist."

Trivedi and Keith Lowell Jensen, an atheist, started the show a year and a half ago when the pair met backstage at a comedy club and realized they had more in common than......
Less than two years after their first gig in Sacramento basement theater, Coexist is booking the West Coast's biggest clubs.
..... - LA Times

"Best Hindu Humorist"

Tapan Trivedi
For a man who never saw an observational stand-up comic until he moved to America at age 22, Indian comedian Tapan Trivedi has picked up the art with remarkable speed. Trivedi hasn’t met an issue that's too taboo to joke about, whether it’s his frustration at being mistaken for a Muslim on his birthday (which happens to be September 11), his cultural associations with 7-Eleven convenience stores, or finding pride in the appellation "sand nigger." His fearless style and unique voice won him second place in this year’s San Jose Improv Comedy Competition and a coveted spot in the upcoming San Francisco Comedy Competition. Currently headlining as "the Hindu" on the Coexist? Comedy Tour he co-founded with atheist comedian Keith Lowell Jensen, Trivedi will travel the country under the guidance of infinite deities—and Google Maps. - Sacramento News and Review

"He Puts a smile on America's face"

He puts a smile on America’s face
Hiral Dholakia-Dave

He landed in the US to do his MBA “like all Gujarati boys do.” But, soon found teaching ‘database’ post his masters in information systems “too boring.” He decided to get into something, which he realised was his true calling – standup comedy.

Tapan Trivedi — a qualified civil engineer as well - is producer of his show ‘Pundits with Punchlines,’ which opened to rave reviews among the desi crowd in the Bay area recently, is a regular at most 2007 comedy festivals held across the country, has his calendar full with his shows lined up and is keeping his fingers crossed for a part in a TV sitcom.

Born and raised in Maninagar area of Ahmedabad and a graduate from Vallabh Vidyanagar, Trivedi had a natural inclination for comedy. “I was always a class clown. ‘What did you do this time’ was my teachers’ common refrain,” he says. Students, whom he taught in Houston, took him to the celebrated Houston Laff Stop open mike night and put him up stage from where he got a chance to break into the comedy world. Though tehre weren’t many Indians around at that time, he kept at it till he stood a finalist in the Funniest Person in Houston Competition, missing the top three by only a point. Quiet an achievement for a non-American who ventured into the field just that year.

Trivedi moved to Sacramento, California soon and started touring around. Of course, proving himself wasn’t a cakewalk whether it was entertaining the discerning desi audience or “the forever willing to laugh at anything that is funny” American crowd.

“Desis are demanding while the Americans wouldn’t believe you unless they see your performing. Most likely you would be rejected as ‘oh, an Indian comic’ without even giving you a chance to prove,” he says, very matter-of-fact. The reason he created his own show Pundits with Punchlines. “We talk about stuff that matters to us. We are not like any other community around. We have our unique identity,” he says.

Breaking into the mainstream too was a challenge enough with comedy clubs not willing to have an Indian comic on board. “Usually the clubs try to book an opener, a feature and headliner, who is the star of the show. No headliner was open to have an Indian comic but now they know that we are so unique, we can go with anybody,” he says.

A very keen observation of American life comes handy to Trivedi, who’s busy equipping himself to meet the challenges of his current growth phase. “The skill lies in how your joke makes people laugh. I make it a point to write new set of jokes everyday,” he says. Ask him if he’s keen on taking up ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’ and he says, “I have seen all the final and semi-final episodes. The comedy presented there is very different from what we do here. Ours is very observational. I will need time to write.”
- Times of India

"A Muslim, a Hindu and an atheist walk into a club ..."

Tissa Hami, a Muslim born in Iran, and Tapan Trivedi, a Hindu born in India, have a lot in common. Both belong to religions that are little understood in much of America, where they have chosen to make their home.

And both want to make you laugh with – not at – them.

They are two-fifths of the Sacramento-based Coexist? Comedy Tour that will open a four-weekend stand at the Geery Theater tonight. The other comics are John Ross, a Christian; Sammy Obeid, a Buddhist; and Keith Lowell Jensen, an atheist.

"When I started, when I got very short sets in clubs with mostly male stand-up comics, it was very much about being a Muslim and being a Muslim woman," Hami said recently in a telephone interview from her home in San Francisco. "I'll really never not be the female Muslim comedian on a show," she said.

Hami had worked on Wall Street in New York City and in the admissions office at Harvard University in Boston before she became a stand-up comic about six years ago – after 9/11. "Obviously, that was a big event for all of us, but as a Middle Eastern person, it was especially difficult. I felt it from various levels, as an American whose country had been attacked, as a person from the Middle East where the attack originated, and as an American of Middle Eastern descent who was somehow suddenly suspicious.

"It remided me of when I was a kid and the Iranian hostage crisis happened, and all the hatred toward people of my background.

"Then (after 9/11), watching all the Middle Eastern 'experts' on TV, who were all these white guys and an occasional white woman, I wanted to make my voice heard."

Initially, Hami said, "I was terrified. A year after 9/11? Yes, terrified. One, I was terrified the way any new comedian would be terrified, to try to go onstage and make a roomful of strangers laugh. On top of that, I was doing it as a veiled Muslim woman, in the city where 9/11 had happened. I didn't know if (the audience) would boo me, 'stone' me with beer bottles – I didn't know what would happen."

That's right, Hami went on stage veiled. "My concept originally was to do the veiled woman as a character and then to take the veil off and do the rest of it as me, the stand-up comic. But I wasn't an actor and I couldn't pull it off. So, I started out being veiled and half-way through, I'd unveil and continue.

"I couldn't do that in my home country. When I was in Iran, I had to be veiled – but here I can. I want to show that I'm the same person with or without the veil on."

Hami, 35, appeared in a PBS documentary, "Stand Up: Muslim American Comedians Come of Age," and recently was invited to appear on "The View" on ABC-TV, where she was interviewed by co-hosts Joy Behar and Sherri Shepherd. (The segment can be seen on YouTube. There's a link from www.coexistcomedy.com to the tape.) Despite her experience onstage, Hami said she was "pretty nervous" beforehand. "This was live and this was it," she said. "If I screwed something up or was just an idiot, that's what people would forever know me as."

Early in her career, Hami appeared on an all-ages show with half-a-dozen other comics (male and female) at a Starbuck's in suburban Boston – not every gig is a big gig. Afterward, she said, "A boy, about 7 or 8, came up and stuck out his hand and said, 'You were the best comedian on the show.' He didn't say I was the best woman comedian on the show or the best ethnic comedian on the show, just the best comedian.

"That's the reaction I want."

Trivedi, 31, was co-founder of the Coexist? company, along with Sacramentan Jensen. The idea came to them one night, backstage at a comedy club.

"We were laughing that here we were, an atheist and a Hindu, about to go onstage before a roomful of Christians and tell jokes," Jensen said. "It hit us what a cool thing that actually was."

Trivedi recently taped an episode of the Showtime cable series "Comedy Slam," which is hosted by comic Russell Peters. Peters is an ethnic Indian who was born in Toronto and is a major stand-up star in much of the world.

"He is probably the most famous comic that you have never heard of," Trivedi said in a recent telephone interview. "He talks about all the minorities that nobody else talks about, and he reaches audiences that haven't had a comic of their own. Thanks to him, when you say, 'I'm an Indian comedian,' they don't ask, as they used to, 'What do you bring to the stage besides the accent?' "

Trivedi also credits Peters with opening opportunities for Indian comedians, including corporate shows and private performances, such as at weddings. "Indian people mostly spend money on events like a major birthday party or a wedding," Trivedi said. "Usually, it's a kind of tight-fisted community, except when it comes to these special events."

Peters helped make it possible for comics like Trivedi to make remarks like that. He also helped make it possible to talk about similarities and differences among cultures. Differenc - The Sacramento Bee


You might be Indian if......
1. You have tried to bargain at Wal*Mart.
2. You have to borrow luggage to go out of the U.S.
3.Your parents like that you're 30 & still live at home.



Tapan Trivedi grew up in India . When he was 22 he came to America . Besides blondes and redheads he discovered Standup Comedy. Pushed to the stage on the insistence of his friends he went up on stage at the celebrated Houston Laff Stop open mike where he killed his first time on stage.

Addicted to laughter he kept plugging on till he was a Finalist in the Funniest Person in Houston Competition. Since then he has performed with comedians like Dave Attell,Tom Rhodes, Bobby Slayton,Debbie Gutierrez,John Witherspoon,Russell Peters, Michael Pace,Ralphie Mae and Lahna Turner.

Constantly on the road winning audiences with his brilliant writing and hilarious observations of life in the USA as an East Indian immigrant , he still finds time for television commercials, radio performances and brief movie performances. He recently wrapped up a movie for the Howard Stern Film Festival.

Sacramento News and Review calls him one of the best comedians in California - period and Jeffrey Callison of NPR says 'This cat made me laugh out more than ANY guest ever has! 'Tapan has since gained notoriety by his racial observations and his ultra geeky one liners and his catch phrase - 'I can't understand America ' is gaining popularity by the day!!

Hollywood is taking notice of this fantastic comedian.He recently taped the Comedy Slam for Showtime Networks.