One of the keys to good writing is specificity, and comedian Vir Das showed that in spades at his performance at the Lobero Theatre on October 20.
In his new show, Wanted, a comedy special focused primarily on his own life, he tells a story in a way that only he could tell it, about what happened to him after his November 2021 “Two Indias” speech (Vir Das | I COME FROM TWO INDIAS – YouTube) at The Kennedy Center went viral and made headlines around the world.
While the Emmy-nominated Comedian and Actor received loads of praise for the speech, its subject was that India (not unlike many nations) is a country of divisions and contradictions. The Indian government reacted by trying to silence him and take him to prison.
He hilariously describes his flight going home to Mumbai, where the flight attendant offers him Gin and hug because at the end of the flight 300 paparazzi are waiting for him and he expects to be arrested and taken to prison. Charged with sedition and defaming his country at the Kennedy Center, called a terrorist, and worse, Das bemoans the possible end of his comedy career, his preparation for prison (“grow more facial hair and do push-ups”) and how he wound up in the predicament, though ultimately, as he says, “I was saved from politicians by the police.”
He talked a lot about Indian culture, explaining Indian parenting to the non-Indians in the audience — to laugh-out-loud effect. He also riffed on the British coverage of his “I Come From Two Indias” scandal: “Do you know how badly you have to f*ck up for the British to say you’ve divided India on the BBC?” As well as the recently deceased queen: “The only queen I respect has Yas before her name. Yas Queen.”
Some of his funniest bits were aimed at America, bemoaning our “weak ass North American rain. In Mumbai we have Monsoons,” and our obsession with height. “In America your problems globally would be better if you were nicer to short people. The only short guy you’re nice to is Tom Cruise.”
He may have to rethink that last bit. Despite his short stature, his show soared high above typical comedy fare. I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing a lot more Vir Das around here.