By Anthony Capps
Kumail Nanjiani grew up in Pakistan, but came to the United States for college. Wanting to live in the farmlands and attend a good liberal arts school, he went to Grinnell College — he studied computer science and philosophy.
In his senior year of college, he attended a stand-up comedy show in Grinnell, and he had interest in it. He spent the next few months working on an act that he thought went over quite well.
“I thought I could do Letterman the next week,” Nanjiani said. “Of course, I was wrong.”
Nowadays, Nanjiani is a stand-up comedian in New York City. For Veishea, he will perform on Saturday, April 17, as part of the Bonnaroo College Comedy Tour. The group also includes comedian, actor and cartoonist Pete Holmes and comedian Amy Schumer.
Nanjiani said the act covers a variety of topics that will make it appeal to students such as video games, movies and college life.
He said Schumer’s act is more edgy, Holmes’ act is more about observation and his is stories of his experiences.
“The hardest thing to do is creating unique stories,” Nanjiani said. “Making humor that are about observations is difficult for creating one-of-a-kind jokes.”
After graduation, when he first began stand-up in Chicago, Nanjiani said his act used to be based on observations, but it was all over the place in topics and creating original content was not always easy.
He has since left Chicago for New York where he has been featured in the Hollywood Reporter’s “10 Rising Comedy Talentss,” and appeared on “The Colbert Report” as Homer, the Greek suspected terrorist Colbert keeps in a prison under his desk.
Holmes has appeared on television programs such as VH1’s “Best Week Ever,” Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” and the Motherload “Honesty” series. He has had cartoons appear in The New Yorker and is a warm-up comedian for “The Daily Show.”
Bonnaroo College Comedy Tour
When: 11 p.m. Saturday
Where: Great Hall, Memorial Union