Amazon cut a deal with 14 stand-up comedians from India for new specials to expand its global reach with Prime Video. But Netflix has perhaps the biggest comedy star from India already in Vir Das, who just released his first special for the streaming platform, Abroad Understanding. He shot the hour in two locales: A stadium of 11,000 adoring fans in a stadium in New Delhi, and the basement venue of SubCulture in New York City for about 200 expats and strangers.
As I wrote in my review for Decider.com:
It doesn’t declare itself quite as boldly as Chris Rock’s Kill The Messenger triptych did for HBO in 2008, yet Abroad Perspective does show how proficiently Das can translate his observations for fans on either side of the globe.
After all, Das did study theater in Illinois and first try stand-up here before making it big back in Bollywood. While he tells the Delhi crowd that he wants “to show them that Indian comedy is more than just head-bobble jokes and funny accents,” he does have a few accents up his sleeves, including Australian and Bond villain, and roots out the expats in his New York City audience with a bit of Hindi, too. But he also warns the New Yorkers: “I’m not impersonating a hilarious relative.” His Indian accent only serves to provide “perspective, not a punch line.”
Read my full review of Vir Das: Abroad Understanding on Decider.com.
You also can hear Vir Das tell me all about his life and travels from India to Africa to Illinois to India and back again on my podcast, The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First.