Laughter good diplomacy for India

Comics aim to bridge sectarian divide in India in State Department outreach

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There’s also the possibility of offending the crowd. Mr. Styal and Mr. Usman take pride in a “clean” brand of comedy, free of swear words and shock vulgarity, but Mr. Kondabolu is known to be edgier.

Mr. Kondabolu, who holds a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, noted how every comedy act uses trial and error.

India is one of the most diverse places in the world,” he said. “I really don’t know what to expect, and that is both scary and very exciting for a performer.”

Mr. Satyal said he draws inspiration from his childhood in Ohio, where his mother made him write letters to his grandfather in India.

“I didn’t know what to write,” he said, adding that it wasn’t until he met his grandfather that he saw how much they had in common despite living on opposite sides of the world.

He hopes people leave the show “with a better understanding of someone like them growing up on the other side of the planet.”

“It’s not like we’re looking up, or looking down, but looking across at each other,” he said.

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About the Author
Guy Taylor

Guy Taylor

Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.

His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.

Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...

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