Houston Matters

Finding Your Voice As An Indian-American Comic in Houston

On March 26, Houston Holi will hold its 9th annual celebration of the Indian Festival of color, symbolizing the victory of good over evil. The event features music, dances and the throwing of color on one’s beloved, just as Lord Krishna did with his lover Radha. The event is hosted by Sunil Thakkar, Houston comedian […]

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On March 26, Houston Holi will hold its 9th annual celebration of the Indian Festival of color, symbolizing the victory of good over evil.

The event features music, dances and the throwing of color on one's beloved, just as Lord Krishna did with his lover Radha. The event is hosted by Sunil Thakkar, Houston comedian and host on Masala Radio.

Thakkar was born in Bombay to humble means and raised by a single mother before getting the opportunity to come to the US and study engineering at the University of Houston.

He describes himself at that time as a stammering, awkward kid who liked to do impersonations of Bollywood stars. And it was those awkward years that became the 2003 movie he wrote and appeared in – and that was shot at UH – called Dude, Where’s the Party? It starred Kal Penn of the Harold and Kumar series and told the story of a geeky student from a small village in India who's trying to adjust to life in America.

But, as Thakkar told Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty in 2014, those years at UH began his transformation into the confident performer whose appearances include the Indian equivalent of Last Comic Standing and who has his own radio show. He says that transformation began at a festival put on by the UH Indian Students Association – despite fears that his mother wouldn't approve.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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