Hari Kondabolu
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Hari Kondabolu
Hari Kondabolu
Hari Kondabolu.png
Kondabolu in 2016
Birth nameHari Karthikeya Kondabolu
Born (1982-10-21) October 21, 1982 (age 36)
New York City, U.S.
MediumStand-up, film, podcasts
Alma mater
Years active2000s-present
Relative(s)Ashok Kondabolu (brother)

Hari Karthikeya Kondabolu[1] (Telugu: ; born 1982)[2] is an American stand-up comic, actor, filmmaker, and podcast host. His comedy covers subjects such as race, identity, inequality, and the LGBT community. He was a writer for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.

Early life and family

Kondabolu was born in the Flushing neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens in 1982, to Uma and Ravi Kondabolu,[2] who had immigrated from the city of Tenali in the Coastal Andhra region of South India.[3][4] Both parents were previously physicians in India, and became the heads of New York area medical labs. Soon after Ravi Kondabolu had immigrated to the United States in 1978,[5] while in small town Louisiana he was approached by a local who asked, "Excuse me, sir, are you a Chinese?"[6]

Kondabolu attended public schools in Queens: PS 69 in Jackson Heights, PS 115 in Floral Park, MS 172 in Floral Park,[7][8] and Townsend Harris High School in Flushing, where he graduated in 2000.

Kondabolu is the older brother of Ashok, who is a former member of the group Das Racist.


Kondabolu continued performing standup when he attended Bowdoin College; he called his years at Bowdoin "incredibly formative"[9] and continues to spend part of every year in Maine.[10] He studied at Wesleyan University during his third year, focusing on identity and race, globalization, and "the impact of popular culture on society".[11]

Although his stand-up comedy career was gaining traction in 2007, he was accepted to the Masters in Human Rights program at the London School of Economics in 2007, and thus took a hiatus year from stand-up to earn his MSc.[12][13][14]

Stand-up comedy

While in Seattle, Kondabolu began participating in its alternative comedy scene.[3][15] His act included "a bit where I used to read the U.S. citizenship application onstage".[16] In 2006, Kondabolu performed at the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival in Seattle, which he credits as his "big break", as a booker for HBO's Comedy Festival saw his name on the Bumbershoot website.[17] Kondabolu also filmed "Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives" in Seattle and released the special on Netflix in 2018.[18][19][20]

Kondabolu on stage in 2017

Kondabolu has since made several television appearances as a stand-up comic. He made his first notable television appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2007, when he also began to appear in a variety of national comedy festivals, including the 2007 HBO US Comedy Arts Festival.[21] In October 2012, he performed stand-up on an episode of Conan and, in March 2014, he performed stand-up on The Late Show with David Letterman. He has made several appearances on Comedy Central, including a 2008 episode of Live at Gotham,[22] three episodes of John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show in 2010 and 2012,[23][24][25] and most prominently, his own episode of Comedy Central Presents which aired on February 11, 2011.[26][27] He has also appeared a number of times on British television, including on Russell Howard's Good News in 2011 and 8 out of 10 Cats in 2012. In 2012, he had a recurring sketch as part of BBC Three's Live at the Electric hosted by Russell Kane.[28] He has also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival[29] and was a featured comedian for the US State Department-sponsored "Make Chai Not War" comedy showcase in India in 2012.[30][31]

From 2012 to 2013, he was on the writing staff for the FX comedy series Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, produced by Chris Rock and hosted by W. Kamau Bell, on which he often appeared as a correspondent.

His first stand-up comedy album, Waiting for 2042, was released in March 2014 on Kill Rock Stars.[32]

His second comedy album, Mainstream American Comic, was released on July 22, 2016 on Kill Rock Stars.[33][34] It debuted at #1 on the iTunes US comedy charts[35] and at #2 on the Billboard comedy charts.[36]

In 2018, he speaks about his experience of teaching a workshop at the Columbia River Correctional Institute Comedy School in North Portland as a guest on Live Wire! Radio.[37]


Kondabolu's humor often centers on social issues such as poverty, racism, and a rejection of Indian stereotypes seen in media. He describes writing a July 2003 joke, which focused on the British Raj taking the Koh-i-Noor diamond from India, as "the first time I thought, 'Okay, this is who I actually am. This is what I actually believe.'"[38]

Podcast host

He and his younger brother Ashok performed in a monthly mostly improvised talk show together in New York City called Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project. Past guests have included Ajay Naidu, Aasif Mandvi, Bell, Leo Allen, Victor Vazquez (Kool AD of Das Racist), Charles Mudede and Blue Scholars. In January 2013, they started Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Podcast.[39] After a hiatus from 2015 onwards, the podcast debuted again as the Kondabolu Brothers Podcast in 2018 on the Earwolf label.[40][41]

He is a co-host of the podcast Politically Re-Active with Bell, which debuted in June 2016.[42] He also debuted as a rotating host on The Bugle alongside Andy Zaltzman in the fall of 2016 after the departure of John Oliver.[43][44]

Acting and film

Kondabolu wrote and starred in Zia Mohajerjasbi's 2007 short film Manoj,[45] which has played in comedy and film festivals around the world, including the Just for Laughs Festivals in Montreal and Chicago, and which mocks comedians who broadly exploit their ethnic backgrounds for their material.[46] In Manoj , Kondabolu portrays both Manoj, a fictional Indian immigrant comic who plays to white audiences by repeating their stereotypes of South Asians, and an Indian-American who is critical of Manoj's approach.

Kondabolu portrayed "Crossword Businessman" in the 2009 film All About Steve,[47] a movie he mocks in Mainstream American Comic.[48] He also played a supporting role in the 2016 film Five Nights in Maine,[49] although none of his scenes were included in the final 75-minute cut of the film.[50][51] Also in 2016, he appeared as a fictionalized version of himself in the Comedy Central web series White Flight.[52]

Kondabolu is the star, creator, and executive director of The Problem with Apu, a documentary about Apu from The Simpsons that premiered in November 2017 on TruTV.[53][54] The film contextualizes Apu within minstrelsy and other tropes in American pop culture history that have historically stereotyped minorities.[55][56]

Personal life

Kondabolu is a practicing Hindu, albeit one who has eaten beef, who speaks Telugu in addition to his native English,[16] and is a fan of baseball and indie rock.[11] As a relatively dark-skinned South Indian and a Scheduled Caste (SC) person, he faced mild casteism and colourism in his twenties while dating a Brahmin Gujarati American woman.[57] He resides in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.[3]


  • Waiting for 2042 (2014)
  • Mainstream American Comic (2016)
  • The Best (Worst) Of The Bugle With Andy (Redacted) Zaltzman And Guest(s) (2017)
  • Hari Kondabolu's New Material Night: Volume 1 (recorded 2012, released 2017)[58]


  1. ^ Beem, Edgar Allen (Summer 2011). "Stand Up With a Social Conscience" (PDF). Bowdoin. 82 (2). Maine: Bowdoin College. p. 39. Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b Beem, p. 38
  3. ^ a b c "Bklynr | Hari Kondabolu Walks Into a Bar". bklynr.com. Retrieved .
  4. ^ Sharma, Neha (2012-04-20). "The Small Town South Indian Boys Of New York". Rolling Stone India. Retrieved .
  5. ^ Bertrand, Donald (1998-10-05). "Metro People in Profile: Ravi Kumar Kondabolu, Chief Technologist, New York Flushing Hospital". New York Daily News. p. 4 – via Proquest. Then came word in 1992 that the Indian government planned to use the Wyra acreage for other purposes. "My brother and I rushed back to India and offered our own money to start the college," he said. In 1994, Kondabolu Venkaiaah Choudary Memorial began in rented quarters with only 28 students. ... Ravi, who lives in Jamaica Estates, said he works long hours as chief technologist in the cardiology department of New York Flushing Hospital in an effort to send at least $15,000 annually back to India to support the college.
  6. ^ "People, Language And Controversy In The Headlines". NPR.org. All Things Considered. National Public Radio. 2014-02-08. Retrieved .
  7. ^ Kondabolu, Hari (2015-10-01). "Noteworthy graduates: Hari Kondabolu, comedian". United Federation of Teachers. New York Teacher. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "WELCOME - Irwin Altman Middle School 172 - Q172 - New York City Department of Education". schools.nyc.gov. Retrieved .
  9. ^ O'Donnell, Matt (2015-07-06). "Leaving the 'Late Show'". community.bowdoin.edu. Bowdoin News. Retrieved .
  10. ^ Hari Kondabolu Archived 2012-03-20 at the Wayback Machine. SFstandup.com, 15 October 2008. By Nato Green. Retrieved 27 Dec. 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Interning with Senators". News India - Times. 2003-07-25. p. 21 – via Proquest.
  12. ^ "Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU | Hari Kondabolu (2014-2015)". www.nyu-apastudies.org. Retrieved .
  13. ^ "Degrees Awarded in Autumn 2008" (PDF). LSE Digest. The London School of Economics and Political Science: 76. 1 August 2007 - 31 July 2008. Retrieved . MSc in Human Rights: ... Merit ... Hari Karthikeya Kondabolu
  14. ^ Blair, Elizabeth (July 18, 2013). "Comedian Hari Kondabolu On Diversity, Race And Burger King". NPR.
  15. ^ "Bio -- Hari Kondabolu". www.harikondabolu.com. Retrieved .
  16. ^ a b Gross, Terry (2014-04-21). "For Comic Hari Kondabolu, Explaining The Joke IS The Joke". National Public Radio. Fresh Air. Retrieved .
  17. ^ Chitnis, Deepak (2014-03-04). "Growing up I'd tell people, even other Indians, that I was Telugu and they would have no idea what that meant: Hari Kondabolu". The American Bazaar. Retrieved .
  18. ^ "In Warn Your Relatives, Hari Kondabolu Steps into the Spotlight and Nails It". pastemagazine.com. Retrieved .
  19. ^ Adams, Erik. "Hari Kondabolu gives you more to think about in Warn Your Relatives". TV Club. Retrieved .
  20. ^ Upadhyaya, Kayla Kumari. "Warn Your Relatives: Hari Kondabolu's new special is best when it's at its simplest". The A.V. Club. Retrieved .
  21. ^ Scanlon, T. "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Human Rights Master's Degree", Seattle Times, July 24, 2007
  22. ^ "Live at Gotham". TVGuide.com. Retrieved .
  23. ^ "John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show: Season 1, Episode 2". TVGuide.com. Retrieved .
  24. ^ "John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show: Season 3, Episode 1". TVGuide.com. Retrieved .
  25. ^ "John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show: Season 3, Episode 5". TVGuide.com. Retrieved .
  26. ^ Hari Kondabolu, Internet Movie Database, 2011-02-11, retrieved
  27. ^ "'COMEDY CENTRAL Presents' is Back! Featuring Today's Best and Brightest Stand-Up Talent, the 15th Season Premieres Friday, January 21 at 11:00 p.m." news.sys-con.com. PR Newswire. 2010-12-15. Retrieved . Fresh new episodes from this season will include stand-up performances from Jack Whitehall, Al Jackson, Chelsea Peretti, Chris D'Elia, Hari Kondabolu, Jay Larson, Jessi Klein, Kyle Kinane, Louis Katz, Matt Fulchiron, Mike Vecchione, Natasha Leggero, Nate Bargatze and Sheng Wang.
  28. ^ "Hari Kondabolu". BBC.
  29. ^ Hari Kondabolu (October 17, 2011). "Das Racist Cover Story: These Colors Don't Run". Spin. Retrieved .
  30. ^ "State Department Sends 'Chai' Comedy Tour To India". NPR.org. Retrieved .
  31. ^ "American Center Kolkata Bulletin" (PDF). The US State Department. The American Center, Kolkata, India. January 2012. Retrieved .
  32. ^ "Comedy Listings for March 14-20". The New York Times. March 13, 2014.
  33. ^ "Hari Kondabolu's New Album 'Mainstream American Comic' Is Out Next Month". 2016-06-06. Retrieved .
  34. ^ Marah Eakin (June 6, 2016). "Exclusive: Hari Kondabolu announces new record, premieres first track". The A.V. Club. Retrieved .
  35. ^ "Hari Kondabolu on Twitter". Retrieved .
  36. ^ "Comedy Albums: Top Stand-up Comedy Chart". Billboard. August 22, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-08-22. Retrieved .
  37. ^ ""Fresh Starts" with Gary Shteyngart, Hari Kondabolu, Maxine McCormick, and Lenore | Live Wire Radio". www.livewireradio.org. Retrieved .
  38. ^ Desai, Manan (2013-03-12). "An Interview with Hari Kondabolu". Tides Magazine. South Asian American Digital Archive. Retrieved .
  39. ^ "Kondabolu Brothers". www.kondabolubrothers.com. Retrieved .
  40. ^ Kondabolu, Hari (4 Mar 2018). "The Kondabolu Brothers Podcast debuts THIS THURSDAY MARCH 8TH on @earwolf". @harikondabolu. Retrieved .
  41. ^ "Kondabolu Brothers podcast on Earwolf". www.earwolf.com. Retrieved .
  42. ^ "Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell & Hari Kondabolu". www.stitcher.com. Archived from the original on 2016-08-08. Retrieved .
  43. ^ "Hari Kondabolu on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved .
  44. ^ "VIB - Very Important Bugle". Soundcloud. The Bugle podcast. Retrieved .
  45. ^ Mohajerjasbi, Zia (2008-09-24). "MANOJ". Vimeo. Retrieved .
  46. ^ "MANOJ KRISHNAMURTHY IS DEAD -- Hari Kondabolu". www.harikondabolu.com. Retrieved .
  47. ^ "All About Steve - Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved .
  48. ^ "A Special Blend of South Asian Humor". Mainstream American Comic (Comedy album). Kill Rock Stars. 2016-07-22.
  49. ^ "Five Nights in Maine (2016)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved .
  50. ^ Kruse, Andy. "Episode #31: Hari Kondabolu". Retrieved .
  51. ^ "Five Nights In Maine looks at grief close up". 2016-08-02. Retrieved .
  52. ^ "Matt Braunger launches new webseries "White Flight" and tour dates - The Laugh Button". The Laugh Button. Retrieved .
  53. ^ "The Problem with Apu - Credits - truTV.com". truTV. Archived from the original on 2017-10-26. Retrieved .
  54. ^ "The Problem With Apu". DOC NYC. Retrieved .
  55. ^ Routhier, Ray (2016-08-01). "Comedian Hari Kondabolu, a Bowdoin College grad, in Portland on Friday". Maine Today. Retrieved .
  56. ^ Lisa de Moraes (May 10, 2016). "TruTV Greenlights Three New Series & Six Pilots; 'Fameless', 'Hack My Life' Renewed". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved .
  57. ^ Kondabolu (2010-11-02), Hari Kondabolu on "Unfair Skin", WORLDCompass, WORLD CHANNEL, retrieved
  58. ^ "Hari Kondabolu's New Material Night Volume 1, by Hari Kondabolu". Hari Kondabolu. Retrieved .

External links

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