Globe Meets Vir Das, India’s Emmy Award-Winning Comedy Sensation

Vir Das is a giant within India’s comedy scene, who has lately amassed a global audience, thanks in a large part to his six hilarious Netflix specials. The 44-year-old Dehradun native is set to amuse crowds when he brings his “Mind Fool” Tour to Bangkok this Sunday, with the show taking place at the KBank Siam Pic-Ganesha Theatre, in Siam Square One mall.

Extolled for his smart and witty humour which often blends observational quips and social commentary, Vir is one of the top comedic voices on the planet, and had the second best ticket sales in India’s crowded live entertainment market in 2023. That same year, he won the Best Comedy Series International Emmy for the hit Netflix special, “Vir Das: Landing”.

Globe had the pleasure to interview Vir in the run up to his Bangkok show about amusing cultural mix-ups while performing around the world, his way of overcoming nerves before gigs, and how he has been handling the challenges that come with his fast-paced career.

Hi Vir! You first got into stand-up comedy after it was part of a thesis when you studied at Knox University in the US, around 20 years ago. How do you think your approach to humour and comedy has evolved since the early days when you first got a taste for it?

I think it’s the journey, from not knowing who you are to knowing who you are. As you get deeper into stand-up and have been doing it for a while, maybe you get funnier or maybe you don’t, but you definitely become more yourself! So, I think you start from writing what you think the world wants to hear, and you eventually reach the point where you just say, “Ah, Screw it! – I’m going to talk about whatever I want.” You talk about who you are, and hopefully, there will be enough people out there who share the same feelings as you do.

Congratulations on winning the International Emmy Award for “Vir Das: Landing”. How did you feel getting this accolade, and is it beneficial to the Indian comedy landscape?

Thank you! For the Indian comedy scene, I am hoping that this win for “Landing” will open many doors for other submissions, and for other comedians to take advantage of a terrific opportunity. On a personal level, I think it was a validation for people who have stuck with me for such a long time, including the members of my audience who have been following my career for years now. But beyond this, I do not think it affects my comedy career at all. If you walk on to the stage holding an Emmy your life is bound to be a little more difficult.

Given your impressive background in both Bollywood and stand-up comedy, could you share how you manage the challenges of acting in such a massive industry, whilst also keeping up with the demands of touring for stand-up performances across the world?

I believe they’re both good. Both sides of your brain are being used. It’s very nice to be at the bottom of Bollywood and simultaneously near the top of stand-up comedy. Bollywood is very collaborative, and many people who are in your corner are there to make you look good, however stand-up comedy is agonizingly solo and the only person in your corner is you. You can know if you did well or not with comedy in seconds, while in Bollywood, you have to wait eight months to find out if you messed up or not, or if you made it. It is really useful in my opinion to train both sides of your brain if you have the opportunity to do so.

You have performed on the stage countless times. With your vast experience, are there things which surprise you, or make you nervous, before you perform a gig, and how do you prepare yourself both mentally and physically to cope with these intense feelings?

For me, if I didn’t feel like wanting to throw up before any of the shows, it won’t be a good night. I get so agitated before every single show, for any crowd, any size, anywhere in the world. I try to focus myself by thinking not about what I went through to get there, instead on what the audience went through to get there. I realise that they have a vast number of choices with many places to spend their incomes. They got Ubers, babysitters, and some even flew from different cities and spent on hotels to come see you. Many of them being college kids who don’t have money, and are spending the little they have. I think it’s kind of humbling and makes you understand that it is about them, and I have to put them first.

World travel has exposed you to a fascinating variety of cultures! Can you tell us about any funny misunderstandings or cultural mix-ups you have experienced while abroad?

Well, I’m going to perform in Tokyo for the first time in about a week, and I feel so nervous because I have only ever done one show with a Japanese crowd who spoke little English. I think they were told it was theater show instead of stand-up, so they just didn’t laugh for 45 minutes because they were being polite, and I thought I was bombing. So, I would like some redemption in Japan for a change, in front of a Japanese crowd. You could say that I’m very much looking forward to that! They are a very tough crowd to perform in front of.

Looking back at your career, are there moments or jokes you wish you could “edit” out of your comedy history? If so, what is the story behind why you’d like to remove them?

Pretty much every joke in my past I wish I could edit out of my comedy history. As soon as I’m done with a joke and it’s out on Netflix or wherever, I immediately hate it! I am my own critic. I do that constantly, and I am always competing with what I have previously done. It is the unfortunate reality of being me. I have low self-esteem. Maybe imposter syndrome.

Vir Das will perform “Mind Fool” at KBank Siam Pic-Ganesha Theatre this Sunday, May 19. Visit: or call: 02-262-3838 to see the funnyman live in Bangkok!