Arts, Culture & Media

This comedian mixes humor with human rights — but insists you pronounce his name right

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Credit:

Courtesy of Hari Kondabolu

Comedian Hari Kondabolu recently released his first comedy album "Waiting for 2042," referring to the year the US Census estimates the country will be a majority-minority nation.

Comedian Hari Kondabolu isn't your standard, knee-slapping jokesman.

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The 31-year-old New Yorker has always been doing some form of stand up or another, but after college he worked as an immigrant rights organizer in Seattle, and later got his master's degree in human rights at London School of Economics.

And his comedy stems from some serious issues: Racism, anti-immigrant sentiments, poverty--topics that aren't easy to laugh at, but Kondabolu weaves in the social justice smoothly.

"Certainly being interested in social justice issues and human rights issues - that was a big thing I wrote about in my stand-up, even before I started working as an immigrant rights organizer," Kondabolu says. "But when I became an organizer, certainly that influenced my point of view. And I was with people who were involved in a lot of political struggles. And definitely that fed into the material and it reflects a certain rage in trying to find something funny in really uncomfortable topics and seeing other people's pain and trying to channel it into something positive."

On his first comedy album, "Waiting for 2042," Kondabolu riffs on the US Census' estimate that by 2042, the country will become a minority-majority nation.

"On the album I talk about how it's kind of a ridiculous thing that the media is talking about this year, because race is a construct. All these things that we are talking about are things we shouldn't be fearing to begin with," he says. 

"Also, if we are going to play with this construct, then white people will be 49 percent [by 2042] but the other 51 percent are going to be people of color. And then are we assuming that all those people of color are the same? And then are we also assuming all white people are the same?"

Recently, Kondabolu posted on his social media accounts an audio file of him saying his name, slowly and clearly. He wrote, "My career goal is to make people say my name right."

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