Zakir Khan to Vir Das, Indian comedians who went International in 2023

Zakir Khan to Vir Das, Indian comedians who went International in 2023

In a comedic crescendo that echoed globally, Indian comedians left an indelible mark on the international stage in 2023, proving that laughter knows no borders. From Zakir Khan becoming the first Asian comedian to perform at Alberto Hall in London to Kapil Sharma’s global tours, these comedic virtuosos showcased their wit and charisma worldwide. Here’s a year-end round up of all the Indian comedians who went an extra mile this year.

Vir Das, comedians go international in 2023

1. Vir Das

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Comedian-actor Vir Das won the International Emmy for Comedy at the International Emmy Awards 2023, also marking his second International Emmy nomination. Das won the award for his Netflix comedy special, Vir Das: Landing. After winning the award, he said, “This moment is truly surreal – an incredible honour that feels like a dream. Winning an Emmy for Vir Das: Landing in the Comedy Category is not just a milestone for me but for Indian comedy as a whole. I’m excited about the continued exploration of diverse narratives, from Noida to the International Emmys – India gets you there.”

2. Kapil Sharma

Comedian-actor Kapil Sharma took the Indian comic scene to the global level by taking his comedy show to a worldwide streaming platform (Netflix). Sharma’s show that used to telecast on television earlier will now premier on the OTT platform Netflix for his audience worldwide. Moreover, he did his International tours to the United States and Dubai in 2023. In fact, the New Jersey show was filled with more than 6000 people in the audience. Sharma and his team witnessed a full-house on the city tour.

3. Zakir Khan

On October 8, comedian Zakir Khan took center stage at The Royal Albert Hall, London, making history by becoming the first Asian comedian in the world to perform there. With an audience of more than 6000 fans, he received a standing ovation for 20 minutes, after his show. His fans travelled from Dublin, Amsterdam, Birmingham, and Milton Keynes to watch him perform. While talking to us in an interview, he said, “I have only heard about legendary films or great performances getting such long standing ovations. I am still in disbelief that something like this happened to me. Comedy is more like sports, regardless of what happened in the previous match doesn’t matter, you still have to play ball by ball. Ab kal koi show hoga toh fir se shuru karenge.” He even announced a show at New York’s Madison Square Garden in March next year.

4. Urooj Ashfaq

Urooj Ashfaq performed her show Oh No! at Edinburgh’s Assembly George Square and won the best newcomer award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year. After winning the accolade, Ashfaq had a great International shows lineup, including, London — from October 30th to November 4th and in Amsterdam on November 5th. The 28-year-old was the first from India to win the prize in its 40-year history, and the first of South Asian descent to win since 1997.

5. Sumukhi Suresh

In the last seven years, the number of International shows for Indian comics has gone from 10-15 a year to more than 350 a year. Comedian Sumukhi Suresh also performed at London’s Soho Theatre this year, and she even broke into Tamil and Hindi during her gig. “Language is a barrier you can overcome, but a bigger barrier is if your references are too local to Indian or is not relatable to the global crowd,” said Suresh in an interview.

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