Arts

‘American Hasi’ Explores Comedian Tushar Singh’s Journey Through India

Tushar Singh is a New York based comedian.
Tushar Singh is a New York based comedian.
Credit Troy Conrad Photography

Most mothers might be hesitant to go on a comedy tour with their son, but not Tushar Singh’s mom. Singh’s new documentary “American Hasi,”  explores his 35-day comedy tour across multiple cities in India — with his mom.

Singh’s parents immigrated from India to the United States in the 1970’s. He was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Alabama, and learned early on how to balance his two colliding worlds: a Hindu household in a predominately white, country state. Singh attended Georgia Tech for his MBA and engineering degree — that’s also where the interest in comedy began.

“I saw a guy named Jimmy performing at one of the ‘Holy functions’ and he was hosting. I remember seeing him and I was just enamored by this art form,” Singh said about the start of his comedic journey. “I thought ‘if he can do it, then I can do it!’ and I failed miserably.”

After being fired from his fancy advertisement job in New York City, he decided to tell his parents he was going to be a full-time comedian. Singh decided to go to India and perform in local bars, restaurants, and even at a cancer ward.

The documentary really explores the ups and downs of stand-up comedy. Singh learned that what was funny to one audience, didn’t always translate to another. Nonetheless, he always got back up and performed at the next venue.

One of the best pieces of advice I got was from the “Godfather of Indian Comedy,” Russel Peters.

“The advice he gave, which really resonated, was ‘When you go there (India), you’re American. Don’t forget you may look Indian, but to them you’re never going to be Indian’,” Singh said.

To Singh, that was another layer of confusion to accessing his identity. He felt that while growing up in Alabama, he wasn’t viewed as an American, but in India he wasn’t viewed as a native.

“American Hasi” shows the hilarious and sometimes awkward struggles of making a living out of one’s creative passion.

The documentary will have its world premiere at Dad’s Garage on Sunday. As a Mother’s Day special, all mom’s get in free.