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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Get Ready to Laugh at Some Minorities! (Don't Worry, They Want You to)

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 1:30 PM

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"It is rather sad and frustrating that anyone has to identify oneself as a minority," comedian and producer of Minorities Stand Up, Samson Koletkar, admits. "In the global scheme of things, we are all a minority in some way or another. There are over 1.2 billion Indians and 1.4 billion Chinese in the world, which automatically makes Caucasians a minority. If you are a college graduate, you are a minority. If you love a particular band, you are a minority."

"I wish I could just come up and say, 'Hi my name is Samson and I am a comedian' but that doesn't seem to satisfy others. They need to know more specifics about my past, like which part of the world I am from, and what beliefs I was raised with, so they can put me in a box and make their own assumptions about me."


A clip from Samson Koletkar's "Mahatma Moses Comedy Tour" recorded on Aug 11, 2010 at Rooster T Feathers Comedy Club in Sunnyvale, California.

Koletkar, self-proclaimed as the world's only Indian Jewish stand-up comedian, pulls himself and other Bay Area comedians out of their boxes for The Minorities Stand Up tour. Every month, a new lineup of comics blast away at various stereotypes that portray minorities as goofballs in the mainstream media and entertainment. They take shots at the absurdities that they experience in America while not shying away from highlighting the absurdities of their own cultures.

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Tonight Marilyn Pittman and Josef Anolin join Koletkar at Stage Werx. Anoliln, a Bay Area native, brings jokes that offer the audience a fresh perspective on hot button issues like race, class, and gender. Pittman was one of the first openly gay comics in the country -- "waaay before it was cool."

"Mainstream comedy clubs wouldn't book you if you were 'out,'" Pittman says of her early days performing, back in the late '80s. "Most of us were confined to performing for gay audiences only ... Now it's mostly ok to be 'out' onstage, but only in the big cites most likely. So I'm looking forward to being onstage with Samson and the Minorities show because I fit right in with those who feel 'other.'"

No place is more welcoming to "those who feel 'other'" than San Francisco -- except maybe the stand-up stage. Koletkar has shrewdly combined these two atmospheres to produce a quality show that pokes at these serious issues.

This is the fifth in the summer-long Minorities Stand Up tour. Koletkar's co-founder Edwin Li has recently moved to L.A., and is no longer able to join the lineup. The final Minorities show will be September 19.

Tonight's show is at 7:30 p.m. at Stage Werx, 446 Valencia (at 15th St.). Tickets are $10, and available at www.minoritiesstandup.com.

Awkward Silence is a weekly column covering local stand-up comedy in San Francisco.

Follow Dana Sitar on Twitter at @danasitarSF Weekly's Exhibitionist blog at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Dana Sitar

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