On Feb. 10, professional stand-up comedian Warren Viegas ’15 had his first filmed half-hour comedy special in Goa, India.
“We had a sold-out show with 1,000 people, so it was truly incredible,” Viegas said. “Better than I hoped for.”
This may be his first filmed special, but Viegas is no stranger to comedy. He said he grew up loving comedy, and according to the Goan Everyday, over the past two years he has performed more than 300 comedy shows as a stand-up comedian.
Born in Mumbai, India, Viegas said he would watch any comedy that he could get his hands on growing up. He said he has been inspired by many great comedians, including Sacha Baron Cohen, Louis C.K., and John Oliver, but Russell Peters was his main inspiration for stand-up comedy.
“Russell Peter’s special, ‘Outsourced,’ was my first introduction to stand-up comedy, and that changed everything,” Viegas said.
Viegas came to the United States for his undergraduate education, and studied marketing management at Hillsdale College. While on campus, Viegas began exploring stand-up comedy.
Senior Joe Spica said Viegas’ friendly laugh matched his personality.
“He laughs often and heartily, and possesses a warm and disarming disposition,” Spica said.
Viegas began doing some casual performances around campus while he was a student, and even performed at the comedy club, the Laugh Factory. Viegas encouraged other casual comedic performers on campus, like Spica, to form a sort of club.
“Warren thought that all of us writing should perform our own live routine so that we could see live audience reactions to our own material and provide each other with feedback and criticism in order to improve our writing,” Spica said.
Unfortunately, he said the club eventually dissolved after Viegas and many of its members graduated in 2015.
Viegas also worked for a brief time on John Oliver’s Emmy-winning late night show, ‘Last Week Tonight.’
“When asked of my ‘contributions,’ I mention that I got coffee for the guy that got coffee for the guy that got coffee for the guy that got coffee for John,” Viegas said.
Now, Viegas is touring and performs almost every night in Goa, India. With a degree in marketing management, Viegas has become interested in the business part of comedy and has plans to start his own comedy club.
“I’m hoping to start Goa’s first dedicated comedy club, The Las Viegas Comedy Club — a pun on my last name,” Viegas said.
Viegas said he particularly loves political comedy.
“My uncle is a writer and makes political films, so between reading his books and going to Hillsdale College, I developed a fascination with American politics,” he said.
Viegas said he thinks he is a bit too young to be doing the political comedy act yet. He said a political comedy act is hard to tour, and not many people want to hear a 24-year-old ranting about the government. Instead, he focuses his act on other aspects of life.
“I prefer to joke about the absurdities in daily life, relationships, and ramen noodles,” he said. “Perhaps one day I’ll be screaming about the government.”
Though comedy makes people laugh and has the appearance of lightheartedness, a career in comedy is not for the weak and requires dedication and hard work, Viegas said. He emphasized that successful comedians are quick on their feet, know how to network, and “have a tremendous work ethic.”
Additionally, Viegas said aspiring comedians must have enthusiasm and perseverance in pursuing the art of the joke.
“A thick skin is important for comics because no one is exempt from bombing, and it happens a lot in the beginning,” Viegas said. “You have to be a real comedy nerd, and pretty obsessive about the art form to do this as a career.”