Alumnus Warren Viegas ’15 is per­forming in Goa, India, as a comedian. Warren Viegas | Courtesy

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.”