|Full name||Vir Saran Das Vir Das’ Facebook|
|Profession(s)||Standup Comedian, YouTuber, Actor, Musician, Producer, Entrepreneur|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Hindustan Times Height||in centimeters– 174 cm
in meters– 1.74 m
in feet & inches– 5′ 8½”
|Debut||TV Film (American): The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb (2006) as Jabari
Film (Bollywood): Namastey London (2007) as Prospective Groom No. 2 (A crazy obsessed statistician living in Hyderabad)
|Standup Tour(s)||• Walking on Broken Das (2007)
• History of India: VIRitten (2010)
• Battle of Da Sexes (2014)
• Unbelievablish (2015)
• On The Pot (2016)
• BoardingDAS (2017)
• The Loved (2019)
• Vir Das: Manic Man (2021)
|Date of Birth||31 May 1979 (Thursday)|
|Age (as of 2021)||42 Years|
|Birthplace||Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh (now in Uttarakhand), India|
|School||• The Lawrence School, Sanawar (near Shimla)
• Delhi Public School, New Delhi
|College/University||• Sri Venkateswara College, New Dehli
• Stanislavsky School at Harvard University, US
• Knox College, Illinois
|Educational Qualification(s)||• Major in Economics and Theatre from Knox College The Times of India
• A course in acting at the Stanislavsky School at Harvard University Knox Magazine
|Religion||Hinduism Vir Das’ Twitter|
|Food Habit||Non-Vegetarian NDTV|
|Tattoo(s)||• A pocket watch tattoo is inked on the inside of his right arm and a quote is inscribed on the inside of his right forearm.
• A cardinal directions tattoo inked on his right bicep
• A Phoenix with a Mic tattoo inked on his left bicep
• A tattoo on his left forearm
Note: He has six tattoos inked on his body
|Controversies||• Police intervention during a show: In 2015, Vir Das’ standup comedy show at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi, was disrupted by police after an unknown man informed them that Vir Das had cracked a joke about the former Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam during his performance. Apparently, a man had approached Das during the show’s interval and said,
“Excuse me…you CANNOT talk about Kalam”
Due to lack of time, Das casually dismissed the man and resumed his performance. The police recorded Vir Das’ performance and told him that his comedy footage would be examined as the complaint needed to be addressed. India Today
• Charged for maligning the reputation of lawyers: A complaint was filed against his series ‘Hasmukh’ (2020), which aired on Netflix, for allegedly vilifying the reputation of lawyers. Filed by an advocate named Ashutosh Dubey, the plea alleged that in the 4th episode of the series, lawyers were misrepresented as thieves, scoundrels, goons, and rapists. Hindustan Times
• Slammed for his monologue ‘I come from an India’: In November 2021, he faced backlash on social media for his six-minute-long monologue ‘I come from an India’ at the John F. Kennedy Centre in Washington DC on 15 November 2021. Through the monologue, he narrated some of the contrasting aspects of India, from farmers’ protest and Covid-19 to petrol price hike. Following this monologue, many people accused him of ‘anti-India propaganda under the garb of comedy.’ Independent
|Relationships & More|
Note: In an interview, Vir Das confessed that he had dated thirteen women before he made acquaintance of Shivani Mathur. Man’s World India
|Marriage Date||15 October 2014
|Marriage Place||Sri Lanka|
|Parents||Father– Ranu Das (worked in a food processing company in Lagos, Nigeria)
Mother– Madhur Das (worked at U. N. Environment India)
|Siblings||Sister– Trisha Das (National Film Award-winning Documentary Filmmaker and Author)
|Show||PBS NewsHour (1975)|
|Actor(s)||Kunaal Roy Kapoor, Johnny Lever|
|Music Album||Tommy by The Who (1969)|
|Restaurant||Curry Leaf in San Francisco|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Vir Das
- Vir Das is an Indian comedian, actor, YouTuber, musician, producer, and entrepreneur. After establishing a career in standup comedy, Das moved to Bollywood starring in the films Delhi Belly (2011) and Go Goa Gone (2013). He is also known for playing the role of FBI agent Jai Datta in the American television series Whiskey Cavalier (2019).
- In Dehradun, his father, Ranu, managed a poultry farm, meanwhile, his mother, Madhur, worked as a teacher.
- Thereafter, his father found a job in a food processing company in Lagos, Nigeria, and they relocated there when Das was one-year-old. In Lagos, his mother pursued a course in mass communication.
- As the schools in Nigeria weren’t adequate, his parents sent him to India at the age of nine to study. In India, Das grew up studying in several boarding schools. At school, his active participation in debates, drama, and athletics led to his poor grades in academics. He was a rebellious child during his school days. In an interview, while talking about his school days, he said,
This was hard on me, since I was individualistic. I wouldn’t shut up. I was the kid being beaten up but talking through the beating.”
- At the age of twelve, he discovered his public speaking skills after cracking a joke during a debate interjection round in his school.
- He grew up juggling his time between India, where he pursued his formal education, and Nigeria, where his parents lived in a well-guarded compound consisting of seven houses belonging to Indian expatriates. The disturbed law and order situation in Africa forced Das and other Indian kids to stay indoors in a safe environment. In an interview, Das recalled his memories of Nigeria and said,
There were many Indians there with a rich Indian cultural association. But the law and order was bad, so you had to stay indoors with a lot of armed guards at the gate and a lot of drivers…That meant that you couldn’t ride a bike outside, so it was a bit of a closed living. It meant that you don’t drive fancy cars or wear jewels in Africa as you could be robbed.”
- After witnessing the degeneration of Africa in aspects of politics and finance, Das’ parents moved back to India when he was sixteen. While talking about his parents’ decision to return to India, in an interview, he said,
When we first went there in 1981, a naira was a dollar-and-a-half, but by the time we left Nigeria, a dollar was probably equal to 120 nairas. That was the journey where it just got worse and worse. Years later, my parents finally moved back to Delhi when there was an emergency in Nigeria and president No. 5 got assassinated and everybody decided, okay it’s time to leave.”
- After shifting back to India in 1995, Das and his family lived in Delhi, where he enrolled himself in Sri Venkateswara College through sports quota, as he was a basketball player.
- In India, his mother started her career as a filmmaker, along with her daughter, Trisha, who worked as a director on their documentary film projects. In 2005, the mother-daughter duo became a recipient of the National Film Award in three categories for their documentary film ‘Fiddlers on the Thatch’ (2002), featuring children studying at the Gandhi Ashram School in Kalimpong.
- After her marriage, Trisha moved to Singapore, and Madhur secured a job in the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as a director. Following her job at WWF, Madhur became a TV newsreader. Later, Madhur started working as a Senior Consultant for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- Four years older than Vir Das, Trisha is the writer and director of over 40 films with her work screened at various recognised platforms including the Discovery Channel, Star Network, Doordarshan channel, and several international film festivals.
- Watching American collegiate films like Dead Man On Campus (1998) and National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (2002) during his college days intrigued him to pursue his further studies in the US. Hence, halfway through his college in Delhi, Vir decided to go abroad to study.
- After securing a scholarship, he headed for Knox University in Illinois, US, in 1999. Back then, the university’s fee was $26,000 out of which $20,000 was sponsored through scholarships and the rest by his father who made Das opt for a double major, a condition to sponsor his studies.
- In a Facebook post, he revealed that he started playing the guitar in the first year of his college. He also revealed that sometimes he even made money by playing the guitar on the streets. The caption to a picture on his Facebook account read,
I picked up a guitar in my first year of college, it has saved my ass ever since. From impressing girls, to playing on the street and making money for lunch to starting a band or just curing a bad mood.”
- The tough acting programme and poor grades exhausted him by the fourth year of his acting course. His desire to pursue a career in a field that is organic and free-flowing, unlike theatre, developed his interest in standup comedy. The sparks of his interest were brewed by the works of American stand-up comedian Bill Cosby, Das’ inspiration.
- He wrote a 60-minute show called ‘Brown men can’t hump’ for his thesis at Knox, which offended the acting and the drama faculty at his college.
- After completing his graduation in 2002, he joined a bank in Chicago. Soon, he grew weary of the finance job and dropped it to pursue theatre.
- While trying his hand at acting and stand-up comedy, he complemented his income by pursuing various odd jobs like a security guard, building painter, dishwasher, and banquet bartender in Chicago. In an interview, he recalled his struggling days at open mics and said,
I was booed off, 11 weeks in a row… I was saying, “Hey, you know what’s funny about cockroaches?” and I got slaughtered. In week 12, I had a meltdown: “You Americans are just stupid, ignorant hicks! You have no idea how important Indians are. We drive your taxis, we sell your newspapers, we sell you condoms and food, our doctors check your wives and children! Without Indians you’d be starving, stranded, sexually sterile and stupid!” And I got my first laugh.”
- In 2003, he returned to India to perform standup for The Times of India at the Habitat Centre in New Delhi. Thereafter, he started his journey as a TV host and hosted various shows like News on the Loose, Cricket First, Lo Kar Lo Baat, and Bid 2 Win. He also hosted Times Food Guide Awards many times. Meanwhile, he worked as a VJ for the Indian entertainment television channel ‘Zoom.’
- Soon after, Vir Das became a corporate comedian and started earning a decent income.
- In 2007, he quit his job to become a full-time comedian. One of his earliest sets was ‘Walking on Broken Das.’
- He once worked as a junior artiste in a film starring Rishi Kapoor, his first acting stint in Bollywood.
- The witty comedian compiled a DVD of his standups, titled it ‘Viagra,’ and distributed six copies to different video libraries, to get some exposure. Fortunately, two of his DVDs landed up at the desks of the Indian filmmaker Aditya Chopra and Aamir Khan Productions via two assistant directors who had rented them from a video library. Thereafter, he was cast in the films ‘Badmaash Company’ (2010) and ‘Delhi Belly’ (2011) kickstarting his career in Bollywood.
- In the British-Indian comedy series ‘Mumbai Calling,’ Das played the recurring role of a call centre operator in 2008. The series first aired on ITV, a British free-to-air television network. Later, it aired on ABC TV, an Australian national public television network.
- In the 2010 Indian crime comedy film ‘Badmaash Company,’ he played the role of Chandu, one of the three young boys, who, after graduation, go on a trip to Bangkok in Thailand. In Bangkok, they meet a girl named Bulbul with whom they establish a business together.
- In 2011, he came into the spotlight after playing the role of Arup (a cartoonist) in the Indian action comedy film ‘Delhi Belly.’ The film centres around three roommates, Tashi, Nitin, and Arup, who unknowingly become the target of a ruthless gangster when they misplace his expensive diamonds.
- In the 2013 Indian zombie apocalypse action comedy film ‘Go Goa Gone,’ he played the role of Luv. Despite the film’s failure at Box Office, Das earned immense appreciation for his role as Luv. The film centres around three friends, who, after attending a rave party on a secluded island in Goa, find themselves stranded on the island infested with Zombies.
- He starred in the 2014 Indian romantic comedy film ‘Shaadi Ke Side Effects’ as Manav, a drug addict bachelor living a carefree life.
- Vir Das was featured in the 2014 issue of Knox Magazine under the article “18 under 37,” highlighting 18 young alumni of the university who had prospered in their respective careers.
- Apart from standup comedy and acting, he is also a member of the band ‘Alien Chutney.’ Formed around 2011-2012, the comedy-rock band produces offbeat songs about unconventional topics like the difference between Delhi and Bombay girls, tributes to Himesh, Parsi love songs, and the key to good love with your vegetable grocer. Along with other band members Sidd Coutto, Johan Pais, Kaizad Gherda, and Apurv Isaac, Das has performed shows at several venues like Blue Frog in Mumbai, Lodhi Gardens in Delhi, and India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The band also performed in Star World’s New Year Special ‘RIPping the Decade with Vir Das.’
- In 2015, Alien Chutney’s first album, comprising of 13 tracks, titled “Bom in Live Bay” was released.
- He played the lead role, Devender Singh, in the 2016 Indian historical action drama film ’31st October.’ Set in 1984, the film chronicles the struggles of Devender Singh, a Sardar, trying to protect his family during the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.
- His stand-up specials featured on Netflix includes Abroad Understanding (2017), Losing It (2018), For India (2020), and Vir Das: Outside In (2020).
- He gained popularity for playing the role of an FBI agent named Jai Datta in ‘Whiskey Cavalier’ (2019), an American action comedy-drama television series broadcast by ABC.
- In the same year, he featured in ‘Jestination Unknown,’ an Amazon Prime Video’s comedy travel show. In the show, Das, along with his friends, fellow stand-up comedians, and celebrities, travelled throughout India exploring the humour of Indians.
- He played the titular role in the 2020 Indian dark comedy streaming TV series ‘Hasmukh.’ Distributed by Netflix, written and produced by Vir Das, the show showcased the story of a small-town comedian-cum-serial killer.
- In 2020, he appeared in the American sitcom ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ in the episode titled “The Magic Motor Inn.” In the episode, Das played the role of DC, an Indian immigrant, and shared the screen with Preity Zinta. Vir and Preity played the role of parents of a girl named Simryn, a schoolmate of the protagonist Eddie Huang.
- He is the founder and owner of the production company ‘Weirdass Comedy,’ which deals in comedy content creation for TV and digital platforms.
- Vir Das is also the curator and producer of one of India’s largest comedy festivals “The Weirdass Pajama Festival.”
- He is an avid dog lover and posts various pictures with his pet bulldog named Doctor Watson.
- He earned the nomination for the International Emmy Awards (2021) for his outstanding achievement in the category of comedy for his Netflix special For India (2020).
- In recognition of his accomplishments in the field of performing arts, an honorary doctorate was bestowed upon him in 2018 at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where Vir Das completed his graduation. Furthermore, Das was also requested to address the Knox College graduating class of 2018. Previously, the commencement speech had been delivered by various renowned personalities like former US president Barack Obama, American actress Eva Longoria, US Senator Richard Durbin, and American comedian Stephen Colbert.
|↑1||Vir Das’ Facebook|
|↑3||The Times of India|
|↑5||Vir Das’ Twitter|
|↑10||Man’s World India|