50 Up-and-Coming New York Culture Makers to Watch in 2013

Hari Kondabolu

Looking for some intelligent, political comedy that isn’t afraid to get a little bit radical? Then you need to know about Hari Kondabolu, the Queens native who brought down the house at Strike Debt’s People’s Bailout last month with a set about harvesting the organs of the 1%. The currently Brooklyn-based stand-up comedian also writes for and appears on FX’s excellent Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, which will begin airing its second season January 17th. — J. Berman

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’m planning a low-key end of the year. Mostly staying at my parents’ place in Queens as much as possible, with perhaps a few trips to Jackson Heights (“Little India”) to meet friends. Maybe Flushing to grab dosa, too. Also, I have this strange desire to watch the Broadway version of Disney’s Newsies. I was obsessed with that movie as a kid (even though it was godawful) and am willing to blow money to see this monstrosity on Broadway. Just an indication of what I’ll do for the sake of nostalgia.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

W. Kamau Bell’s prolific writing and relentless work ethic has been an inspiration to me for quite some time, even before he moved to NYC. Hannibal Buress is incredibly funny, and his ease on stage is stunning. Baratunde Thurston is a multi-talented writer and comedian, and I appreciate the fact that he is self-made and humble. Wyatt Cenac is a beast. (Wyatt is more than that one-word description, but I ran out of compliments on everyone else.) In truth, my biggest inspiration is and will always be my little brother, Ashok Kondabolu (hypeman for the now-defunct Das Racist project.)

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I’m a writer for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell on the FX Network and we just got picked up for 13 more episodes, so I’m excited to see what we’ll come up with this year. I’m also working on a new hour of material, and I plan to be on the road workshopping pieces, as well as at shows around the city. Also, my brother Ashok and I are planning a podcast called The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Podcast to compliment our semi-regular live show The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project.