Photo by Carter Oswood
What’s 25 letters, impossible to pronounce and hysterical? Parashanth Venkataramanujam. As a comedian, Venkataramanujam fills his show with surprisingly hysterical masturbation jokes, stereotypical jokes and classic tales about college, family and Taco Bell. He is willing to talk about anything and everything. Though he may seem like a pro, Venkataramanujam didn’t start his full-time comedy career until three months ago.
The 24-year-old Venkataramanujam is from Chicago and just graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology. However, that wasn’t what he wanted to do.
“I don’t want to die in a cubicle,” Venkataramanujam said.
So, he started doing comedy shows when he was 17. He did have a career as an IT consultant, but he won the American Comedy Festival, starred in Chappelle’s Show and now has a line of comedy shows in universities across the country.
Anyone who attends a performance can see why he’s so successful. He quickly captured the audience on Monday by talking about how his name ruined Red Robin for him and is too long to fit on caller ID. He told more jokes about his childhood throughout the show, such as his father using his middle finger to point in public and his mother claiming he was karmic punishment. He also drew on common subjects, like an experience at Taco Bell where a worker calmly told him that the restaurant’s meat hose wasn’t working. He waited for his taco anyway. Also, he said that home pregnancy tests shouldn’t be in the impulse-buy section of a dollar store.
The bulk of the show, however, was based on stereotypes, porn and masturbation. Though the audience was mainly female, Venkataramanujam still managed to make the awkwardness funny. He spoke about excuses for being caught masturbating, about why men are meant to masturbate since they don’t have T-rex arms and about how sex is the same as getting gas. You put the nozzle in the fuel tank and then pay, he said. Also, he joked about the lack of “awesome” Indian stereotypes. For instance, he said that in black dating people get “jungle fever” while Asians get “yellow fever,” but in dating with Indians one would get “typhoid.”
Sex didn’t overpower Venkataramanujam’s creativity. One joke was about the luxury of water in America and how appalling it would be to air a Slip ‘n Slide commercial in Rwanda. He also pointed out how it was unfair that in his audition for the Cash Cab Chicago driver, Indian stereotypes worked against him.
There were even individualized jokes for Drake. He was mainly interested in the massive number of sexual assault posters placed around campus.
Venkataramanujam was a hit with the audience and is sure to continue rising in his career. He had over 1,300 people attend his show at Winona State University. However, he still took advantage of a sign language interpreter by saying masturbation for no reason just to see her translate it in sign language. This frank humor was unexpected and slightly offensive, but it was shockingly funny. Venkataramanujam may have an impressive name, and his show has topped it.