Masala Comedy Club is a comedy collective based in the Silicon Valley, California, that features stand-up comedy performances by desi comedians of San Francisco Bay Area in Hinglish – Hindi, English and somewhere in between. The club was founded in 2019 by Film & Theater Actor, and one of the original Indian YouTubers, Rajiv Nema “Indori” along with his comedian friends Ritwik Verma and Neha Goyal. The goal is to bring NRI Desi experiences to the NRI Desi audiences.
The comedians in the club are primarily tech workers who migrated from India and has expanded to include their offsprings, born and brought up in the pressure cooker of Silicon Valley. In addition to live ticketed shows, they have performed opening acts for visiting comedians from India, presented at Corporate events and hosted open mics, improv workshops.
Rajiv is an Actor, Standup Comedian and a Youtuber based in Fremont, California. His “Rajiv Nema Indori” video series has 400+ videos with more than 20 Million views.
His most recent feature films are Jaadugar with Jitendra Kumar and Thai Massage with Gajraj Rao, both streaming on Netflix. His other Bollywood films are Sanju with Vicky Kaushal, Simran with Kangana Ranaut and LoveAaj Kal with Saif Ali Khan. He has also acted in films made in the US, like Bugaboo and Family Party.
He is an avid theater actor. He has been performing for NAATAK (www.naatak.org), America’s biggest Indian theater company, for the last 26 years and has acted in more than 25 plays including The Odd Couple, Rashomon, Sakharam Binder, Muavze, Ramayan, Tughlaq and Ek Tha Gadha.
For whole grain bread and organic butter, Rajiv works as a Senior Director of Marketing at an Enterprise software company.
Neha’s love for theater and comedy started when she first stepped on to a stage for a solo act at the age of 7. Ever since then she has been acting in various theater plays and short films. She learnt improv at her graduate school in the US and was quite smitten by it.
She has been acting with NAATAK, America’s biggest Indian theater company, since 2009 and a few of her notable plays are The Odd Couple, Noises Off, K.K, Disconnect, Mowgli and I, Vrindavan and Aathva Sarg.
Neha was the co-founder of Bay Area’s first and only Desi Improv comedy troupe (at Naatak) along with Abhay. The troupe dished out several funny shows as well as performed for corporate events at Facebook, Yahoo, SAP. They were also the first to introduce Desi Standup in the Bay Area as a part of their shows.
She is an avid traveler having traveled to nearly 40 countries and maintains a travel blog too. She loves to stay fit training for triathlons and comes home to her three year old daughter and a loving husband.
Her stand up material is often inspired from her personal experiences with her parents and extended family. Her NRI sensibilities create enough humor on India trips and during phone conversations with family and friends.
Ritwik suffers from a multiple personality disorder. We are still figuring out who he really is. He has been found doing stand up comedy, acting, singing, writing poetry/songs, adapting plays, and mimicking celebrities during his spare time.
He started his on-stage journey in school, mimicking teachers and bollywood actors. In college, he participated in numerous cultural events winning awards as a stand up comic, singer, and poet. Eventually, he realized his duty as an Indian kid, and joined a software engineering firm. #GoodBoy
He trained at an improv theater in Bangalore for 3 years before moving to the US. In the Bay Area, he has been involved with the theater group – Naatak, for the last 6 years as an actor, writer, director and ‘driver to the costume designer’ (his wife).
Co-founding Masala Comedy club in 2019, Ritwik is passionate about stand up comedy and everything around it. He is always looking forward to connecting with like-minded, fun-loving people. If you are one of them, do reach out and say ‘Hi!’. 🙂