Paul Varghese brings 'somewhat smart' comedy
Texas native, Paul Varghese, will take the stage at Grand Valley State University Sept. 25 in what is said to be a one-of-a-kind comedy act. The comedian, who has appeared in several known comedy shows such as NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” has watched so much stand-up comedy that he knows what has and has not already been done.
“I’m really a stickler on being unique and clever, but still being gut funny,” Varghese said. “A lot of
comedians are more focused on getting a reaction opposed to getting a really good laugh that’s solid
—a unique original laugh. I really try to keep that as my gold standard, and I think that’s what
separates me from a majority of them.”
Unlike others, Varghese does not tell the audience exactly what to laugh at, but rather prefers they fill
in the blanks on their own. In his words, his comedic style could be considered “somewhat smart.”
“It’s not dumb, but I wouldn’t say intelligent because I don’t know what intelligent is,” Varghese said.
“I like to give people a perspective on things that they didn’t have before.”
While making it a point not to make people uncomfortable, his main focus is ethnicity because he is
“It’s kind of like if I have a bullet wound in my head, I would have to talk about it,” Varghese said. “It’s
real, they’ve never seen anything like that, I know that much.”
In terms of who he is, Varghese considers himself a product of many things.
“I’m an Indian kid raised in the south, I’m Christian and I don’t have an accent—one of those four
things always throws people off,” he said. “I’m a normal person. This just happens to be my job.”
When on stage, he said he wants it to feel like he’s just having a conversation with the audience at
Starbucks for an hour.
“It shouldn’t feel like I’m performing, it should feel like there’s a conversation going on between us,”
Varghese said. “So, I’m hoping they dig it—they better dig it.”
Even when he is not talking to a specific person directly, Varghese said he hopes people feel like he’s
just having a discussion that happens to be funny.
“That’s how I am in person, so I just try to channel that same energy when I’m on stage,” he said.
Spotlight Production’s President Hannah Malik said the last time Varghese was at GVSU, students
“Students should expect to laugh at a wide range of jokes,” Malik said. “We want students to leave still
It is the immediate gratification and creative aspect that make the job worth it to him, Varghese said.
He considers the audience his boss because it is the people in the crowd who decide whether or not
his material works or does not.
“I love doing it. I love being able to make people laugh and I’m blessed to be able to do that,”
Varghese said. “It’s going to be a fun time and…it’s not going to be anything that’s going to piss
people off or make people feel awkward.”
The free show will take place at 9 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center’s Grand River Room. For more
information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.