If you’re looking for a break from your regular depressing news feeds and in need of some hilarious takes on the state of the world today, look no further than the debut comedy album from Bay Area comedian Dhaya Lakshminarayanan. The album is titled ‘Dhayatribe’, out February 25, 2022 on Blonde Medicine, and is a play on the word diatribe which is a lecture, a criticism, or even a verbal attack. While the album is a diatribe about how things are, it is also about love: love of family, nerdy things, and even Cheech and Chong.
‘Dhayatribe’ covers her charming parents, the challenges of growing up Hindu in Birmingham Alabama, and the absurd political climate in which we find ourselves. Plus of course yoga, math, science, beer, and weed. But not the takes you’d expect.
An award-winning comedian that we already can’t get enough of, Comedy Central Asia once crowned her the Grand Prize Winner of “The Ultimate Comedy Challenge” filmed in Singapore, and Bay Area PBS affiliate KQED named her one of the twenty “Women to Watch”, a series celebrating women artists, creatives and makers who are pushing boundaries. She has performed internationally across Asia as well as some of the best festivals in the US including Bridgetown Comedy Festival, San Francisco Sketchfest, the Boston Comedy Festival (semifinalist), Limestone Comedy Festival, and Laugh Your Asheville Off.
As a television host, Dhaya helmed the inaugural season of the Emmy award-winning series High School Quiz Show on PBS’s WGBH. She is a frequent comedic storyteller on NPR’s Snap Judgment. Dhaya has worked with a variety of headliner comedians including Ronny Chieng, Janeane Garofalo, Greg Behrendt, Anthony Jeselnik, Maz Jobrani, Greg Proops, and the late Dick Gregory.
Prior to her endeavors in the entertainment business, Dhaya was a venture capitalist, management consultant, and two-time MIT graduate. We had the chance to catch up with Dhaya on the eve of her album release (which also happens to be her birthday) to get familiar with the woman behind the mic!
Congrats on the upcoming release of “Dhayatribe”, your debut comedy album! How are you feeling about it all?
I feel like a snack! Look like one too…
Can you tell us more about when it was recorded, the event you were part of?
It was recorded in October which was just before Omicron raised its damn head. But after vaccination and enough time to run my set in SF,LA, Oakland, Portland, Seattle and zoom. Which is located in the state of suspended disbelief.
We recently spoke with Karinda Dobbins about her comedy album and she talked about your friendship. Can you talk about the significance of having a major comedy event featuring two women of color?
I haven’t seen as much of these friendships and events as I’d like. I’ve never seen a Black woman and South Asian woman as friends on a sitcom. Karinda and I are the change we want to see in the world. And we need people to join us, preferably people who know how to light dark skin and can season food.
How did you get your start in comedy, and did you know you always wanted to be part of this industry?
I had attended several comedy shows and I loved watching Cho, George Lopez, Maz Jobrani. But when I attended a local showcase and saw some weirdo guy yelling about his wife I thought, omg. I can do this and I’ll be funnier. That guy no longer does comedy, thank God.
You talk about your family, your love of nerdy things, and the challenges of growing up Hindu in Alabama. What were your favorite stories to tell, and were there any that made you uncomfortable or nervous to share?
They are all my favorites! Nothing made me uncomfortable to share because at that point I’d run the set enough to know it was going to work. The nerves I felt was more is anyone gonna come to an indoor comedy show mid Pando? And they did. All vaxxed. Some masked. Many drunk.
You also don’t shy away from political humor. Can you tell us what political topics you chose to include in this album, and why?
Political humor can feel old quickly. Or it can feel like a lecture. So I included bits that I hope would age well, like I have.
What would you say is the secret to being a stand-out comedian? How do you find your “lane” or signature style among so many?
Amongst comedians, we talk about finding your voice. The balance is how do you sound unique in a way that’s relatable. So be you, be weird, but try to remind people of 10 other unique people they know.
Comedy is still fairly white and male, but we are seeing so many women, non-binary folks and people of color getting comedy specials and experiencing the type of spotlight that wasn’t always there. Can you speak more about this changing landscape?
Hope the trend keeps going and I’ll be one of those comedy central or Netflix specials.
If budget was no issue, what would be your ideal gig that you’d like to manifest?
I’d like to create, produce, and show run a sitcom on network TV. Something that Norman Lear would be proud of.
Get your copy of ‘Dhayatribe’ by clicking HERE.