Dear Knox Community,
I am delighted to share the good news that we have a Commencement speaker—India’s premier comedian and Knox alumnus Vir Das ’02.
Since graduating from Knox in 2002, Vir has cemented himself as the biggest English-speaking comedian in India, as well as one of the country’s top actors, writers, musicians, and festival producers. Thanks to his Netflix comedy special, Vir Das: Abroad Understanding, and a recently announced Hulu comedy series, he is poised to break into the American entertainment world with his unique brand of humor.
Featured in The New York Times in 2011 as a one of a new set of emerging comedians in India, Vir is known for bringing an American style to topics rooted in contemporary Indian culture. Over the course of his career, he has sold more than a million tickets as a stand-up comedian, touring internationally with Unbelievablish, the largest domestic comedy tour ever by an Indian comedian; The History of India; and Battle of the Sexes. In the last year, Vir has traversed the globe, performing stand-up in 35 cities on five continents. He has also climbed the ranks of the Bollywood elite in various films, including BadMaash Company; Delhi Belly; Go, Goa, Gone; and Revolver Rani, gaining a reputation as a leading man with impeccable comedic chops. In addition to stand-up and acting, Vir leads his own multimedia consulting and production company, Weirdass Comedy.
While I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Vir while he was a student at Knox, I have enjoyed watching the trajectory of his career both in his home country of India and here in the United States. You can see in his approach to his comedic work, from stand-up and acting to writing and producing, that he is adept at navigating across cultures and overcoming stereotypes to provide his audiences with new perspectives on complicated issues and events.
I am particularly excited to make this announcement today, during Knox’s annual international week. Knox welcomed the first international student to campus in 1863, and, more than 150 years later, international students make up nearly 20 percent of our student body and come from 51 countries. Announcing an international alumnus as our Commencement speaker is a wonderful addition to the celebration of our vibrant international community.
You can read more about Vir on the College’s website.