Interview: Dan Nainan

What exactly is this 100 percent clean comedy of yours?
I crack the type of jokes that my parents can enjoy; this is very different from the usual self-loathing and cynicism in contemporary comedy.
You used to be a corporate man. Does that help or hinder you on the comedy circuit?
Getting up at 7am is a major advantage I have over most comedians. Most people don’t realize that auditions in the entertainment industry usually take place in the morning. And most comedians are stupid to miss out on such opportunities because they are boozing and taking drugs.
You have performed for FBI and LAPD agents, what were the experiences like?
If I wasn’t funny, I probably wouldn’t have walked out of that room alive.
Being an American of Japanese-Indian descent, how was it growing up in 1980s?
School was a torture; I was physically and emotionally abused because of racial reasons. In hindsight, I am so fortunate to have gone through such turmoil—it was great for character building. I read The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, and agree with its central thesis that people who end up anywhere in life were usually outcasts in school.
How well do you think your material will translate to a Singaporean audience?
There are so many folks around the world who are familiar with American culture, politicians and life and I guess that helps me to connect with the audience. Sadly, Americans can be an ignorant bunch; I mean 20 percent of them can’t even locate their country on a map.
Ethnic comedy—your take on it?
It’s amazing. If not for a huge South Asian Diaspora, I wouldn’t be playing sell-out gigs around the world. In fact I make more money than most white stand-ups because they don’t have the global connection which brown folks like Russell Peters and I share.
As a seasoned globetrotter, who is the funniest nationality in the world?
Indians are fantastic because they love laughing at themselves.
Catch Dan Nainan on Jun 15 and 17, 8pm. DBS Arts Centre, 20 Merbau Rd., 6733-8166. $52 from Sistic.