original article published July 20, 2021 by the Tri-City Voice
Fremont stand up comedian Kabir Singh is making a name for himself, and he’s doing it in a big way. His recent audition on an episode of America’s Got Talent (AGT), which aired June 15, brought the audience and judges to their feet and garnered four yes votes, paving the way for his next appearance at the AGT Live Shows on August 10. The YouTube clip of his performance has reached nearly 2 million views, catapulting the Indian comic onto the international stage virtually overnight.
“It was tremendous, “says Singh of his AGT experience. “A career highlight, to be sure!” He’s hoping to be the first comedian to win AGT, and with it, the one million dollars in prize money and his very own show in Las Vegas.
Singh has been a professional stand up comedian for the past 8 years. In that time he has performed at over 200 comedy clubs across the country, including every major club in California and the Bay Area. He has won several comedy competitions, including The Big Sky Comedy Festival in Montana in 2019, which was instrumental to his appearance on AGT. “AGT had a talent scout there, Naela K. Durrani,” says Singh. “She loved me. So she sent my tape in and the next thing you know, Terry Cruz is talking me up, they put me on, and have a good day!”
Singh knows other comedians who have done well on AGT, including Preacher Lawson and Samuel J. Comroe. “Their careers really took off after that, “says Singh. “I figured I could probably run with the pack.” But he admits it was a nerve wracking experience. “I’m very rarely nervous, but they only give you two minutes. It’s not like they give you ten minutes and they edit out your best set. I did two jokes and those are the ones that aired, that’s it!”
With over an hour of material to choose from, Singh admits he really didn’t know what he was going to do until three minutes before going onstage. He decided to open with a joke on serial killers. Recalls Singh, “A lot of people were saying, ‘you might not want to open with that, friend.’ I was like, ‘listen, we’re either going down in flames or we getting a standing ovation! Luckily the latter happened!”
The AGT judges initially seemed unsure of how to respond to Singh’s edgy humor, but the 36-year-old soon had them laughing up a storm. “When you’re on stage, the crowds are there, but all you see are four people staring at you. Howie carried me through the set. He was laughing the whole time, and that got the other judges into it.”
Singh was happy to be given the chance to plug Fremont in his pre-performance video. “It’s an insane process, “says Singh. “You get there, they do a bunch of interviews and take bunch of photos. They only have a day to put up a whole package, and they do this with every single person! They asked me, ‘where are you from?’ I replied, ‘Fremont, California’. They were like, ‘Where’s that? Bay Area?’ I said, ‘No, it’s Fremont, California. We’re not doing ‘Bay Area’ or ‘East Bay’. We’re doing Fremont, California, buddy.”
Singh is proud to represent Fremont, the city he’s called home for the past 20+ years, and does so at every opportunity. “It’s my favorite thing to do!” he beams. He attended Horner Middle School, Mission San Jose High School, and spent some time at Ohlone College. While he also has a place in Echo Park that has enabled him to be closer to the LA comedy scene, his mom still lives in Fremont and he spends time with her as much as possible. After all, she’s his biggest fan.
Sadly, Singh’s father passed away in 2010, just as his career in comedy began to take off. Says Singh, “He was very supportive and I’m glad he got to see me doing what I love. He used to drive me to a lot of my shows early on. I remember him passing out my business cards to all of the nurses at the hospital. How cool is that?”
Singh’s older sisters, Malini and Sonya, have also been very supportive of his antics. Malini heads the Department of Emergency Medicine at Zuckerberg Hospital in San Francisco, and Sonya is a public defender in Orange County. “They’re doing alright, I guess, “jokes Singh. “But I’m going to bury both of them with my stand up career!”
In Fremont’s Got Talent: Part II, we’ll look at Singh’s childhood and explore what made him want to become a stand up comedian. We’ll look at the lucky breaks in his career, his mentors, and his early experiences at local comedy clubs. And he’ll talk about how he survived the pandemic and what his goals are for the future.
Alameda Comedy Club
2431 Central Ave, Alameda
Kirby’s Sports Bar
42312 Fremont Blvd, Fremont
4 Orinda Theatre Square, Orinda
San Jose Improv
62 South 2nd Street San Jose