LOADING...
Text Size
Kasha Patel: A Comic Walks Into Goddard...
September 26, 2014

[image-51][image-78][image-94][image-110]During the day, Kasha Patel is a science journalist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. After work, she hangs up her NASA badge and prepares for an unusual evening activity: stand-up comedy. With the tagline filling the unknown demand of Indian female comics from West Virginia,” Patel has performed original stand-up routines about her childhood and family behind comedy mics all over the United States including Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Boston and New York City.

“If you share something unique about your life and your family, people will be interested. I do some riffs on being a Hindu who went to Catholic grade school, arranged marriages and our family names (her brother was almost named Luv). But, I also like to do science jokes,” said Patel.

Complementing her interest in science journalism, Patel also wants to do science comedy, jokes to inspire the general public’s interest in science. To celebrate her recent 23rd birthday, Patel hosted a science comedy night called “This Scientist Walks into a Bar” at the Bier Baron Tavern in Washington, D.C. The event, attended by nearly 150 people, was presented in conjunction with the D.C. Science Writers Association for which she serves as board member and social chair. Patel hosted an evening of funny stories, jokes and songs delivered by scientists, writers, comics and other science enthusiasts. She is planning the next science comedy night, which is a free event open to the public, on Friday, November 7 also at Bier Baron Tavern.

While obtaining her masters degree in science journalism at Boston University, Patel attended a sketch comedy performance at a local comedy club and thought that performing comedy looked like fun. She enrolled in the club’s stand-up comedy classes and soon started performing at open mics.

“I have a subtle sense of humor that many people don’t associate with stand-up comedians, and I’m pretty quiet around people I don’t know very well. Practicing stand-up comedy surprised a lot of those people, but my friends always thought that I was funny and unconventional,” said Patel.

Patel grew up with three older brothers, so she was the victim of many practical jokes. Instead of playing “hide and seek,” her brothers played a game called “Kasha’s it!” where she would hide and her brothers would supposedly search for her. They never did. All three of her brothers—whom she thought were going to be her most difficult audience—have seen her perform stand-up and laughed.

Patel was accepted into the first comedy festival she applied to, the Chicago Woman’s Funny Festival held in June 2014. At the end of June 2014, she returned to Chicago to audition for NBC’s “Stand Up for Diversity” competition. Although she didn’t make the cut, she was excited to meet other standup comics who are equally serious about comedy. In November, she will travel to New York City to compete for a cash prize against other comediennes in the She-Devil Comedy Competition.

For Patel, the challenge is not stage fright, as she rarely gets nervous on stage thanks to her experience on her high school speech and debate team. She wrote and performed humorous speeches and won many tournaments, even competing at national competitions.

Instead, Patel’s challenge is writing original, creative jokes that will always get a laugh. “You can write jokes however you want. There’s more than one way to get a laugh. I like comedy that has at least a kernel of truth,” said Patel.

She attends open mics several times a week to practice and test new jokes. She also writes a blog, “Comedic Commentary,” about current events and her adventures in comedy.

“Life takes you in so many unexpected directions. Stand-up comedy is a really fun endeavor for me. I can’t predict what will happen, so I’m open to everything,” said Patel

To experience how Patel is filling the unknown demand of Indian female comics from West Virginia, visit her website.  

Read about what other people do Outside Goddard

Also read more Conversations With Goddard

Elizabeth M. Jarrell
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Image Token: 
[image-36]
Kasha Patel in front of the Minotaur V rocket.
Patel in front of the Minotaur V at Wallops Island, Virginia for the LADEE launch in September 2013.
Image Credit: 
Courtesy of K. Patel
Image Token: 
[image-51]
Patel in front of a sounding rocket.
Patel in front of a sounding rocket at Wallops Flight Facility.
Image Credit: 
Courtesy of K. Patel
Image Token: 
[image-78]
Patel during a showcase at ImprovBoston from December 2013
Patel during a showcase at ImprovBoston from December 2013.
Image Credit: 
Courtesy of K. Patel
Image Token: 
[image-94]
Patel during the first science comedy night at Bier Baron Tavern on her 23rd birthday this past July 2014.
Patel during the first science comedy night at Bier Baron Tavern on her 23rd birthday this past July 2014.
Image Credit: 
Courtesy of K. Patel
Image Token: 
[image-110]
Image Token: 
[image-62]
Page Last Updated: September 26th, 2014
Page Editor: Lynn Jenner