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National act comedian Dan Nainan to headline Diwali

Oct. 29, 2009 @ 11:30 PM

HUNTINGTON -- For the record, New York-based national act comedian Dan Nainan is half Indian, half Japanese and 100 percent funny.

Nainan, who has been on everything from "Saturday Night Live" and "Last Comic Standing" to starring in the Apple Computer "Get A Mac" commercials, will be the entertainment headliner at this year's Diwali, or Festival of Lights, that takes place at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland.

Hosted by the Tri-State India Association, the evening will also feature dancers from the Columbus-based Nalanda School of Dance as well as a dinner.

Although dinner tickets are sold out, general admission tickets to see Nainan, who performed at the Democratic National Convention and three of the inauguration balls, are $10.

A self-admitted techie, Nainan, who is flying out on Sunday to be a guest speaker in India at the TED Conference, that also features Bill Gates, Larry Page and a slew of innovative, tech-driven leaders, said at that conference he's been asked to listen to the wealth of 18-minute-long presentations and then do a live comedy bit poking fun at them all.

"In the old days we used to say that one day the geeks would inherit the Earth and we did," Nainan said laughing. "I'm trying to figure out whether to do more tech jokes that they will understand or to go more mainstream. Everyone today has a frame of reference in that any kind of field is tech-based and being tech-savvy makes it that much easier. I think that most people will understand the jokes."

Nainan, who pokes fun at himself often saying that with a dad from India and a mom from Japan he gets his sushi at the 7-11, said it's the best of times for being a multi-cultured comedian in this great melting pot of the United States.

"There was a time when the only people on television were blond-haired and blue- eyed pretty boys," Nainan said. "Things have really changed. A guy like me can be in a major national commercial, and I have to pinch myself. It blows me away. Multicultural is huge right now."

Nainan was just featured in the highly popular Apple Computer series of commercials called "Get a Mac," where he is shown wearing a bubblewrap suit.

Nainan said unfortunately, even though he's playing Diwali on Halloween night, that he won't be wearing his famous bubblewrapped get-up.

"I did ask if I could keep it," Nainan said with a laugh. "It took them forever to make the outfit. When I went there for a costume fitting, it was a two-piece with a jacket and pants and they showed it to the director and he didn't like the seam, so they spent another half a day making a one-piece bubble wrap jump suit." These days, Nainan, who will be featured next summer in a M. Night Shyamalan film, "The Last Airbender," starring Dev Patel ("Slumdog Millionaire"), Jackson Rathbone from "Twilight" and Aasif Mandvi from "The Daily Show," can afford his own bubble suit.

Nainan said he feels blessed that he took the sage advice of Jerry Seinfeld early in his comedy career and always kept his comedy clean just like himself, a man who doesn't drink or smoke.

Although he grew up in a Christian household in India, he said performing for cross-generational audiences such as the one at Saturday's Diwali event, is his perfect evening out.

Nainan said he doesn't have room for picking on midgets and spraying swear words in his routines.

"What I am really try to do is something more cross generational," Nainan said. "Some of my biggest demographics are the oldest people. On Saturday, the young people are huge fans but the people who appreciate it most I think are the older folks because they know it doesn't have to be filthy to be funny."

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