2018 Moontower SeriesValerie Lopez Richard Goodwin Photo Source Tall and Small Photography
In this week’s installment of our ongoing 2018 Moontower Comedy Festival coverage, Valerie Lopez gets reacquainted with a friend she sat down with 3 years ago, comedian Tom Thakkar. In the time since they last spoke, Thakkar has been the definition of busy. He’s moved to New York, was a finalist on the NBC Standup for Diversity special, and has his own show at Caroline’s in New York. He also co-hosts the SiriusXM show You Up with friend and road companion of 6 years, fellow 2018 Moontower performer Nikki Glaser.
Oh, and we should mention, he changed his name. Formerly Tom Brady, it turns out there just might be some people that associated him with that other Tom Brady, and it’s a lot less fun than it sounds. After years of contemplation and at the urging of Mike Birbiglia, he took his father’s name, Thakkar, in early 2017, and like a butterfly, shed an old persona to make way for his real, natural persona. It doesn’t appear to be a coincidence that, once he changed his name, his career seemed to reach higher and new heights.
Thakkar’s early exposure to comedy provided solace in a somewhat rocky time in his younger years. Those early fond comedic memories are filled with names like Chris Rock and Todd Barry, and the power they wielded to bring out laughter and joy. At age 15, finding success with his friends and family as he toyed with the learnings and styles he’d observed from comedians like Barry, he started branching out and testing his mettle on the stage. The thread continued with a dalliance in improv in college, even as his formal plans pointed to a career in medicine. But as opportunities grew, with features and paying gigs popping up, it started becoming patently clear that comedy was the road he was destined for.
Life had Thakkar hopping from point to point across the nation, for reasons of various shapes and sizes, and all the while he sought out (or, often, was sought out) chances to hone his skills. As with many creative endeavors, his time devoted to performing helped buoy him through challenges the universe tossed his way. Working his way from Indiana to Ohio, Chicago to New York, and points in between, at 27 he finally landed in the Big Apple, executing the plan he’d been forming and adapting all along. As things have continued to fall into place, he had one of his greatest realizations in comedy (and life): don’t care so much about whether you’re making a next “career step”, and just focus on having fun. “If you can not care, it’s…the greatest gift you can give yourself”, Thakkar says.
Thakkar has performed with and for some of the biggest names in the business, and 2017 was full of new heights like playing the Bridgestone Comedy Festival, and appearing on Conan. Check out the interview to hear a lot more about Thakkar’s view of the comedy life, how he got there and what it brought to him. Then catch him on You Up with Nikki Glaser on every Monday-Thursday at 10 ET on SiriusXM, and his podcast Stand by Your Band with Tommy McNamara, where comics come on and do their best to defend their guilty pleasure bands and songs. Find much more of Tom Thakkar on Twitter and Instagram, and keep up with his latest dates and shenanigans at tomthakkar.com.