Vancouver-based comedian's COVID comedy finds success in India

·2 min read

Vancouver-based comedian and actress Ambika Vas has been making satire related to the pandemic — and she's hit it big in India.

Vas, who was originally born in St. John's, Newfoundland, has called Vancouver home since September, after studying acting in Los Angeles for two years.

When she was in L.A., she developed a one-woman comedy news show, performing on stage as a news anchor. When the pandemic struck, Vas started making satirical videos based on the stories related to COVID-19.

Her subjects for skewering include Donald Trump, socially-distanced dating, and staving off quarantine boredom.

Initially, Vas' videos were a way to stay connected with her parents, who live in India.

"I would have my father act in some of the videos, and it was just kind of a nice way to keep them entertained and they could send it to all of their friends," Vas told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC's On The Coast.

Her regular videos eventually caught the attention of Cyrus Broacha, a TV personality and comedian based in Mumbai who hosts a satirical news program called The Week That Wasn't on India's CNN News18.

"He really liked them [so] we had a call and he asked me to be on that week's show, and so I did that," she said.

Three months later, she's a recurring feature on the program.

It's a big break for Vas, who broke into acting and comedy after an unconventional route. In university, she got bachelor and master's degrees in Accounting from the University of Iowa, becoming a CPA and later getting an MBA from the business school INSEAD, originally called Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires.

"Once I felt I had gotten that out of my system, I said, okay, it's time to go follow your dreams," she said.

Vas' dreams led her to Los Angeles, where she trained with the Upright Citizens Brigade. She came to Vancouver in September to check out the film and theatre scene.

Initially, she wasn't sure how long she'd stay.

"Actually all of my stuff is still in storage in L.A.," she said.

"[But] I think Vancouver is a much friendlier place to start out as an actor or a performer. I think it's much more accepting of new performers and I think there's so much opportunity, so it's a great place to be."

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