Nimesh Patel Set to Perform in Saint Louis for His “Fast and Loose Tour”
Updated: Nov 15
By: Lauren Johns
Photo by Phil Provencio from press file
Nimesh Patel’s “Fast and Loose” comedy tour is making a stop in Saint Louis on Sunday, November 19 at The Pageant. The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are valued at around 40 dollars.
If you’ve taken up residence under a rock, Nimesh Patel is an award-winning comedian with multiple television writing credits, including a brief stint as the very first Indian-American writer for Saturday Night Live in 2017. Patel’s humor can only be described as quick-witted, versatile, and severely lacking a filter. His rapid rise to fame via Tiktok only amplifies the versatility aspect, as he attracts fans from all walks of life.
Despite his vast portfolio, he was a late bloomer in the world of comedy. He never grew up idolizing specific comedians and vowing to follow in their footsteps. However, he always did have a knack for public speaking and was President of the Junior Statesmen of America and Future Business Leaders of America in High School—no class clown superlative for Patel.
“I [also] grew up with such a large family that if you were ever talking you would have a lot of people looking at you at the same time,” Patel said.
In this way, Patel also lacks stage fright, despite the tiny fear that a joke may not go over well. In some cases, it doesn’t, (hint: a particular situation at Columbia University, google it if you want).
Regardless, his comedic origin story didn’t truly begin until he graduated college in 2008 during a particularly tumultuous financial period.
“I obtained a degree in finance from New York University, and that's probably why I'm a comedian,” Patel said. “2008 was not a good year for regular old finance majors, [and that left me] unemployed.”
In 2009, he was finally able to put the degree to good use and the 9-5 helped him survive the high prices of New York so that he could pursue comedy in the evenings; a hobby turned career. He was relatively new to the concept of standup overall but fell in headfirst and learned from experience.
“I knew who Chris Rock and Russell Peters were, and the huge names that other comedians knew about,” Patel said. “But in terms of having specials memorized, and always wanting to be a comedian, that was never me.”
He stayed in finance until 2016 when he was allegedly discovered by Chris Rock during a set. Rock was on track to host the Academy Awards that year and wanted Patel to write his jokes.
In addition to writing for Chris Rock, Patel also wrote one-liner jokes for SNL’s “Weekend Update” segment on season 43, (September 2017 to May 2018).
“The most exciting part was [stepping into the shoes of co-hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost], finding their voices and seeing how they would take on a certain issue or a news story,” Patel said. “Those kinds of new style, one-liner jokes were never really my strength, [I specialize in longform]. But you know, that's something I worked on to get better at.”
As far as finding inspiration for his shows, Patel pulls from a conglomeration of current events and personal life stories, arranging them in bullet point or list formats on occasion. And as stated previously, sometimes these jokes go over the audience members’ heads. But as a wise Patel believes, unfortunate situations make for the best joke material.
“You just kind of call it out,” Patel said. “It's really an on-the-fly kind of assessment. Sometimes you realize the joke didn't work because you delivered it poorly or didn't work because the room wasn't ready for it. That's the thing that standup teaches you the most, you've just gotta move on and keep trucking.”
In regards to having a specific theme for each of his shows, he doesn’t. But it isn’t entirely improvisation either.
“I put out a special called "Lucky Lefty" about having dealt with testicular cancer,” Patel said. “But that was a theme that was kind of given to me by the circumstances. I don't usually go in with a theme. This current hour that people will see in St. Louis is called "Fast and Loose", because that's kind of how I'm keeping it. But it’s all material that I’ve worked on and structured in some ways.”
Speaking of St. Louis, every time Patel performs here, the diverse turnout is always a pleasant surprise. He has a masterful way of resonating with everyone, especially his own family.
“My 16 first cousins came out to the first show I ever did,” Patel said. “And they've been huge supporters that continuously come out to shows and they don't even ask for free tickets, they buy their own.”
The support from his family is only the tip of the iceberg regarding Patel’s love of comedy.
Photo by Mindy Tucker from press file
“[With comedy], you get to create your own way of life,” Patel said. “No one's telling you what to do, which means it's all on you to make adjustments and improvements.”
He also understands the importance of being able to laugh at the tough stuff. That darker approach to humor has remained a staple in his shows.
If you love Patel’s standup (why wouldn’t you?), check out some of his older projects to save them from obscurity.
“On YouTube, if you look for ‘Platinum Fatalities', I've made an hour-long album that’s in the ‘Weird Al Yankovic’ style, parodying some of my favorite songs at the time,” Patel said. “I have no musical talents so this was made with some friends of mine who have them. And then in 2016, my friend and I sold a pilot to MTV 2 called ‘Rhyme and Reason’. [This was] a music show, where we made fun of music and lyrics.”
As far as future projects and collaborations go, Patel wants to work with pro athletes like football star Marshawn Lynch or basketball star Lebron James, among others.
“They'd be fun to cross genres of entertainment with, and work with someone that's not a comedian,” Patel said. “Maybe we could make a movie or create some sketches”.
For those looking to jumpstart a comedy venture for themselves, Patel has some invaluable advice to share.
“Get on stage often, write often, and apply discipline to whatever you are doing,” Patel said. “You can critique yourself, but not be mad at yourself for being flawed. Seize those opportunities, and you will improve.”
Come see Nimesh Patel perform at The Pageant this Sunday. According to him, it’s a way better use of your time than going to the City Museum or whatever else you may have planned.