The Chicago Tribune once hailed Indian-American comedian and actress Sapna Kumar (who now lives in Los Angeles) as “Chicago´s answer to Margaret Cho.” Like Cho, Kumar pokes fun at immigrant assimilation-joking, for example, about her father asking for a “crappuccino” at Starbucks. “Performing for younger people who are just at the beginning of their coming out process is the most rewarding aspect of my work,” she says. “The students see an example in someone who came from a place like the state of Confusion (Indiana) and is now just being herself, as an out lesbian, as a performer and as a South Asian performer-which in this country, until a few years ago, was an oxymoron.” Kumar studied theater and creative writing at Purdue, where she met the woman she calls “my first heartache.” After that relationship ended, Kumar wrote a letter (which her mother found) “that said something along the lines of, ´Now that I´ve been dumped, can´t wait to meet all those hot women in Chi-Town!´” Mom, of course, didn´t take that well, though she eventually accepted her daughter´s orientation. “And my dad yelled at the TV screen one day, at the Republicans for being anti-gay, then looked over at me like, ´See. I get it!´ And they did, both of them, finally.” -GH
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