Yadunath’s Journey To The Festival Of Inspiration

From ISKCON News Weekly

Performing at ISKCON’s annual Festival of Inspiration this May for the seventh time in a row, professional comedian Yadunath Dasa is a ball of energy and edgy humor. His distinctive New Jersey accent booms out over the sound system as he simultaneously plays on the audience’s familiarity with internal ISKCON quirks and throws them unexpected curveballs, plunging them into waves of hysterical laughter.

Perhaps misguidedly, I expect to interview the same character—someone loud, gregarious, and delivering an incessant flow of punchlines.

What I get is a Yadunath who looks the same as he does onstage—small and wiry, smiley, and at 47, possessed of eternally youthful features. But this man is also thoughtful, almost quiet, careful in his answers and very genuine, both in his general attitude and in the depth of his feelings for spiritual life. “When I’m on stage, I have no qualms about being ‘big,’” he says. “But it’s a little uncomfortable for me when people want me to perform offstage too. Sometimes devotees will say stuff like, “I’m not letting you past here unless you tell me a joke.” I usually tense up when that happens, because I don’t have any back-pocket stuff. I don’t really tell jokes, like ‘a Hare Krishna and a Buddhist walk into a bar.’”

Born Joe DeGise II in New Jersey, where he still lives, Yadunath started his theater career early, putting on shows for his grandparents…

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