The Most Races Show on Earth
Charleston needs a change. Not the kind of change that spreads a falsified narrative of unity through the nation but a real change. A sense of community, welcoming, oneness. A change that cant happen if we continue to only have these conversations in our same social circles. A change that brings all nationalities, ethnicities, and orientations together to help find that common foundation to truly begin to build. They say laughter is the best medicine so Neil Bansil decided to battle racism with a spoonful of laughter. We introduce the mastermind behind The Most RACES Show on Earth.
Who is Neil and when did you fall n love with your art?
My name is Neil Bansil and I am the creator/producer of North America’s best multicultural stand-up comedy show called, “The Most RACES Show on Earth!” I’m a Filipino guy, living in Charleston, SC looking for other Filipino people so that I can come by for dinner.
I started the Most RACES show in 2004, and it’s been a labor of love ever since. Comedy has been my passion since I was 18, and I love everything about it! It’s one of those things where I can spend hours working on something and totally lose track of time because it honestly is not work to me. I think more than anything, what I fell in love with in comedy was making people laugh. It’s the greatest feeling in the world to illicit an emotion like laughter and I look at it as a gift and something that I never take for granted.
Who or what, are your comedic inspirations?
Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle…each one inspired me in one way or another. I think the thing that is similar between all of them is that they all came from a place of authenticity. When you watched them, you knew that their perspectives were true to them and it was amazing to see how being ‘real’ resonated with all types of people. I think when comedians come from a place of truth and honesty, when they show vulnerability, you can’t help but connect with them.
Explain how The Most Races show came about?
I launched the first Most RACES Show in 2005 in Toronto, Canada, which is the largest multicultural city in the world. I created the show out of a need to be heard. At the time, me as well as other comedian friends of mine, who just happened to be comprised of all different ethnicities, felt that we weren’t getting the opportunities to perform on big stages. After receiving a rejection from a local comedy club, I decided then and there that I would put a show together myself. What happened next was truly amazing. The first Most RACES Show was able to sell out and it attracted an audience as diverse at the comedians who were on the show. Never before had a show been able to bring together so many different people from different backgrounds all in the same room. What I realized was that not only was "The Most RACES Show on Earth!” giving comedians the opportunity to speak their truths, but the audiences who came to the show were connected by laughter. It didn’t matter who was on stage. I remember looking out into the audience one night and seeing an orthodox Jewish couple sitting next to a Chinese crew, who were in front of a row of Jamaicans pointing at the sky and making gunshot noises. To me that was the coolest thing to see, and that’s what I wanted for every show.
What do you wish for the attendees to take away from the show?
By bringing diversity to the stage, our audiences get authentic perspectives and viewpoints from all different cultures. My goal is to show the commonality between people. The Most RACES Show on Earth! is about establishing connection between cultures. We just want to give people something authentic because that’s the only way we can start learning about each other, if we put all our issues on the table.
The Most RACES Show on Earth is needed NOW more than EVER. Everyday, I see a new news story about some racial incident or a politician comes out with blanket statement that insults a certain ethnic group or religion. The Most RACES Show on Earth! is my way of combatting these race issues. It puts diversity in the spotlight and highlights the fact that America is made up of many different cultures, and if you just took some time to listen, you might learn something. You might understand other peoples point of view, and be more tolerant of their customs.
At the end of the day, we just want people to hang out. Take a chance. Laugh together.