On Monday night, Hari Kondabolu '04 performed his stand-up comedy for a national television audience on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." He claims, however, that he is still missing a major accomplishment: During his Bowdoin years as a WBOR 91.1 FM DJ and station manager, Kondabolu was never DJ of the Week.

As bitter as Kondabolu is that it took national television to recognize this oversight, he acknowledges how surreal it was to appear on Kimmel's show. He even fell back on an old joke about butterflies and pregnancy.

"I wrote it for my high school election speech when I was 16," he said. "The reason I wanted to win so badly was so I could have a comedy night my senior year. I didn't think it would find its way on to national TV."

Kondabolu shared the show with William Shatner, but nerves kept him from meeting the actor.

"I was nervous as hell in my dressing room. I was too busy freaking out," Kondabolu said. "If I met him, the level of absurdity would just be tenfold."

Besides appearing on Kimmel's show, Kondabolu has been performing stand-up in Seattle and working at Hate Free Zone, an organization founded after September 11 to help immigrant communities.

"I used college to teach myself to be as well-rounded a person as possible in terms of social justice," Kondabolu said. "That's what I wanted to do: be a social justice advocate. I found Hate Free Zone in Seattle, and the work is depressing and tiring, but inspiring when it works out."

Kondabolu continued, "I had to do something at night to balance that. I missed stand-up like crazy."

Kondabolu's college experience as a comic prepared him for the scene in Seattle and people were surprised at his quick development. He performed at various clubs with regular spots at the Comedy Underground, and also did his routine at Bumbershoot, Seattle's music and arts festival.

After seeing him at Bumbershoot, HBO asked Kondabolu to audition live in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Kondabolu is now scheduled to perform at HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado.

"I made art I believed in and it worked," Kondabolu said. "What's great is that I did it the way I wanted to do it."

While spending his junior year at Wesleyan University developed Kondabolu as a "scholar and an artist" because of the campus's politics and a thriving art scene, Bowdoin provided Kondabolu with the audience to hear that art. Kondabolu left for Wesleyan as a sophomore, but word of mouth made his audience even larger when he returned to Bowdoin as a senior.

"I felt I had a certain role to play [at Bowdoin] as both a student and an educator of race and diversity," Kondabolu said. "There were certain incidents that stung a lot, but that's true anywhere in the world. In the long run, it made me a stronger person, and the positive outweighs the negative without a doubt."

Though Kondabolu graduated in 2004, current students know and respond to his comedy. He founded Ironic T-shirt, Bowdoin's sketch comedy group, and sees it as "something I left there that lasted. It's not a building, but still."

Last year, Harry Schnur '08 organized a show for Kondabolu at MacMillan House. Kondabolu planned for a short routine, but "ended up babbling for an hour and a half. I tried out so much new material, and it just felt like I was at home," he said.

On April 10, Kondabolu and Cambodian refugee Many Uch will be back on campus to screen "Sentenced Home," a documentary about Uch and other refugees who faced retroactive deportation for crimes they committed in the United States, even though they served their time. Uch, who arrived in America at age eight, was detained for two and a half years without ever seeing a judge. Kondabolu and Uch will hold a panel after the screening and speak about comprehensive immigration reform. On April 11, Kondabolu will perform a stand-up show for the campus.

"Many introduces me as a comedian at the most inappropriate times," Kondabolu said. "We call ourselves 'Laugh Now, Cry Later.'"

Kondabolu may have cried at his last show as a Bowdoin student because "[I] knew I was going to be unemployed and living at home," but ultimately he left campus with a laugh. Getting his diploma proved to be comical.

"I forgot where we were and Barry Mills went to hand me my diploma and I just put my hand on his shoulder and said, 'How ya doing, Barry?'" Kondabolu said. "I sat down and thought, 'Did that really just happen?'"