Is he for real? Don't make me laugh
The trouble with writing about comedians is they steal all your lines.
Take this guy Swami Beyondananda-– he’s got so many aliases that writing a headline seems impossible. How can you one-up for cuteness a guy who goes by “The Yogi from Muskogee,” claims to be a former “Harley Krishna,” and wants to be your “Guru for Ho-ho-holy Hee-hee-healing?”
Scanning his bio, a minefield of high-quality puns, we learn that Beyondananda was a troubled youth often caught getting high in class (levitating,) and urging his fellow boy-scouts into 12 different kinds of knots (yoga). He speaks with a chronically bad east Indian accent, the result of an infection brought on when his kundalini exploded in a crowded supermarket.
I wondered, Who is this guy? I wondered, Does he have, like, followers? I wondered, Do you have to play it straight to be a Swami?
I went to Quest Bookshop to ask Kay Alison.
Kay told me his name is Steve and laughed at me for asking if he’s a real Swami. Then she gave me his book, which is called Driving Your Own Karma and features Swami Beyondananda wearing a rainbow wig and looking like the host of an educational Uzbek TV spoof.
In his “Tour Guide to Enlightenment,” Swami takes us by some of his favorite spots, such as the TV easy chair, where you can have a transcendental encounter with TV Guide who will help you “tune into your program.” He also introduces the masters of such spiritual schools as Confusionism, Rhythm-Methodism, and Dog Healing.
It’s a little Richard Simmons, a lot of Groucho Marx, a hint of Father Guido Sarducci, and my Crazy Uncle Louie thrown into the mix. (Though, true to form, Swami’s back jacket blurb tops my characterization with “a cross between Ram Dass and Haagen Dazs.”)
OK, now here’s where I plug Swami Beyondananda (aka Steve) as a visionary who has tethered the wings of laughter and tapped the pulse of popular culture to deliver an important message of spiritual growth and harmony. This is where I hazard a guess that Beyondananda is a sage for our times. This is where I tell you that under the hi-jinx wordplay of Driving Your Own Karma is a serious message that will touch your soul and change your life.
But you know what? I think you have to play it a lot straighter to write that book.
And Swami don’t play that.
The self-described “rare medium, well-done,” will provide an evening of cosmic comedy Sunday, September 7 at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road. 7pm. Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 in advance from the Quest Bookshop. 295-3377. See Performance feature, page 37.