L.A. comedian Neel Nanda dies, just days after 34th birthday

L.A. comic Neel Nanda stands with four others at his last headlining show Dec. 16 at Jokers Theatre & Comedy Club in Toronto.
L.A. comic Neel Nanda, far left, at his last headlining show, held Dec. 16 at Jokers Theatre & Comedy Club in Toronto. He’s pictured with, from left, Ruthie Miller, Andrew Taranowski, Mario Adrion and Jas Dhanda.
(Jokers Theatre & Comedy Club)

Just nine days ago, Los Angeles comic Neel Nanda was headlining a Toronto comedy club for the first time, cracking up the crowd and inviting fans to help celebrate his birthday weekend with him downtown after the show.

“He made our audiences smile and so happy,” Jokers Theatre & Comedy Club owner Dave Curran said Sunday, still shocked by the news filtering through the stand-up community: Nanda, who had just turned 34, was dead.

For the record:

10:06 a.m. Jan. 1, 2024An earlier version of this article misstated comedian Neel Nanda’s age when he died. He was 34, not 32.

“At this point all I can do is confirm, yes, unfortunately my client of over 11 years has passed,” manager Greg Weiss told The Times on Sunday. Time and cause of death were not given, and at the request of Nanda’s family and girlfriend, no other details were being released, Weiss said, adding that Nanda was a great comic, friend and “fantastic human being.”

An outpouring of grief from his friends and fellow comics noted that DeForest, a native of Springfield, Missouri, was known for his kindness and positive personality.

Dec. 14, 2023

Nanda may not have been a household name, Curran said, but he had achieved notable success, with a strong number of club bookings and more than 100,000 followers on Instagram. The comic had appeared on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and Comedy Central’s “Adam Devine’s House Party,” and in January he was featured on “Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents.”


Clips promoting Nanda’s appearances at Jokers centered on the comic’s Indian heritage and growing up in Atlanta with immigrant parents.

“I only met him six months ago, but after a day or two he has the ability to make you feel like you’ve known him for years,” said Curran, who booked Nanda because he had an “it factor.” Curran said he and Nanda went from “strangers to feeling like friends over 24 hours. He does that with audiences too.”

As news of Nanda’s death spread through the L.A. comedy community, tributes flowed. “RIP Neel Nanda, a great comic who built a whole comedy scene in Santa Monica nearly single-handedly and always gave his all and was welcoming to everyone,” comic John Roy wrote on X.

Dana Carvey says his son Dex Carvey has died of an accidental overdose. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Dex loved life,” the comedian said.

Nov. 16, 2023