"I want to be the funniest person in the room": After "Top Chef," Padma Lakshmi eyes stand-up comedy

"I don’t care about being the most beautiful woman in the room"

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published April 24, 2024 3:00PM (EDT)

Padma Lakshmi (Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
Padma Lakshmi (Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

In her new life after “Top Chef,” the series’ longtime former host Padma Lakshmi is attempting to cross over into a creative endeavor separate from fine dining and hosting — stand-up comedy. 

As Lakshmi told The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner in a new, wide-reaching profile, she anticipated that she would transition from “Top Chef” to the third season of her award-winning Hulu program “Taste the Nation,” but the streaming service has put the program on hold. But as she contemplates her next career move, Lakshmi has been spending time hosting various shows at the Comedy Cellar, which is close to her home, where she platforms “queer, nonwhite or non-male” comedians alongside Jesse David Fox. 

According to Rosner, Lakshmi has also tried her hand at improv and stand-up while on-stage as she is “learning learning how to be more of [her] wilder, wackier, zanier self” Her interest in comedy isn’t new; Lakshmi has taken classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade and appeared on “Saturday Night Live” last fall for a quick cameo (she received no feedback from longtime showrunner Lorne Michaels which, as Lakshmi said, “is great feedback”). 

Lakshmi is also reportedly in talks with filmmaker Paul Feig, who was behind films like “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat,” about a potential upcoming movie vehicle for her now-crystalizing comedic talents. 

"I don’t care about being the most beautiful woman in the room — I want to be the funniest person in the room,” Lakshmi told Rosner. “That’s who stays with you. Beauty is not an accomplishment, but wit is.

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