Harry W. Hart, known by the stage name Swami X, (November 1925, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—August 29, 2015, Los Angeles, California) was an American boardwalk performer and stand-up comedian. Active from the 1970s to 1985, he performed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and New York. He was known for bawdy sexual humor and political invective.
Swami X's act was a monologue mixing pithy sociopolitical observations with poetry, sarcasm and humor, which typically included blasphemy, profanity, and attacking "sacred cows"—producing "pleased shock and delighted outrage" in observers. His notable lines include:
- "Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. 'Yes' is the answer."
- "How do we know Jesus Christ was Jewish? Because he went into His Father's business."
- "If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself".
- "You are what you eat. If that's true, then I'm a nymphomaniac".
He was known for appearing on the Venice Boardwalk, at the UCLA and U.C. Berkeley campuses, in San Francisco, and at Washington Park in New York City. He retired in 1985. In 2009 the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, presented him with an official proclamation.
- "SWAMI X - Comedian". KCET website. 2010-03-25. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
- Campbell, Patricia J (1981). Passing the Hat - Street Performers in America. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 978-0-385-28771-5. OCLC 7461199.
- "Venice Beach Comic Swami X Is Dead at 89". L.A. Weekly. 1 September 2015.
- "Swami X Has Left the Building". Free Venice. Beachhead. 1 September 2015.
- Weiss, Stefanie Iris. (2010). Eco-sex : go green between the sheets and make your love life sustainable. New York: Ten Speed Press. p. 197. ISBN 978-1-58008-118-4.
- "Villaraigosa Honors Swami X; Blows Off Officially Running for Gov". The Venice Paper. 22 June 2009. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
- Simon, Roger L. (1986). The Straight Man. Villard Books. pp. 46, 88, 91. ISBN 978-0-394-55837-0.
- Hartman, Pat (2000). Call Someplace Paradise. Xlibris. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-7388-2005-7.
- Jeffrey Stanton, Venice California: 'Coney Island of the Pacific' (2005), page 273
- Spirit of Venice, California (contains an audio version of a spoken word performance by Swami X). Priority Records. March 10, 1992. ASIN B00000E7DU.
- Sweet William, 'X Swami X, The Sidewalk Comic', Los Angeles Times, Calendar Section, p. 170 (Dec. 23, 1979).
- Archive of blog postings by Swami X on the Free Venice Beachhead blog
- Video of Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa presenting Swami X with official proclamation and recounting his experiences with Swami X at UCLA in the early 1970s
- Excerpts Video of SWAMI X Performing on the Venice Beach Boardwalk 1981, taken from "STREET LIFE" the documentary film by Mark S Shepherd
- Brief article and recent photos of Swami X with quotations