Swami X

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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.[1][2]


Hart was born in mid-November 1925 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He died at age 89 on August 29, 2015 at the home of former Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl.[3][4]


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.[2] His notable lines include:

  • "Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. 'Yes' is the answer."[5]
  • "How do we know Jesus Christ was Jewish? Because he went into His Father's business."[2]
  • "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.[1] In 2009 the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, presented him with an official proclamation.[6]

Swami X appears as a character in Roger L. Simon's mystery novel, The Straight Man[7] and is referenced in Pat Hartman's volume of Venice vignettes, Call Someplace Paradise.[8][self-published source]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "SWAMI X - Comedian". KCET website. 2010-03-25. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Campbell, Patricia J (1981). Passing the Hat - Street Performers in America. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 978-0-385-28771-5. OCLC 7461199.
  3. ^ "Venice Beach Comic Swami X Is Dead at 89". L.A. Weekly. 1 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Swami X Has Left the Building". Free Venice. Beachhead. 1 September 2015.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ Simon, Roger L. (1986). The Straight Man. Villard Books. pp. 46, 88, 91. ISBN 978-0-394-55837-0.
  8. ^ Hartman, Pat (2000). Call Someplace Paradise. Xlibris. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-7388-2005-7.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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).

External links[edit]