About Steve Bhaerman
aka Swami Beyondananda
Steve Bhaerman is an author, comedian, evolutionary solutionary, and “cosmic comic commentator.” For the past 36 years, he has been writing and performing comedy in the guise of Swami Beyondananda, whose work has been described as “comedy disguised as wisdom” and “wisdom disguised as comedy”. Author Marianne Williamson has called him the “Mark Twain of our times”, as Steve and Swami are dedicated to using humor to “heal the heart” and “free the mind.”
A New York native (“I spent my deformative years in a housing project in Brooklyn”), Steve earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brooklyn College, with a major in political science – although he admits he never actually got to dissect a politician in poly sci lab. He earned a Master of Arts in Teaching at Antioch-Putney, where his masters project was starting an alternative high school in Washington, D.C. He and fellow school founder Joel Denker authored a book about their experiences, No Particular Place to Go: Making of a Free High School (Simon & Schuster, 1972).
Steve later moved to Michigan, where he taught ethnic studies and labor history to auto workers at Wayne State University as part of the Weekend College. This was his dream job, until a “funny thing” happened. He got laid off to make room for tenured professors. This “unfortunate development” led him to a lifelong career in comedy! The only job he could get was as an equipment operator for the City of Ann Arbor Department of Parks and Forestry. It was there that another “funny thing happened”. He and co-worker Larry Kelsaw began publishing an anonymous humorous newsletter for their fellow workers (think “The Onion” 20 years before that paper appeared), and totally transformed the workplace. Not only did they use humor to tell inconvenient truths that couldn’t be told otherwise, but they also brought a sense of playfulness and novelty to an otherwise-dreary workplace. Imagine an ongoing, interactive situation comedy where life and art were intermixed!
Then in 1980, Steve and another friend Josh Pokempner, founded Pathways magazine in Ann Arbor, a pioneering monthly holistic publication where Swami got his start. The Swami quickly became the most popular feature in Pathways, and over the next four years, the Swami column was syndicated in numerous local publications as well as the national East West Journal. Late in 1984, Steve attended a life-changing workshop where he decided to pursue comedy as a “fool-time” career. Within months, he was performing as the Swami at a retreat in California, and his performance career was off and running.
Meanwhile, Steve and psychologist Don McMillan had written a book, Friends and Lovers: How to Meet the People You Want to Meet (Writer’s Digest, 1986) and as a result of what he learned, he met his “wife-partner” Trudy. Late in 1986, they sold or stored all their belongings, bought a brand-new van and state-of-the-art travel trailer, and launched the Swami and Trudy traveling road show.
Over the next two decades, Steve as Swami would author four books: Driving Your Own Karma, When You See a Sacred Cow Milk It for All It’s Worth, Duck Soup for the Soul, and Swami for Precedent: A 7-Step Plan to Heal the Body Politic and Cure Electile Dysfunction.
He also produced the comedy CDs, Yogi from Muskogee, Enlightening Strikes Again, Don’t Squeeze the Shaman, Beyondananda and Beyond, Drive Your Karma Curb Your Dogma, and Swami Beyondananda: Live in the Here and Now.
(Note: The best of all these works can be found digitally in Swami’s Unboxed Set)
Over the course of his career, the Swami has performed for “real” Swami’s like Swami Satchidananda, as well as national and international conferences. In 2011, he and Bruce Lipton did a special performance / presentation for Princess Martha of Norway.
Speaking of Bruce, Steve met Bruce in 2005 shortly after Bruce’s blockbuster book, Biology of Belief was published. Bruce and Steve began a conversation that led to their paradigm-busting book, Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There from Here, a book translated into more than 25 languages!
In 2019, Steve and Trudy celebrated their “Vinyl Anniversary” – 33 1/3 years as a “long-playing” couple!
And now, after three years of Zoom shows (“comedy without an audience … they have medication for that”), Steve and Trudy are back with a brand-new show “The Great Upwising: Beyondananda and Beyond” designed to bring diverse audiences together around heart-opening laughter and mind-expanding comedy. Steve is also committed to helping others use humor to heal us personally and collectively, and is offering a new online class, “Wake Up Laughing and Leave Laughter in Your Wake: Using Levity to Defy Gravity in Unfunny Times.”
Steve and Trudy are also working as “ambassadors” for the 12 Habits for All of Us, and the campaign to Make Public Kinship COOL in Washington, D.C. For the past two years, Steve has co-hosted a podcast with Michael Maxsenti, Front and Center – From Political Battlefields to Cooperative Playing Fields.