Named Twitter’s most influential tweeter by indie research group Twitalyzer earlier this year, Brazilian standup comedy pioneer and TV personality Rafinha Bastos boasts 3.5 million followers. Though suspended from “The Daily Show”-style news mag “CQC” in September following a disagreement caused by an offensive joke, Bastos is preparing to launch a career as a comedian and actor in the U.S.

According to the 6-foot 7-inch comic, he hatched the idea for his future while attending Chadron State College in Nebraska, where he received a basketball scholarship. “It was there that I fell in love with standup comedy,” he says. “In the meantime, I began to post short parodies of music clips on my website and blog for my friends in Brazil.”

Back home, Bastos co-founded Brazil’s first standup comedy group in Sao Paulo, later opening a club called Comedians. In 2006, he began a successful solo standup career, using social media as his main publicity tool. Bastos is now focused on a nationwide standup tour and writing a comic novel, “The World’s Most Influential Person,” in which he narrates how he influenced events, such as God’s creation of the world, the first moon landing and the death of Amy Winehouse.