Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor
It seems that Indian comedians are ascendant these days.
We saw that the first SNL monologue in the Trump Era was performed by Aziz Ansari, who hit a deep home run during a time of great anxiety for many around the world. His fellow Muslim Indian-American comedian, Hasan Minhaj, was on the mic at the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which did not include President Trump, who is a poor sport utterly lacking a sense of humor. Trump has no self-awareness and doesn’t want to admit it, but his bumbling around the corners of our federal government is pretty easy to make fun of.
For those of us who didn’t know much about the young and talented Minhaj, this is a good introduction. Minhaj carries the event well, despite some awkward half-hearted applauses. The writing and delivery are spot on in a pressure packed environment featuring top journalists, politicians, and celebrities. In this era of American darkness, we need more brown men to step up and poke fun at our leader- and our crumbling media landscape. They are two cracking pillars of an American society in rapid decline, right before our very eyes.
The first Saturday Night Live episode of the Trump era aired on 1/21/17, and there couldn’t possibly be a better host for this particular episode than a Muslim-American comedian. Aziz Ansari is both that and also an Indian-American, and he delivered an excellent monologue (above) that all Americans can appreciate.
Not surprisingly, it was Trump-centric, and Aziz nailed it. “Pretty cool to know that he’s probably sitting at home watching a brown guy make fun of him though,” he said at the beginning. Aziz also gave a shout-out to the Women’s March, and described a phenomenon all of us are now witnessing, the kkk (“with a small k”) racism that’s crept up in the last few years, emboldened by Trump’s rise.
Piercing through the laugh, Aziz also voices hope. We applaud Aziz Ansari for a memorable monologue during a historic time.
Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor
One of the great tragedies of our lifetimes is the continued enmity and hatred between India and Pakistan in modern times, despite their having so much in common. When I went to Pakistan to see for myself what that country was about, I was so shocked by the truth that it changed my life. Since then I have been on something of an obsessive messianic mission, despite outright impossible odds, to explain to both Indians and Pakistanis that closer friendship would be exceedingly easy and beneficial to both sides. Too often the media would rather talk about terrorism or “surgical strikes” instead. And the subcontinent has never recovered from the violence of 1947 and its aftermath.
In the above video, All India Bakchod (AIB) did something novel: a film crew in Pakistan and a film crew in India coordinated and had random people in one country talk on the phone with random people in the other country on independence day, which is the same for both nations. “We found out why Indians and Pakistanis should never talk to each other,” says AIB. This video pretty much made me laugh and cry at the same time.
Producers: AIB, Mansi Multani
Production Assistants: Aakash Mehta, Nikhil Pai, Vaibhav
DOPs: Soham Hundekar, Saiyam Wakchaure
Sound: Harish, Gopal
Line Producer: Vikram
Editor – Shashwata Dutta
Online – Mihir Lele
Producer – Khaula Jamil (Humans of Karachi)
DOP – Zeest Shabbir
Sound – Huma Murad Shah
(SZABIST & Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture)
I saw this video making the rounds on WhatsApp, and the premise of this gentleman Dr. Anuj Srivastava’s little lecture is intriguing: why are Indian media outlets so derogatory? That they spew lots of hatred is certainly true. And the video starts out with a calm and intelligent tone that led me to believe this might be an interesting few minutes and I might even learn something.
However, the good doctor’s explanations are absolutely batshit crazy! To take just one example that really caught my attention, he claims without any evidence that CNN-News18, the CNN India partnership formerly known as CNN-IBN, is funded by the “Southern Baptist Church,” and that is why the channel is anti-Indian, anti-Hindu, liberal, and leftist. One by one, he claims that all of India’s major news outlets, including NDTV, the Times group, the Hindu, and India Today are all totally compromised by foreign governments or religious groups. Just a tiny bit of research would show that the Southern Baptist Church has nothing to do with CNN-News18. Why in God’s name would they want to sponsor that news channel? Also, this doctor does not practice in the US though the video would have you believe he is based there. I am not doubting his medical abilities here.
You must watch this video, and not just for a good laugh. There is no doubting Dr. Srivastava’s sincerity. There is no better example of the Indian society’s biggest faults on display: a penchant for batshit crazy conspiracy theories, whining, and blaming anyone else except themselves for India’s massive problems 70 years after the British abandoned India.
Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor
I am a real human. I live in India. I love India and Narendra Modi (NaMo) for his vision for a clean, developed and economically vibrant India. I also love beef, pork, sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling and rock’ n roll (in no specific order).
MoNa will now take your questions!!! Today, we have the second-ever installment of the MoNa series known as MoNa Ki Baat. Stay tuned for more from MoNa in the near future.
My late grandfather, who started my family’s business over 60 years ago, said to never show our net worth publicly, or we would be bankrupted. So, in spite of being able to afford to drive a new BMW every year, I choose to ride a scooter around town. Myself and my cousins all work in the family business of jewellery and we are well known in our temple town. We never cheat a paying customer out of the goods purchased and our gold is the purest in a 50 KM radius. God has been kind, Gold has been Gold and our family business has flourished.
Like many, our store deals in mostly cash. Nearly all customers pay in cash. Separately, we must pay government officials, the local Hindu temple, and an assortment of cops and “goondas” for permits, licenses, delivery rights, physical bodily protection, smooth flow of utilities, and to avoid sham investigations and inspections into our property. In fact, I have retained a broker on staff whose job is to handle these negotiations and payments, along with debt collections. You may not be surprised to hear, he is a non-vegetarian and also black belt in karate and Silambam.
DeMo has come as a shock to the family. Our family dark room contains briefcases full of cash and an assortment of other valuables. One of the reasons we have survived in business so long is by hiding our stockpiles of cash from the bankers, who are all sharing the bed with politicians, bureaucrats, and the assortment of cops and “goondas” in my town who would expect my payments to increase to unsustainable levels beyond the legal taxes.
B.Com is not preparing us for this! Please provide the needful guidance, whatever you think is best.
– Satya Satyanarayanan, Undisclosed location, SOUTH INDIA
Your dad should have named you Suppandi. You have done everything wrong other than being in the business of Gold, but, since that was your grandfather’s doing, you can’t even take credit for that, Suppandi.
Here’s what you do –
Word of caution on your new life and a new set of creatures you will see called MBAs who will try to sell you on a concept called “cashless”. Make them believe that you are in awe of their brilliance and maybe even invest in their businesses which they call “fintech”. But, you keep your business the way it is. You can tell who your real friends, customers and associates are when they say – “Cash only, please”. Your real real friends will say – “US Dollars or Swiss Francs only, please”.
All the best, my dear Suppandi. I am available for that party and will collect my attendance fee in gold only, please. The hidden cameras are only active up until I arrive, fashionably late of course. 😉
I am a real human. I live in India. I love India and Narendra Modi (NaMo) for his vision for a clean, developed and economically vibrant India. I also love beef, pork, sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling and rock’n’roll (in no specific order).
MoNa will now take your questions!!! Today, we have the first installment of the MoNa series known as MoNa Ki Baat. Stay tuned for more from MoNa in the near future.
The Honorable Supreme Court has decreed that every patriotic Indian has to stand for the National Anthem before every movie. I support the notion of national symbols and ritualistic following of these symbols in public gatherings to inculcate a feeling of one-ness among fellow citizens. However, I am struggling with a conundrum and I need your advice.
I have begun to enjoy movie while high since I have found through rigorous experimentation i.e. watching several movies while sober, drunk and after stoned (and also alcohol/weed combos), that the experience of the movie is the most superior when watched after smoking half a joint (and no alcohol). I found the experience to be so uniquely good that I am now not interested in enjoying the movies any other way. I must go on to add that at no point in time, have I ever been a nuisance to anybody in the theatre nor have I ever damaged any public property unlike many people walking the streets under the influence of alcohol. But, that’s beside the point and a topic for a future debate.
I also sing the National Anthem with fervour at any opportunity I get. Each time I sing the National Anthem in the company of my fellow Indians, it has renewed my wish to see India and Indians prosper and be happy. Each time I have sung the National Anthem, I have also been acutely reminded of the challenges facing our great nation which has almost always caused an onset of a sombre mood.
Now, my conundrum. So, here I am – a patriotic Indian, love my country, will sing and stand erect for the National Anthem at the drop of a hat and I am stoned in anticipation of a good movie experience. I am afraid that post the mandatory Anthem, which I will surely sing aloud, I will fail to enjoy the movie because of the inevitable tinge of sadness that I will feel. I am also paranoid that I might turn into one of the patriots who ask people that don’t stand for the Anthem to leave the theatre.
What should I do? Unfortunately for me, while I believe that I am as much as a patriot as anyone, I cannot/will not sacrifice my pleasures for the sake of my country like our Honourable Prime Minister has.
Mahri Jann, Ootakamandalam, Tamil Nadu, INDIA
Dear Mahri Jann:
I must say that your problem seems to be caused by extreme patriotism and you don’t seem to be the demography which the Honourable Supreme Court was talking about while framing this judgement. Surely you agree with me that people who are Indian citizens should never forget their Indian-ness and what better way than to make them hear the National Anthem frequently. The Honourable Court must be aware that people have stopped attending public events organized by schools, colleges and government organizations in favour of spending their time in pursuing frivolous pastimes like watching movies. Hence, playing the National Anthem in the theatres would be a good way to achieve the goal.
The easiest solution to your problem would be for you to leave and find another place where you can enjoy the movies without having to hear/sing the Anthem. I hear California has good weather and will also have the added benefit from next year of legal marijuana. However, this would be the same as the solution for beef-eaters to go to Pakistan. Though, I wonder why Pakistan and not Argentina or Australia which has the best beef available. I guess because the non-beef eaters who suggested that the beef-eaters go to Pakistan suffered from the same affliction that Modiji suffered from when he forgot about all those weddings in the demonetization announcement. Also, the same affliction suffered by the bureaucrats who allowed 2.5Lac for weddings, albeit in a lesser degree.
I digress. Leaving the country is never an option since no country is perfect as the election of Donald Trump has proven. Give it time for our government, our judiciary and our police to all understand that achieving “one-ness” at the cost of “uniqueness/diversity” is not the right way forward. Till that time, I have the following suggestions:
I came across this video yesterday and could not stop laughing. I see this young man “Jignesh” and his sidekick as rising stars in Indian-American comedy. In this video, they do something that takes some pretty serious courage.
This is one of these times where no editorial is necessary…
I should probably begin this review of Aziz Ansari’s new show by unpacking my strong anti-Aziz bias for some years. This bias was a product of multiple things, some of which are admittedly unfair because they are personal in nature: (1) People sincerely mistake me for Aziz regularly, especially when I rock a little stubble, which can get really annoying; (2) I had an 11-year career at NYC Parks & Recreation and also grew up in Indiana for 7 years, prompting many people who know I’m not Aziz Ansari to compare me to his character Tom Haverford on the NBC hit show (“You’re Aziz Ansari!”); (3) Despite my background (mine real, his fake) I did not find said hit show Parks & Recreation funny or interesting at all, nor Ansari’s role in it, although many people inform me I gave up on it too soon; (4) I found Ansari’s standup comedy to be long litanies of un-funny cliches and crude slapstick; (5) I hold Indians in American media to unfairly high standards partially due to their lack of representation, my unfulfilled desire to idolize someone in it, and my own aspiration to be a voice in it; and (6) On top of all this SO many people like Aziz Ansari, especially girls I know or go on dates with.
They constantly ask me my opinion of him as a thirty-something Indian-American living in New York till I say I honestly am not a big fan. Then I have to explain why, after which (too predictably) the non-Indian girls especially would look at me, puzzled and like, almost hurt. Wait, don’t you, Bobby Jindal, Mahatma Gandhi, and Aziz Ansari HAVE to stick together at least in my head?
After hearing friends, family, and even strangers on the subway encourage me to give his new show a try, I did so with my best friend, sister, and cousin. We all LOL’d. My opinion changed in one fell swoop with the release of the new Netflix show, Master of None. For the first time, I thoroughly respect Aziz Ansari and am even looking forward to additional seasons, having completed the first season. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry