What that told me is that there’s a market for this kind of programming. In this day and age, I want to celebrate one of the things that truly makes America great: immigration. Sure, I can write Trump-bashing Facebook posts with the best of ’em, but I figured it’s time instead to channel my energy into something positive. So, I’m showcasing the First, Second, and Third Generations of immigrants to America. I’m starting with Indians, since I know so many, and then will move on to ethnic groups from everywhere.
I went full-time into stand-up comedy in 2006 and have been fortunate to perform all over the world. They say that drama is global and comedy is local. That may be true in terms of the specific references that resonate differently with audiences, but one thing that’s universal is that we all love to laugh. (There may be no greater feeling than getting that one very serious-looking, arms-crossed Indian Uncle in the front row finally to break open with a guffaw.) It is in this spirit that Azhar Usman and I co-created Make Chai Not War, a Hindu-Muslim comedy showcase that has taken us to eight cities across India and ten cities across America, most recently in September in Dallas. Dallas is in Texas–oh, wait, then that’s another country we toured. (I can say that – my wife’s a Texan.) We figured that if we can laugh together, then we can love together and maybe even live together.
Out of college and before I went into comedy, I worked in brand management at Procter & Gamble. We learned about winning the FMOT and the SMOT. (Boy, did we love our acronyms.) The First Moment of Truth is when the shopper chooses your product over your competitors’ and the Second Moment of Truth is when she actually uses the product and is delighted by the experience. Well, in comedy, the First Moment of Truth is when we write a joke and think it’s funny. We get that “A-ha!” moment. The Second Moment of Truth is when we tell it onstage and we find out that it actually is funny. (Funny’s whatever makes people laugh.) But if I may, the Third Moment of Truth is when somebody walks up to you and retells your own joke back to you, saying it resonated with his/her family or friends. That may be the highest level of satisfaction we as comedians can get – especially if the person who comes up to you is that now-not-so-serious, arms-uncrossed Indian Uncle.
Season One of What Do You Bring to The Table? contains 12 episodes with the penultimate episode with Ravi Patel just having dropped! Check it out, along with all of our previous episodes.
- Episode 1: Comedian Hasan Minhaj
- Episode 2: Spiritual Guru Deepak Chopra
- Episode 3: Comedian Aparna Nancherla
- Episode 4: Actor Aasif Mandvi
- Episode 5: Director Vikram Gandhi
- Episode 6: Beauty Influencer Deepica Mutyala
- Episode 7: Miss America Nina Davuluri
- Episode 8: Actor Utkarsh Ambudkar
- Episode 9: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy
- Episode 10: Songwriter Savan Kotecha
- Episode 11: Actor Ravi Patel
- Episode 12: Adult Actor Priya Rai (stay tuned!)
We hope to pitch Netflix or Amazon for Season Two. For now, Season One is being released on my YouTube Channel, Facebook Profile, and Facebook Page. Sure, that splits the view count, but we also reach more people.
It’d be awesome/cool/dope/lit/fueg/
Thank you to Indiaspora for your support!
Rajiv Satyal is a Los Angeles-based comedian/host. He has shared a stage with everyone from PM Narendra Modi to Jerry Seinfeld, from Dave Chappelle to Russell Peters, and has been featured on/in Amazon, NBC, NPR, Nickelodeon, Netflix, Spotify, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Variety.