Is this presidency slowly eroding our democracy into fascism?
Well – there has been a lot of disturbing moments from our current presidency that would make you say “eh, probably,” so – on this episode of The Best PRESIDENCY EVER, we’ve gathered our favorite funny people to evaluate these milestones and decide if these moments are the result of the mishandlings of an underqualified president OR intentional decisions to slowly move our country into a dictatorship? (or maybe its both!? Weeee!!)
Sean Spicer claims that Trump’s Inauguration was the most viewed Inauguration in presidential history [FALSE]
lol, this isn’t true. You can tell from a side-by-side comparison of President Trump’s 2017 Inauguration vs. President Obamas 2019 Inauguration.
When Sean Spicer was criticized for his false statement, Kellyanne Conway came to his rescue and claimed that the (now former) White House Press Secretary was giving “alternative facts.” Little did we know, this would be one of the milder pieces of “alternative” information the public would receive during Trump’s presidency.
Trump appointing Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education
Despite the fact (I repeat: FACT) Betsy DeVos having ZERO experience actually working in a school, Trump picked her to make all the decisions that DIRECTLY IMPACT SCHOOLS. GAHH!!!
Trump calling the CNN “fake news”
The only thing scarier than the president calling a fact-checking, source-citing news organization that millions of Americans rely on for credible information “fake”? A president that shares a meme of himself punching that news organization in the face.
Prior to Trump’s presidency, the term “fake news” was reserved for things that lacked basic journalistic vetting, but thanks to Trump, “fake news” can be applied to anything he doesn’t want to have perceived as factual (for example: the deadliness of COVID-19)
ABOUT BEST PRESIDENCY EVER
This show looks at the funniest (and most disturbing) moments from the current presidency. Watch every episode here:
Produced By: Funny Or Die in partnership with philanthropists Marci Rosenberg and Henry R. Muñoz, III.
Head consultant: Dave Thomason
Consultant: Jocelyn Richard
Consultant: Miles Grose
DP: Sebastian Jungwirth
Graphics: Joe Humpay
Line Producer: Brenda Blair
Post Supervisor: Pam Zamoscianyk
Consulting Producer: Karen Hamilton
Researcher: Pablo Goldstein
Production Manager: Jonathan Burns
Best Presidency Ever is produced by Funny Or Die in partnership with philanthropists Marci Rosenberg and Henry R. Muñoz, III. Executive producers include Joel Stein, Marci Rosenberg, Henry R. Muñoz, III, Mike Farah, Joe Farrell, Kimball Stroud and Brian Toombs. Isaac Feder is the showrunner and executive producer.
The Cooties are BACK with another funny hit – but this time, their silly song has a wild twist.
You’re probably thinking, “wait, the song is titled ‘Raisins’ – how twisted can it be?!” Well, it starts with a person trying to fix their satellite TV, falling off their roof (whoops!), breaking their spine (whoa), AND THEN BECOMING COMPLETELY PARALYZED – and the song has just begun.
Satellite TV is on the fritz
So you climb up to the roof to
Fidget with dish
You slip and fall and
then you break your spine
Now you’ll never walk again
Well you know what they say
You know what they say,
you know what they say
Maybe this will brighten your day
Everything happens for a reason
Everything happens for a reason baby
Everything happens for a reason
The saying we were raised on
Everything goes good with raisins
Everything goes good with raisin baby
Everything goes good with raisins
The raisins we were raised on
Everybody loves Raymond
Everybody’s loving their Raymond baby
Everybody loves Raymond
The Raymond we were raised on
Everybody loves Milanos
Everybody’s loving Milano cookies
Everybody loves Milanos
Te amo, te amo
Te amo Milano
The cookie of our generation
ABOUT THE COOTIES
The Cooties are a comedy band based out of Los Angeles. After forming in 2016, they won Best TV Pilot 2017 at L.A Indie Film Fest and they were named one of the New Faces of Comedy at the 2017 Just For Laughs festival. Since then The Cooties have performed at The Kennedy Center, on Conan, JFL42 Toronto, and more. They are releasing new music and videos throughout 2020 so subscribe, follow and email your one cool cousin.
Okay, sure – there are a lot of successful “hot people” with content lacking substance on TikTok – but let’s not act like this issue is exclusive to TikTok. This is a problem on every platform.
However – the cool thing about TikTok is that it is still a relatively new platform, which means creators have a unique opportunity to go viral and grow an audience. And guess what? Not only have hot people discovered this and become successful on TikTok, but so have comedians!! YAY!!!
If you like Kristen Wigg and Tina Fey, you’re going to want to start binging Kris’ content ASAP. She is delightfully funny – doing sketches that reminisce on awkward childhood memories, the funny moments within parent-child relationships, and content that was adored by Gen Z and Millennials. Is there an age minimum for working at Saturday Night Live? I hope not – because they’d be lucky to have her.
Political humor is never easy to do, but Alex Collyard executes it ✨flawlessly.✨ The cool thing about Alex – even though his humor is pretty spicy, he doesn’t make jokes just to get a reaction or to say the most edgy/quotable/viral thing – he bases his humor in truth and isn’t afraid to be silly with it, which makes his (what could be polarizing) political humor extremely relatable and funny. Though we are living in a country and political climate that is becoming harder and harder to make fun of, Alex’s humor finds a way to satirize current events hilariously AND without downplaying the seriousness of whatever he’s covering. Hey Daily Show – if you’re looking to add another corespondent to your team, Alex is your guy.
They say if you’re truly a great comedian, you can work with anyone and create successful comedy – and Vanessa Simeon is living proof of this. Vanessa works at a convenience store in the Midwest and recruits her everyday customers to help her make extremely viral and funny sketches. She makes moments from everyday life extraordinarily funny. Why doesn’t she have a Snapchat show? (Or a show in general!) We need to change this.
With all the hate, bigotry, and intolerance escalating around the world and in our own country, it’s easy to find yourself disillusioned and discouraged about the state of humanity. But, when bad things happen, it’s important to remember to “look for the helpers,” as Fred Rogers famously said.
Well, this latest helper is more than that, he is a true hero.
Meet Michael Rich. He’s a marketing assistant in Boston.
Michael, like many Americans, commutes to and from work via public transit. Usually it’s a pretty uneventful ride, and as Michael sat aboard the train in a handicap-designated seat (because there were no other seats available so it’s fine), the trip home on Monday night seemed, at first, like any other. But after a few stops, as the train started to empty, he saw a young Muslim woman being verbally harassed to a brutal degree by a middle-aged white man who had just boarded, for a considerable amount of time. At least half the ride. Somewhere in the ballpark of, say, 15 to 20 minutes.
He seethed about what had just transpired all the way from the station to his apartment. How could this have happened in the year 2020? And in America?! Isn’t this the home of the free?! And no one did anything?! Horrible! As soon as he got home, he knew what he had to do. He promptly opened his laptop, hopped on Facebook, and typed the most moving, heartfelt status about it, voicing his disgust with the racism he witnessed just mere feet from him, for —once again— at least a good 15 minutes.
Well said, Michael. Bravo.
It would have been so easy for him to ignore a heinous act of racial violence like this and go about his night as usual. But that’s not Michael. No, instead, he stepped in and took action, writing a heartfelt and emotional Facebook status about it that surely made all his other white Facebook friends shake their heads and go, “How awful!” before scrolling further down their newsfeed.
And, folks, he is so right! It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we DO need to do better as a nation to combat racism and to protect the people in this country who suffer from it every single day. That’s why it’s so important for you to stand up and write social media posts like this so other people know you are not a racist, and therefore not part of the problem. So get out there! Tell the world about the heart-wrenching act of racism you stood by and had to witness! If we want to see change, we have to start being that change, just like Michael Rich.
Today, we celebrate the storied career of EGOT winner, and general badass, Rita Moreno. The first Latina to win the Oscar, Rita was (and still is) a Hollywood trailblazer.
Join us and Momento Latino for Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event, a special devoted to celebrating this country’s diversity, focusing on Latinx culture. This exploration of the Latinx experience as told by Latinx voices will feature musical performances, comedy pieces, docu-shorts, and star-studded appearances, all to honor the contributions by, and bring joy, awareness, and aid to the Latinx community – just like Rita’s.
Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event airs Monday, October 26th 9:00 PM ET/PT only on CBS.
It’s October which means it’s Spooky Season! This year, though, Spooky Season encompasses not just ghosts and ghouls and Halloween, but also the really truly terrifying stuff. Like the fact we’re teetering on the edge of a complete dictatorship (with illegal, fake drop boxes and “poll watchers” we’re definitely making a steady descent), less than a month away from the election that will decide the future of democracy in this country — as in, whether democracy will exist or not.
For what it’s worth, if you look at who Trump’s cronies are, like Jared Kushner and Rudy Giuliani, we could mention “ghosts and ghouls” a second time.
In news that doesn’t want to make me stress-drink at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and hyperventilate into a paper bag, Spooky Season also means that it’s once again time for The Simpsons Halloween special, “Treehouse of Horror”. The teaser for this year’s special, which dropped earlier this week, takes a different approach from previous years. Instead of haunted houses or visits from Kodos and Kang, the teaser sees Homer in a voting booth.
Because, as we’ve discussed, what the hell is scarier than this election.
Homer begins hemming and hawing about which presidential candidate to vote for, but he doesn’t contemplate for very long before Lisa, donning a mask (atta girl!), appears in the booth to remind her dad of all the heinous shit Trump is responsible for over the last four years, like “Pulled out of the US Climate Agreement” and “Allowed bounties on soldiers” and “Described Meryl Streep as ‘overrated’”. Although the rolling text didn’t even cover the half of it, this Reader’s Digest of Trump’s four years in office was enough for Homer to make his decision.
Check out “Treehouse of Horror XXXI” this Sunday, October 18, on Fox.
Julie Bowen is not only one of the busiest working actors, but she’s also a mom of three. Between work and her homelife — she’s desperate for strong connections and interesting conversation without interruption. Some “Me Time.” And she’s found the perfect spot to enjoy it – her Cadillac XT6.
Comedian and actress Retta joins Julie as they discuss their different approaches to charity events, shared love of the Italian language, and just how insanely smart crows are…like, to a ridiculously terrifying degree. They may have only met once before, but these two are women who know themselves, and we all feel like we just left a girls night that we never wanted to end.
Funny Or Die is extremely proud and honored to present Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event, an upcoming one-hour entertainment special in partnership with Momento Latino, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, and Global Philanthropy.
This fantastic entertainment special, produced and hosted by Eva Longoria along with co-hosts Gloria Estefan and Ricky Martin, will be broadcast Monday, Oct. 26 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and will also be available to stream live and on-demand on CBS All Access.
The Latinx community has been deeply impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and has, and continues to play an indispensable part in fighting COVID-19 in America.
Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event will be a special devoted to celebrating this country’s diversity, focusing on Latinx culture. This exploration of the Latinx experience as told by Latinx voices will feature musical performances, comedy pieces, docu-shorts, and star-studded appearances, all to honor the contributions by, and bring joy, awareness, and aid to the Latinx community.
Performers and participants will be announced closer to air, so be sure to check back for updates!
For more information about Momento Latino, click here.
“We created Momento Latino because we understand the challenges that Latinos in America face every day, and we knew we had to bring together a national infrastructure of opportunity to move the community forward into the future,” said Henry R. Muñoz III, founder of Momento Latino.
For more information about Global Philanthropy Group, click here.
ESSENTIAL HEROES: A MOMENTO LATINO EVENT is created by Henry R. Muñoz III. The special is produced by Funny Or Die, Momento Latino, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment and Global Philanthropy. Executive producers are Henry Muñoz for Momento Latino; Eva Longoria and Ben Spector for UnbeliEVAble Entertainment; Global Philanthropy; and Mike Farah, Joe Farrell, Jim Ziegler, Moira Noriega, Gloria Medel Solomons and R.A. Clark for Funny Or Die. The special is directed by Ron de Moraes.
Johnno and Michael thought they were joining a club, but it turns out – they accidentally joined a CULT!!
I mean, the boys should’ve been more suspicious when a man named John Henry Boone casually trespassed into their home and bribed them into joining The People’s Club (also – isn’t there a cult called The People’s Temple? What a weird coincidence!), but hey – Johnno just got fired, Michael doesn’t have anything better to do, and John Henry Boone is pretty charismatic – so they decide to give the cult – I mean club – a try!
At first, they’re having a pretty good time: Johnno and Michael get a new set of clothes AND a new set of friends (and as an adult – it can be SO HARD to make new friends!). Sure, none of their new friends seems particularly excited about their presence (especially once John Henry Boone names the two his new “favorites”), but nonetheless, they have new clothes, new friends, are are “favorites” – things are looking up for Johnno and Michael!
Things get weird(er) during the club’s exercise time: John Henry Boone starts to get handsy and low-key flirty with Johnno while they’re doing yoga poses – which Johnno is completely oblivious to – but luckily John Henry Boone’s advances get interrupted with Michael tries to unsuccessfully join a female-on-female “mating ritual.”
Unfortunately, Michael’s attempt to be part of their mating ritual gets them kicked out of the cult. They lose everything: their favoritism in John Henry Boone’s eyes, their friends that didn’t like them very much, and their clothes.
On the bright side: getting kicked out of the club did save them from being part of The People’s Club group suicide. So this story does have a happy ending (for Johnno and Michael – not anybody else).
Season 46 of Saturday Night Live premiered at the start of the month and brought along with it Jim Carrey as the show’s new Joe Biden, however the best new character to be unveiled this season belongs to longtime SNL cast member and overall gem of a human, Kate McKinnon.
This Saturday, Kate McKinnon stopped by “The Weekend Update” to debut SNL’s resident physician, Dr. Wayne Wenowdis. Like most physicians brought onto very serious and real news networks, Dr. Wenowdis’ (MD?) role at “The Weekend Update” was going over and breaking down the results of President Trump’s unorthodox and totally batshit televised medical exam.
What did Dr. Wenowdis have to say? Basically…
There is a lot that we do not know.
When will the pandemic end? We do not know dis. When was Trump’s last negative test? Dis, we do not know. So… what DO we know? Well, the one thing I know for sure is that watching Kate McKinnon have a borderline-mental breakdown and laughing fit is the most relatable thing I’ve seen in a while, and definitely the only thing that’s provided me with a crumb of serotonin in months. Thanks, doc!
The number one fashion item for all seasons for the foreseeable future, as we all know, is masks. So, making the best of a bad (read: incredibly horrible and awful, jesus christ) situation, we’ve all started ordering, or making, if you’ve got the talent, our own personalized masks. My mask is entirely black because at this point, that is a pretty good representation of who I am inside, just a void.
You know those companies that sell personalized masks that are literally prints of the bottom half of your face? Y’know, so that people on the street can get an idea of what you look like if your head had the same horrifying proportions and resolution of a PS2 video game character? Well, Macaulay has hopped aboard that train, except with one difference — this one actually kicks ass.
Remember, listen to Macaulay (and scientists too but whatever) and wear your masks, no matter how horrifying!
Every homemade dish has that one special ingredient that sets it apart, but Jonathan’s caramel apples actually has three special ingredients—love, the tears of Wayne Brady, and about a tablespoon of chopped nuts to add some crunch.
Meanwhile, Wayne’s traditional family cooking involves filming a dance while waiting for their Kroger delivery and then “taking an apple and mixing it in stuff.”
What’s the commonality between the two? They both use fresh ingredients, but they also use heat, and are therefore of equal difficulty. Watch their families cook together (but separately) in the ultimate virtual dessert war.
There are a lot of questions that will be asked tonight’s vice presidential debate, but there’s also a lot of questions that won’t be asked. As a form of self-care and escapism, lets focus and fantasize on what we can’t ask, but would be really funny to ask.
Vice President Pence, do you think that pooping is kind of gay?
Senator Harris, if you got COVID, which three of your fellow senators would you definitely cough on?
Vice President Pence, can I call you Little Mikey? Would you like that, Little Mikey?
Senator Harris, do you think that climate change or giraffes are more real?
Vice President Pence, does it bother you that you look like a GI Joe action figure that’s been microwaved for 15 seconds?
Senator Harris, Frasier, or Niles?
Vice President Pence, do you know where I parked my car?
Senator Harris, if you’re elected, would you divorce your husband to date the entire cast of Hamilton?
Vice President Pence, when was the last time you unclenched your jaw?
Senator Harris, I know that you and Q don’t see eye to eye on politics, but do you consider him a friend?
Mr. Vice President, we know you hate gay sex but would you give Jesus a handy if he asked?
Senator Harris, how much ice cream is Joe Biden forcing you to eat each day, and is it making you sick?
Vice President Pence would you please at least help me look for where I parked my car?
Senator Harris, do you like the band “The Police” as much as you love the real police?
Vice President Pence, what’s your favorite Bible verse about how it’s okay to let thousands of poor people die each year because they don’t have access to healthcare?
Senator Harris, would you come out as a little bit gay right now just to make Vice President Pence uncomfortable?
Would either of you support combining North and South Dakota into one big ass Dakota?
Senator Harris, would you consider giving Joe Biden a little tickle under his chin, just to give him a boost of energy before his next debate?
Vice president Pence, have you ever eaten candy or any other type of sweet treat?
Senator Harris, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if he had access to universal healthcare and free college tuition?
Vice President Pence, why is it that I’m incapable of imagining what you would look like dancing?
Senator Harris, you’ve called yourself an LGBTQ ally. Does that means you want the same amount of gay and straight people in prison?
Vice President Pence, is this your first time speaking to a black woman?
Senator Harris, have you seen my car? I totally forgot where I parked it.
Written by: Tamara Yajia, Grace Thomas and Ben Rosen
Abby Govindan is a 23-year-old comedian, writer, and social media personality from Houston, Texas. She spoke with Funny Or Die over Zoom to discuss her journey in comedy so far, the importance of telling diverse stories, and what it’s like navigating Twitter, comedy, and creative spaces as an Indian-American woman.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
For those who don’t know you yet, I want to get into your origin story. How did you get started with comedy? When did you start?
I got started when my boyfriend and I broke up in 2017. I was devastated; I was convinced that he was the love of my life. I had a very Marvelous Mrs. Maisel story where I took up stand-up comedy, as just a hobby to get my mind off things, but ended up doing well. I was able to go on tour in my senior year during finals week, which was stressful, but so much fun. I got to meet other people in colleges who were my age, who had faith in me, who really invested in me early on. These sets were not good. Let me tell you. But people were so nice to me about it and so supportive.
Shortly after I took up stand up, I studied abroad in Ireland. I had a friend in Ireland who had 1000 followers on Twitter and he refused to follow me back. He was like, “Your Twitter is dry. I’m not going to follow you until you prove your worth to me.” So that’s actually the reason I started using Twitter more. Then as I was leaving, literally on the airplane from Ireland back to Houston, some tweet [of mine] blew up on Irish Twitter, and overnight I got 2000 followers. Which looking back isn’t that much, but was really cool to me at the time. Later that summer in 2018, another tweet blew up and I got 10,000 followers overnight. And it’s only been upward from there!
I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities [through Twitter]. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people, including my heroes. I got to meet federal politicians, I worked as a volunteer influencer with Julian Castro who has been one of my favorite politicians since I was in high school, because I grew up in Texas.
Something you talk a lot about in your standup sets as well as on Twitter, whether it’s jokingly or seriously, is having immigrant parents and being Indian-American. What’s that like taking up space in such a white, and male, dominated industry?
Okay. I love this question. I was 20 when I started stand-up and being a young Indian woman was definitely daunting because people did not take me seriously. But it was really a power trip when I would walk into a room, everyone would see me as the youngest there, they’d really underestimate me, and then I’d end up being the funniest [comic] there. Every time I had imposter syndrome, I would just look at these men who I was performing alongside who’d been doing this for 10, 11 years who couldn’t even get one or two laughs. I am a bit of a perfectionist, and I put so much time and effort into the writing process.
Sometimes it gets frustrating, and I do fail. I have jokes that I thought would work well, that don’t. But at the end of the day, the stuff that I say on stage, I’m really proud of. I don’t feel like it’s tacky, I don’t feel like I’m throwing my identity under the bus. It’s stuff that I hope will age well. I try to be very intentional with what I do, I don’t want to ever punch down.
So it’s been daunting, but also I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities, and I think having a [large] Twitter following proves that people do have vested interest in diverse stories. People want alternative perspectives. So I’ve been proving that investing in not only me, but people whose stories you wouldn’t hear or typically see on screen is worth it. I feel like Hollywood now is more accessible than ever. It’s just been so great.
Regarding my Indian identity, that’s funny because I have a story about that from this week. I really love the Desi (South Asian) community. I wouldn’t be where I am without their support. I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing without them, but they really try it with me sometimes. A year ago my parents found my Narcan, which is a drug that you inject people with who are experiencing an opioid overdose. It literally saves lives. The opioid crisis disproportionately affects low income and homeless people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to Narcan, so in New York City they were giving it away for free. So, my parents found it and they automatically assumed it was for me, which is an insane assumption, because my mom is a physician and you can’t inject it into yourself.
They texted me and confronted me about it in a really funny way that sounded like a clickbait, Buzzfeed article. I shared it online, and immediately all these people, primarily South Asian kids were like, “She’s making fun of her parents’ broken English. They’re so clearly struggling with English. Her parents traveled to this country with no money. They ventured out here all on their own,” and I was like, “Why are you projecting? My parents are fluent in English. They got full scholarships to grad school in America, which is why they’re here.”
That’s another thing about being Indian [in this industry], because there’s such a lack of representation, the few people that do represent these communities have more pressure to reflect all the experiences of these communities.
And for a lot of people that is their story; their parents didn’t really know the language, they came here with little to no support system, and that’s so valid, but that was never me. My parents’ immigration is a facet of my identity, but it was never the core. I have a lot of traumas, but immigration trauma isn’t one of them.
I’ll be in meetings and I’ll pitch an Indian character just living her life, and [the people in the meeting] will be like, “Yeah, but where is she from? What is the story on how she got here?”
I feel like a lot of people do expect immigrants to have immigration trauma and also expect that to be their entire identity. I’d much rather be straight up honest about it, and be like, “I grew up privileged,” as opposed to grasping at trauma straws to make my story more palatable, or to elicit sympathy for myself, because I think that does a great disservice to people who actually did struggle when they came to America.
So, there are benefits and there are consequences. A lot of people are interested in what I have to say and the stories that I have to tell, but then a lot of people also do expect my stories to be one way or the other— and South Asian kids are just as guilty of it as non-South Asian kids. Someone pointed out that we have a tendency to infantilize immigrant parents, like portray them as helpless and clueless or whatever. All parents text weird, but because I’m Indian, both Indian and non-Indian people were lecturing me.
It sounds like you’re not only helping to pave the way in the broader sense of being a young woman of color in comedy, but then also expanding that niche of not having immigrant trauma and being able to tell those stories. That’s a cool detail within what you’re doing.
Thank you. Another example of this would be Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever. It was a great show. It played with a lot of Indian stereotypes, it played into some of them, and then it swayed against some of them in ways that I thought was very nuanced. Of course, the South Asian community was split. People either loved it or hated it. One of the complaints was Mindy Kaling wrote the character a white love interest. I understand the frustration of not seeing yourself as a desirable love interest on screen, but Mindy Kaling writes to her own experiences. If she’s drawing on her experiences dating white men and that’s the story she wants to tell, then that’s her choice. Anyone who doesn’t agree is welcome to tell their own stories.
That’s the best we can ask people to do, tell your own story.
But a couple of weeks later I tweeted, “Hey, I want to write an Indian girl with an Indian love interest. Can you guys suggest an Indian boy name?” And I started world war three. So many people from India, who live in India, were like, “This girl is trying to write an Indian girl with an Indian love interest, so corny, so cheesy. She’s probably going to write a character with an Indian accent who immigrated and can’t speak English.” Then a lot of diaspora Indians, which is the term that we use for immigrants and children of immigrants, were pretty much saying the same things, “Oh, you’re trying too hard to be Indian. You’re not even from South India. Why are you asking for Indian boy names when you can just easily Google it?” Which, I did do a lot of Google searching, but there’s always the possibility that someone has a better idea online.
It was just frustrating because a lot of these people are the same people who just a few weeks prior were saying, “Why is Mindy Kaling writing an Indian girl with a white love interest?” I’ve spoken to other prominent South Asian comedians and writers and they were like, “Yes, this is a very relatable issue. The community’s very split on South Asian public figures. And it’s a very hard community to please.” At first I felt alone, but after talking to people I felt… not better, but validated. I figured out the hard way that I’m never going to please everyone or make every single South Asian person proud, and that’s okay. That’s totally fine.
I think that changing those people’s minds is going to come with rubbing them the wrong way and doing the things that you’re doing, because the more exposure people within, and outside of, your own community have to different experiences, the more people will come to learn that this is good. Different narratives are good.
Yeah, exactly. I mean, immigration stories are very necessary to tell because it helps people sympathize and empathize, but that’s not the only thing that immigrants have to offer.
Totally. On the subject of other prominent South Asian folks in the industry, who are your favorite comedians, or writers, or actors, whom everyone should be aware of or who impacted your journey?
I love this question. Russell Peters is the reason that I am who I am today. I think I can even go as far as to say that Russell Peters is pretty much the reason any Indian comedian was able to find success. He started standing up in 1989 when a working class Indian man doing standup was literally unheard of.
Mindy Kaling, I saw Mindy Kaling on The Office when I was 16, and there was that one Diwali episode and it wasn’t contrived, it wasn’t over done. They didn’t punch down. They didn’t make fun of anyone for being Indian, it was just a funny episode in its own right.
Hari Kondabolu and Aamer Rahman, I think they’re the very first stand-up comedians that I saw who were South Asian, aside from Russell Peters. They don’t cater to white audiences by any means, they speak truth to power. Their stuff is very straightforward, like, “Here’s the racism we deal with. Here is what it’s like to be a South Asian man in America and Australia, respectively.”
Hasan Minhaj is super energetic. He captivates his audiences and everyone wants to listen to his every word. He paved the way for Indian people in late night. He got his show in late 2018, then a few months later, Lilly Singh got her late night show, and now, this week, Kal Penn got his own show. Literally went from zero Indian late night hosts to three over the course of a couple years.
Aparna Nancherla, she’s really cool. There’s a lot of emotional labor that goes into the stand-up writing process. But when she’s on stage, it literally just feels like you’re talking to someone. She’s very conversational, she’s very naturally hilarious.
Danny Pudi, of course. He played Abed in Community. I watched Community when I was in high school and Abed is Palestinian in the show, but in real life Danny Pudi’s Indian. Abed wants to do film, but his parents are like, “No, that’s not what people like us do.” And seeing him… I felt so validated.
Thank you. That’s a great list. What’s everything been like for you in quarantine? Did you have any work plans or goals or anything that were kiboshed by COVID? How have you been doing?
I wanted to move to LA by June, so that didn’t really end up working out, but it’s also really nice because I’ve had more time with my family. As much as they drive me crazy, I know that when I get a full-time job or a TV writing career, when I’m able to make a living off of stand-up completely, I’m only going to see them twice a year for holidays. So I’m really trying to maximize the time that I spend with my family right now.
Once this whole shit storm blows over, whenever that is, what’s next for you?
TV writing is ideal. I’m applying to a whole bunch of TV shows to be a writer, so getting staffed is ideally the next step. I finished one pilot, I’m working on another pilot. I’m trying to sell a feature script idea. I’m currently developing a podcast with Dana Donnelly. The premise is men call in and pitch us their podcast, and then we talk them out of making it. It’s called No New Podcast: The Podcast. We have a couple of really cool production companies who are definitely invested in the idea, so that’s exciting.
Any recommendations for books, podcasts, TV shows, movies for people to stay sane during quarantine?
I am not a podcast person, but Scam Goddess by Laci Mosley is so good. It’s a true crime podcast. She has a guest on to talk about a scam each week and I’m constantly laughing. She has the coolest comedians on.
TV shows, oh, I have so many. I watch American Dad almost every night. I always said that it was ahead of its time and aged super well, but then someone reminded me that it came out in the Bush era, and it’s arguably even more relevant now. I have watched Nathan For You so many times, The Eric Andre Show through twice. When I first watched those shows back in 2018 I was just a standup comedian, and watching those shows was when I was like, “Oh my God, there’s so much more to comedy than what I thought it was.” The Orville, by Seth MacFarlane. It’s an homage to Star Trek and they use it as a vehicle for social commentary as well. I really love Umbrella Academy. It has one of the most, if not the most diverse cast I’ve seen. They have a South Asian person, an Asian person, a Hispanic person, a Black person, someone who is LGBTQ, someone who deals with addiction. And for the most part, their races don’t play anything into their storylines. It was just so refreshing to see people who looked like me and my friends and family just be a part of this wacky sci-fi story without caveats.
Who have I been listening to? Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion again. She’s been killing it. “Savage” was already too powerful of a song, and then she just randomly dropped the remix with Beyonce. I almost died. I couldn’t handle it. Doja Cat, 100 Gecs, Chloe X Halle just released an album and it’s so good. Their voices are angelic.
Tik Tok has been a real source of sanity for myself and so many other people. I’m glad that Trump is not banning it. That probably would’ve incited world war three. The 15 year olds would have gone crazy.
Do you have anything that you wanted to shamelessly plug?
Yeah! I am working on this podcast with Dana Donnelly, as I mentioned. She is so hilarious. So keep an eye out for No New Podcasts: The Podcast. Also, just follow me on social media. I’m always developing really cool ideas and asking my followers for help coming up with certain storylines, and doing fundraisers and other cool stuff.
Julie Bowen finds time to unwind and a new best friend in fashion designer Christian Siriano.
Body Copy: Julie Bowen is not only one of the busiest working actors, but she’s also a mom of three. Between work and her homelife — she’s desperate for strong connections and interesting conversation without interruption. Some “Me Time.” And she’s found the perfect spot to enjoy it – her Cadillac XT6.
Fashion designer Christian Siriano joins Julie as they discuss their artistic prowess, a potential collaboration and high-stakes cornhole games (yep, you read that right). No matter what this pair gets into, one thing’s for sure – Julie and Christian are a lot like guinea pigs: we love them together.