Aasif Mandvi Quotes
Aasif Hakim Mandviwala (born March 5, 1966), known professionally as Aasif Mandvi (/???s?f ?m??ndvi?/, AH-sif MAHND-vee), is an Indian-American actor and comedian. He began appearing as an occasional contributing correspondent on The Daily Show on August 9, 2006. On March 12, 2007, he was promoted to a regular correspondent. He is the lead actor, co-writer and producer of the web series Halal In The Family which premiered on "Funny or Die" in 2015 and an actor, writer and co-producer of the HBO comedy series The Brink. Mandvi is also the author of the book No Land's Man
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In order to change the conversation about Muslims in American media, we need a diverse, unified movement of people who are willing to take a stand against anti-Muslim bias.
I think I would like to see more roles for South Asian performers that are more inclusive and part of the American Diaspora, the American tapestry, perhaps the way that African American and Hispanic roles have developed.
I did a play called 'Disgraced' in 2012 at Lincoln Center, which ultimately won the Pulitzer Prize. I played the lead character, a Muslim American, who had renounced Islam and became very anti-Islam.
My tenure at 'The Daily Show' started during the decade after September 11, and fear of Muslims was at an all-time high. Politicians and the media seemed to dial the fright, mistrust, and animosity up to a fever pitch to gain votes and ratings.
People lament that there's no roles being written for South Asian or Muslim characters. But their parents don't want their children to go into the entertainment field. You don't get it both ways.
The longer I spent time on 'The Daily Show,' standing in front of a green screen pretending to report from war zones and hot spots around the world - most often from somewhere in the Middle East - the more I began to realize that 'The Daily Show' was radicalizing me.
I worked with Ismail Merchant on 'The Mystic Masseur,' I did 'Sakina's Restaurant,' I've done plays, I've been on Broadway, I've done movies, I've done TV... but nothing has had the pop culture penetrative impact as 'The Daily Show' has. It's the nature of the beast.
The great joy of doing 'The Daily Show' for me is that I get to sit on the fence between cultures. I am commenting on the absurdity of both sides as an outsider and insider. Sometimes I'm playing the brown guy, and sometimes I'm not, but the best stuff I do always goes back to being a brown kid in a white world.
In America, people think being South Asian is still kind of exotic. When you go outside New York and Chicago and L.A., there are people who have never tried Indian food... they've never even tasted it!
I'm a little bit like a turducken: I'm sort of like an Indian person, wrapped in a British person, wrapped in an American kind of thing.
You can talk about and think about Muslims as you want, but you can't stop Muslims from building a mosque. You can hate Muslims from the comfort of your house or publicly, but when that becomes stopping Muslims from building a mosque or worshipping, then we are crossing the line into something else.
I always focused on being an actor. I did stand-up briefly, but I also did a lot of dramatic work. But since I've been on 'The Daily Show,' people think I'm a comedian. That's not how I see myself.
Religion is so much more than the god you pray to. The religion that you associate with, it's culture, it is family, it is background. That is something that I have always grown up with.
I'm free to see things objectively because I don't consider myself American, and I don't consider myself British or Indian. I'm kind of an amalgam or mongrel of a lot of different places and experiences. In a lot of ways it's been a good thing for me. It's enabled me to do what I do on 'The Daily Show.'
It is ironic that it doesn't matter how successful I am in any other capacity: ultimately, my parents' marker is 'Do you have a wife?' and 'Do you have children?'