Desi Comedians Don’t Do Yo Mama! Jokes

in talkies

At a dinner table, recently, I asserted that ‘family’ was largely absent from the routines of desi comedians. Their comedy was largely set in the habermasian realm of the public [yes that is a joke. of course, I would never say anything like ‘habermasian realm’. ever]. You get lots of material about interactions with the pre-dominant caucasian society, prejudices, life after 9/11 etc. But no sa’as-bahoo jokes. No Auntie Ji jokes. Nothing even about mothers and grandmothers. And definitely no Sardar Ji jokes. Why is that? I wondered. I don’t really know the answer nor am I sure that my assertion is even correct.

So, I compiled a list of desi comedians that I am somewhat familiar with – along with some links to their youtube etc. routines. Maybe you folks can help sort it all out.

  • Tinku Patel & Azhar Usman. I was in a security checkout line at O’Hare with Azhar Usman. Fun.
  • Rajiv Satyal. I really don’t know much about him besides that he is from around Cincinnati. Which sucks for him. Trust me, I know.
  • Hari K. Kondabolu. The tips for brown people is predictable but funny. Also see his blog entry on being a desi comic.
  • Aziz Ansari. Ok. I love Aziz Ansari but, the only thing desi about his comedy is … him. Nothing wrong with that and nothing funnier than Clell Tickle: Indie Marketing Guru.
  • Aladdin Ullah. I couldn’t find any links to his stand-up.
  • Some more random ones.
  • Daniel Nainan. Now he does tackle family. But is that because he is taking his cue from Margaret Cho, Eliot Chang and other Asian-American comedians?

Also, asserted at that dinner table: The only people who can laugh at themselves in homistans are the Sikhs [Punjabis in general – maybe].

Feel free to take up either assertion.

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