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The Funny Indian Newsletter, Vol. 195
December 2022: Merry Christmas!
Welcome to the December Funny Indian Newsletter. It’s the last one of the year so I recap what I achieved in 2022, followed by my usual Musings and Highlights. I usually shorten these just enough to fit in your inbox, but to read this whole one, please view it on my FunnyIndian.Substack.com.
Naturally, I’m eternally blessed. I could hardly ask for more in my personal life. (Scroll to the very end.) But the scope of these achievements is professional:
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My talk show, What Do You Bring to the Table?, crossed two million aggregate views across YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, as I shot interviews with Kal Penn, Lilly Singh, Danny Pudi, and many more.
Held six Entertainment Meet-Ups in Hollywood, where I bring together people on the creative and business side in the Industry to build a sense of community by mingling, playing games, holding pitches, and listening to fireside chats.
Did the audio description again for S2 of Indian Matchmaking on Netflix.
Crossed 10K followers on Instagram, organically, without bots or programs.
Co-hosted the P&G Alumni Podcast.
Survived a dox attack of 1200+ emails by standing up for my values and performing at an event anyway, putting my money where my mouth is (or at least my safety where my mouth is) when it comes to defending free speech and also pluralism in our society.
Got hired to punch up an independent feature film script.
Relaunched my podcast, The TanGent Show, returning soon to a platform near you.
Continued impersonating Gandhi on Cameo.
Delivered 12 FunnyIndian Newsletters, marking 195 in a row without missing a month.
And if history’s any guide, with one more week of complete days, I’ll have completed my 7th straight perfect Year of the Hustle.
In recent years, many people's favorite Holiday question has turned decisively in one direction. It seems most takes I hear now seem to agree that Die Hard is indeed a Christmas movie. Allow me to offer why I don't believe it is.
It's because Die Hard is widely regarded to be the greatest action movie in history…
(The only other contender is Terminator 2 (T2), with which I'd agree, except I'd qualify that by saying T2 is of course an action flick, but more specifically a sci-fi action flick. Die Hard is a more pure action movie.)
…And it's only a very good Christmas movie.
Whenever they rank Christmas movies, it's toward the top on some lists, but it consistently loses to It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and oftentimes even Love Actually.
Don't get me wrong: I actually love Love Actually. But if DIE HARD is losing to LOVE ACTUALLY in a category, while it's beating Enter The Dragon and The Matrix and Raiders of the Lost Ark, then um, it belongs over there.
Led Zeppelin is my second favorite band, only to The Beatles.
"Dancing Days" is a phenomenal song.
𝐷𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑎𝑟𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛, 𝐴𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑢𝑚𝑚𝑒𝑟 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑔𝑟𝑜𝑤.
𝐼 𝑔𝑜𝑡 𝑚𝑦 𝑓𝑙𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟, 𝐼 𝑔𝑜𝑡 𝑚𝑦 𝑝𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟, 𝐼 𝑔𝑜𝑡 𝑎 𝑤𝑜𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤𝑠.
R.E.M. is my third favorite band. "Nightswimming" is all-time. It clearly takes place during the summer:
𝑁𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑠𝑤𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔, 𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑛𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡. 𝑆𝑒𝑝𝑡𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟'𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑜𝑜𝑛
𝐼'𝑚 𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑜𝑛. 𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑡𝑤𝑜 s𝑖𝑑𝑒-𝑏𝑦-𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑜𝑟𝑏𝑖𝑡 a𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑠𝑢𝑛?
But imagine you're throwing a party in July and you crank up your Summer Playlist and shout, "Yeah — it's summer, everybody!" And play "Dancing Days" and "Nightswimming." My guess is you'd have some pretty disappointed guests. Most would wonder why you're not spinning Fresh Prince, Seals and Crofts, or Bryan Adams. "Dancing Days" and "Nightswimming" are arguably better than any of those records, but they're not better summer songs.
Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" is set in New York, and is possibly a better record than "New York State of Mind," and is certainly more popular, but would you say it's a better New York song? I mean, the clue is kinda in the title.
How about movies set in New York? When Harry Met Sally is mostly set in New York, but again, it's the greatest romantic comedy in history. (Sorry, Love Actually — at best, you're in the Top Five.) But as a NY film, are you really gonna rank it above Annie Hall or West Side Story (either version) or Do The Right Thing?
Finally, how about movies set in LA? Hey, they spend time in Los Angeles in The Usual Suspects, one of the best movies ever made. But are you really gonna place it higher than Sunset Boulevard or Boogie Nights or Boyz N the Hood as an LA movie?
Or for that matter, T2... or Die Hard?
I'd even say Die Hard is a better LA movie than a Christmas movie. So, is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Technically, yes. But to call it such is selling it short. Don't agree? I'm sure you'll LMK online. Or you can always "come out to the coast, have a few laughs" in "f*ckin' California."
Merry Christmas... and Yippee-Ki-Yay, Mele Kalikimaka.
If it really is "for the best" when people break up, I think we should say that for positive occasions, too. The next time someone tells me they're engaged, I'll sigh and reply, "Well, it's for the best."
On some level, ya gotta admire Kanye West's move of bringing Nick Fuentes, a White supremacist, to dinner. It's a great strategy to draw attention away from yourself if the other guests think you're a loser. "Hey, if you think I'M a douche, check out my friend here."
I'd be more inclined to eat a wet burrito if it weren't called a wet burrito.
Rafael Warnock proves, if you dedicate your life to God, you, too, may someday barely beat a brain-damaged buffoon.
01/20: Corporate Event (Somerset, NJ)
01/28: Corporate Event (Los Angeles, CA)
11/30: Ha Ha Comedy Club (N. Hollywood, CA)
12/03: Namaste 2022 (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
12/04: Namaste 2022 (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
A magical night not far from where Four Samosas was shot in Artesia. Super grateful for all the kind words from the cast and audience as I hosted the Q&A. And let’s face it, they were right: I was on fire. Shout-out to Smita and Gunjan Bagla for treating us to dinner and drinks at The Cheesecake Factory, which was lovely. A blast hanging out late into the night, alternating between jokes and deep convos. The cast is refreshingly humble in a way that I’m decidedly not. (F’real, though, they even insisted I appear in all the pics.) Truly bummed to miss the LA premiere but I awoke at 5 am to catch a flight to Miami so I can host Namaste India and yet another event for Akshaya Patra USA. Go see the movie or pull it up on Amazon Prime Video or iTunes. Quirky and funny. The film is shot beautifully, much better than these photos. A movie theater isn’t a great place for still pictures, only motion pictures. Who knew? Thank you, Director Ravi Kapoor, for trusting me with this.
My talk show, What Do You Bring to the Table?, is back! This is technically Season 3, but we’re gonna start dropping these ad hoc. View all episodes at WatchRajiv.com. Be sure to catch Karen David in When Christmas Was Young on Paramount Plus.
My Four Samosas Experience
A Review of the Tribeca-Award-Winning South Asian Film
Naturally, my readers expect more than just a review. My li’l journey here contains mild spoilers but nothing plot-critical. Enjoy. Though it’s a bit precarious to write a review of a feature film when you know 15 people involved in its production, I welcome the challenge, as it’s the embodiment of the tightrope I like to walk, pulled on one arm by my desire to tell the unabashed truth and pulled on the other by my desire to get invited to parties. [Click to read more.]
Remember when Chappelle used to do comedy and Kanye used to make music?
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Because Naveen was asleep, we watched Christmas Vacation with closed captioning. It's not like I don't know every single word... BUT apparently, I don't. I finally learned that Bing Crosby was NOT singing:
"Mele Kalikimaka is a wise way
To say Merry Christmas to you."
Like, if you live in Hawaii, you've obviously made an intelligent choice, so this means you're full of wisdom.
I told this to some of my smartest friends on a message string and at least two others believed the same thing. Misery loves company. However, I was on my own on this one:
Just learned that Christians are saying, "Hallowed be thy name.” I thought it was, “How will it be thy name?” In my defense, I am a pagan. It did seem like an extra syllable, but I figured maybe it was like a Romeo/wherefore thing.
On the death anniversary of John Lennon, arguably Britain’s greatest rock star, I keep thinking of this passage I just read a few weeks ago in Judd Apatow’s book. It’s funny, and I love Billy Joel to the point that I might make him only my 11th concert ever when he plays SoFi in March, but I can think of at least three White male singers I’d consider more American. What do you think? Who’s the most American White male singer? What if we expand it to anyone of any race or gender? Dead or alive, in both cases. And of course, God rest Lennon’s soul. [Click for some decent answers on Facebook. Mine? Elvis Presley, then John Mellencamp, then Tom Petty, then Billy Joel, then Bruce Springsteen.]
If you suddenly had $1 Billion, how would your life change? Would you essentially keep your day-to-day but with nicer things or would you "leave" your life, e.g., move to another country or travel the world nonstop?
I'm picking $1B b/c it's such a large amount. There's nothing special about the number. Follow-up questions: If your answer is that you'd "leave" your life, do you really need $1B to do this? How much would it take? Assuming it's an attainable amount, why haven't you done it? Are you waiting for retirement or is it just an idea you like to think about but never actually do? [Click for some great answers on Facebook.]
How many of the world’s five oceans have you seen, and in what order (and when and where)?
1. Atlantic Ocean. 1983. Miami Beach.
2. Pacific Ocean. 1984. Los Angeles.
3. Indian Ocean. 1985. Bombay*.
4. Southern Ocean. 2019. Drake Passage.
5. Arctic Ocean. Not yet!
*Technically, probably out the window as we landed. So, yes, I’ll count it if you saw the ocean out of a plane window. Or a helicopter or space shuttle window, though that’s less likely. What a run I had in the mid-1980s. Thanks, Mom & Dad.
Since this is a FUNNY Indian Newsletter, I present here the 5 funny things that I saw, heard, wrote, or remembered for the last month... otherwise known as FIVE - Funny Indian's V Events.
5. I relish this one.
4. Kinda the reverse of the Holiday Spirit but I respect the move, if not the grammar.
3. Ron Funches was once my scene partner in our acting class. He’s come a long way, baby. Great take on conspiracy theories. We all believe at least one, right?
2. Not hilarious but had to share the new most-liked Instagram pic ever… I’m so happy that Argentina won that I’ve rewatched the penalty kicks at least five times.
THANK YOU to all of you for your support. You are my true core of fans — I couldn't do this without you. Merry Christmas + Happy New Year!
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