The Funny Indian Newsletter, Vol. 198
March 2023: Birthday Month
Welcome to The Funny Indian Newsletter! A LOT happened this month.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 27, at 6 PM PST. In prep for my Dry Bar comedy special taping, I’m doing a longer virtual set. Please buy tickets!
I just launched a series of @GandhiTellsJokes videos. Follow him.
Read on for the rest…
A Standup Stands Up
This truly seemed to resonate on Facebook and on LinkedIn.
What a crap day. I've sent not one but two confrontational emails. I really do my best not to do that in a professional context, but I am getting really, really, really sick and tired of people's unbelievable unprofessionalism.
Months ago, I booked a prominent guest for my talk show. His assistant confirmed multiple times over email, and then a day before the shoot, because of a change in HIS schedule, wrote to ask if we could move our entire production from Burbank to W. Hollywood (on a Friday afternoon, when we already had multiple guests booked). Months and months of further correspondence to reschedule, after which point the assistant went radio silent.
Then today, after I'd confirmed somebody else a month ago for a live event taking place in three weeks: just to triple-check, I emailed to ensure we're good to go, at which point I received an email, asking about a detail that might preclude them from doing the event. And THEN, they tried to blame me for it.
Almost everyone who knows me knows the lengths to which I go to not only preserve but also build relationships. I truly do my best not to burn bridges, especially with important people in the Industry. But enough's enough.
What drove me to respond more assertively/aggressively? I always start with intent. What's my objective here? What am I trying to achieve? And even more upstream, what kind of person do I want to be? How do I want to treat others? How do I want to be treated and perceived? Is this serving my purpose, my mission, my vision?
(That is why we ultimately refused to cancel our other guests in the first example above. They were much "smaller" by comparison, but I want to be somebody who rewards good behavior. If that means losing the "larger" guest but enjoying the company of those who kept their commitments, then THAT is the kind of host I want to be and the show I want to run.)
And practically speaking, I realize I might've just cost myself opportunities. But what good are those opportunities if the people offering them don't come through for you when it matters?
There's a fine line between pride and dignity. Many times, when we reply in haste, we're operating from the former. Our ego is bruised and we feel the need to act out. But other times, it's a matter of self-respect, of ensuring people know they can't just walk all over you (especially when your own credibility is on the line, e.g., I'd told my team these guests were confirmed), and of ensuring you stand up for yourself. And a standup has to stand up for himself. Today was that day.
Is anyone else going through this? Is this a post-pandy thing or what? My theory is that people are checked-out and not paying attention. In my personal life, I empathize. People are going through a lot and I get it. And I cannot remember the last time I let someone have it in a social setting. But in business, we have a job to do. And if you're getting paid for that job, then you need to, um, like, just do it. Because when you don't, you can cause an enormous amount of stress in the system. This has caused me an undue amount of anxiety today and that is why I felt the need to say something. Enough!
Succession is back on HBO! It's already my all-time #3 drama (The Wire & Breaking Bad). Me & Cousin Greg at the Indie Spirit Awards…
Madness & Movies
Got my Final Four perfect! A perfect 0/4.
Why aren’t there any popular songs about March?
Quick Oscars Thoughts:
Great job, Jimmy Kimmel. Perfect tone. And very funny.
So happy for RRR winning best song. Is it true there were no South Asian dancers? I think they asked if they should use some and the producers said, “Not-to, not-to.”
Super cool The Elephant Whisperers won and I got to interview the producers that week.
04/14: Mahesh Kotagi & Friends (Northridge, CA)
04/27: Rajiv Satyal Live from Nowhere (Virtual) (pic)
05/12: Dry Bar Comedy Special Taping (Provo, UT)
03/25: The Wren Theater (Hollywood, CA)
03/15: The Forgotten Spy Q&A (Sherman Oaks, CA)
03/10: The She-Suite Summit (Virtual)
03/08: Nextdoor (San Francisco, CA)
03/04: The Independent Spirit Awards (Santa Monica, CA)
02/23: The Stand Up Comedy Club (Bellflower, CA)
Here I am on the red (blue) carpet at the Independent Spirit Awards with Hasan Minhaj, Malala Yousafzai, Marisa Tomei, Kamau Bell, Cate Blanchett, and Mo Amer!
I finally launched @GandhiTellsJokes on Instagram, on TikTok, and on YouTube Shorts. I also post them to my existing @funnyindian Instagram account. I wrote a naan-apology here on Substack. So far, very little blowback and a lotta laughs. Enjoy.
Cincinnatians are probably familiar with Crossroads Church. I’m honored that The Aggressive Life with Brian Tome syndicated my conversation with former P&G President Kirk Perry: Does Faith Have a Place at Work? [Click here to listen.]
That guy is a real crowd-pleaser.
Let's say I'm gonna pick one Saturday a year to throw an open house outdoor house party here in LA. (Like, start around 4 PM and go into the night.) Of all 52 weekends, which one would be the one where I'd maximize attendance of locals and out-of-towners? Don't worry about the occasion (e.g., though my birthday is in March and Harsha's and Naveen's are in August, no need to take these into account). Do keep in mind weather, holidays, sports, festivals, etc. Multiple answers are fine. Show your work. Thanks! [Click here for some great answers on Facebook.]
I'm sitting down with my parents to ask them a bunch of questions so that I can play the recording for my son someday. What should I ask them? What do you wish you would (have) ask(ed) yours? [Click here for some great answers on Facebook.]
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 might have to stay here the next time I visit my hometown. It’s “so good-lookin’!”
4. Yeah, she does look worse than Roseanne’s National Anthem sounds.
3. I loved this: Some Other Groundbreakingly Diverse Stories from Hollywood.
2. Just Like Hell: Gotta love Robert Smith’s complete letdown to this red carpet question. And for a change, I actually liked the first few YouTube comments:
1. The New Yorker does it again. Purely brilliant take on my all-time favorite dramatic film: I Know I Wasn’t Supposed to Tell Hannibal Lecter About My Personal Life, but I’m Not Used to Men Being Such Good Listeners.
THANK YOU to all of you for your support. You are my true core of fans — I couldn't do this without you.