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The Funny Indian Newsletter, Vol. 203
August 2023: Cincinnati + More
Welcome to The Funny Indian Newsletter!
I’ll start with an announcement, then Musings, and finalize with Updates. Here goes.
Cincinnatians - Buy your tickets now for my 9/14 show at Go Bananas. :) All info at SeeRajiv.com. Here’s a fun 90-sec promo video.
Congratulations, India, on being the 1st country to land near the moon's South Pole! As the 1st person to perform standup on all 7 continents, I recognize the importance of boldly going where no man has gone before.
Even if the craft was unmanned. "Unmanned." I think that's what happened to me after marriage.
Paraphrasing a news source...
"The Chandrayaan-3 took much longer to reach the Moon than America's Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s, which arrived in a matter of days... also cost a fraction of the price," meaning that India's track record of cheapness and lateness extends into the cosmos.
If the rest of humanity plays out far, far away, these next few centuries may very well belong to India. In space, money is meaningless. And time is relative.
After all, if I remember nothing else from my Modern Physics class, it's that moving clocks run slow. Albert Einstein beat Mahatma Gandhi for TIME's Person of the Century for a reason: Gandhi might've led India to freedom, but Einstein gave an excuse for all Indians to be late anywhere in the Universe.
India's spacecraft also weighs much less than the Americans', mirroring that Indians weigh much less than Americans. Indians might be taking over space, but they also take up much less space.
"Experts say India can keep costs low by copying and adapting existing technology," which it learned by years of Bollywood's copying and adapting of Hollywood. Of course, most of both industries' boring movies make me chandra-yawn.
Additionally, it's "thanks to an abundance of highly skilled engineers who earn a fraction of their foreign counterparts' wages." Naturally, when you're the world's most populous country, salaries are kept low because hey, if you don't want the job, there's a queue of 1,000 IIT engineers behind you ready to take it.
"Wednesday's landing had been eagerly awaited by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) after the frustrating failure of its previous mission at the last hurdle in 2019." Just days ago, Russia's craft crashed into the moon (a hilarious sentence on its own), meaning that Russia in 2023 is equivalent to India in 2019. This was back when Russia hadn't yet won its war in Ukraine — oh, wait. Carry on.
Congrats, India, on landing near the South Pole!
Last night, two Indians from Cincinnati took center stage:
One of us on national TV, running for President of the United States, with an audience of 24 million.
The other ALREADY ELECTED PRESIDENT of the parent-teacher council at his son's daycare, with an audience of 14. Wait. Don't forget the five on Zoom. So, 19.
One called for drilling, fracking, burning coal, and destroying teachers unions.
The other called for teachers gift cards and demanded more pizza parties, T-shirts, and balloon arches... and even schlepped bottles of water and cans of soda & Waterloo to alleviate the attendees' thirst (with apologies to the Zoom participants). At one point, he took the decisive action of placing the Domino's Pizza boxes in the middle of the table for easier and immediate access to food.
I think it's clear which one understands the real problems facing America.
And that's why I'd like to announce I'll be running for President... of the parent-teacher council in 2024 again.
09/03: The Montalbán Theater (Los Angeles, CA) (pic)
09/13: Corporate Gig (Cincinnati, OH)
09/14: Go Bananas (Cincinnati, OH) (pic)
10/01: Community Gig (Houston, TX)
08/13: Hollywood Improv Lab (W. Hollywood, CA)
08/16: Burbank Comedy Festival (Burbank, CA)
08/16: Hollywood After Dark (Hollywood, CA)
08/18: Burbank Comedy Festival (Burbank, CA)
08/19: SuperNova Comedy (Los Angeles, CA)
I finally relaunched my podcast, The TanGent Show, on Spotify. I’ll be rolling it out to the other platforms soon. This is the original one I started in 2011. I’lll post the new interviews I’ve been conducting. (What Do You Bring to the Table? is my immigrant-based one; as of now, it’s all Desis. The TanGent Show features any guest I find compelling.) Here’s Episode 1, where I zoomed with comedian Sarah Whiteman. Enjoy.
Here’s a video of the night I signed the wall at The Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, where my place in LA standup history was...cemented.
"THIS WAS A GREAT MAN — A MAN OF VISION AND GUTS. AND THERE ISN'T EVEN A PLAQUE, OR A SIGNPOST, OR A STATUE OF HIM IN THAT TOWN!"
- Hyman Roth's diatribe about Moe Greene, The Godfather Part II
It seems every major comic in the last 40 years has performed at The Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach. Jay Leno famously has had a residency here on Sunday nights for years. (My Mom got to meet him, too.) A few years ago, when Jim Carrey needed a copy of one of his earlier standup sets, he called Comedy & Magic because they've recorded just about everyone's since 1978. One night, I was passing by and happened to catch Russell Peters opening for George Carlin, whom I met for a fleeting moment in the hallway. I have quite the Ray Romano story I could tell you if you come over to me at a party.
I had the good fortune of becoming a paid regular at every major comedy club in Los Angeles within about two years of moving here in 2006. The Comedy and Magic Club. The Laugh Factory. Hollywood Improv. Ice House Comedy Club.
Every single one except The Comedy Store. And that's where my good fortune ended, because it's the one where you can scrawl your name on it so you're forever enshrined in comedy history. Ironically, I've had nothing but strong sets every single time I've gotten up at the Store, probably more than anywhere else.
That's why, for me personally, getting my name up on this wall is such a massive deal. It happened a couple of weeks ago, when I performed yet again for its birthday shows. (Every July, we wish the club itself "Happy Birthday!" Twenty comics all get up and do five minutes each. It's such a rush for comedians and audience members alike.)
I became a regular in 2008 or so. I remember the conversation with Richard, the booker (with whom I've become good friends) when I got offstage after my five-minute audition...
Richard: "I don't understand you. You've been campaigning for a spot here for months. I give you 5 minutes. And you do 3 minutes of crowd work. But I'm gonna pass you. Because you have two things we can't teach: you're likable and you're comfortable."
Thank you, C&MC, for allowing me to be a part of your incredible history. And for liking me. Because now I have some more comfort out here in LA.
After all… “I made my bones when you were goin' out with cheerleaders.”
LET ME BE CLEAR REVIEW
Wow. Just wow. Deeply touched by my friend’s review. They wanted to stay anonymous, so this is lightly edited and shared with permission.
Thank you so much for putting on such a wonderful show last week. (Sorry I’m finally getting a chance to send this. The kids have kept us sooo busy… school’s starting!)
Anyway, I had a front-row seat to your show. First of all, as a part-time event planner, I want to tell you you really know how to give the crowd an experience, my friend. You did a great job of communicating exactly what we needed to know, when we needed to know it. Your ticket-buying process was super easy. Love that you used something simple like BuyRajiv . com. Wish more people would do that. (Your P&G marketing background shows.) And that promo video was super cool; I recognized so many faces. Parking was indeed not very easy (OMG your parking signs joke was so true lol!), but you told us in advance so we knew what to expect.
Can’t believe how packed the room was. Not sure but I think they actually had to turn some people away. That’s too bad because it was a PARTY. I LOVED the song selection. At first, I was giving the venue credit, but once I heard enough of the tracks, I knew that was you. (I’ve been to your birthday parties lol.) Major props to whoever put that together. I mean, you had it all: hip-hop, pop, Bollywood, rock music. I almost died at that Pizza Hut-Taco Bell song. (Fast fact: I know Heems from my days in New York.)
Etiquette question: What do you do if you're not sure whether someone brought a gift to your party?
This isn't about pettiness. There was a lot going on at our gathering, and though it's a small chance, it's possible their gift got misplaced and we wouldn't want to be remiss in thanking them (and of course enjoying it the way they intended).
Do you just not say anything? If you have said something in the past, what did you say and how did you do it? How did it go?
What's your weird YouTube obsession?
At a cookout last week, we somehow jumped into a conversation about strange stuff we look up online.
A friend told us how he went down the rabbit hole with tree-felling videos. Just a bunch of lumberjacks cutting down trees.
Mine? Bridge-collapsing videos.
Another said she loves watching people cross-knit. At least hers is productive. The dude's and mine are so violent.
Maybe it's a passive way of venting our aggression. Or because I'm a Pisces and love watching water win. Or perhaps there's something awe-inspiring and satisfying about watching a human-made structure give way to nature.
Or maybe I'm just weird. But I'm NOT. Because the biggest surprise is that these clips have tens of millions of views.
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. One of my plans if I’m ever elected President is to eliminate the letter Q from the alphabet. Not sure that’s even in the purview of the head of the executive branch, but let’s not get caught up in the wrong kind of details. Then my friend, Dan, reminded me it can be a slippery slope: A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling by Mark Twain.
4. Gotta love the late Alex Trebek’s recitation of rap lyrics.
3. Someone should do a roll call bit. The future for teachers…
2. The only thing funnier than this video is the comments from people who don’t understand it’s obviously a joke.
1. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a stage with Michael Jr. a couple times.
THANK YOU to all of you for your support. You are my true core of fans — I couldn't do this without you.