Aasif Hakim Mandviwala, known professionally as Aasif Mandvi, 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.
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thanks for your questions guys. great talking to everyone. cheers- AM
(except don't ask me to tell Jon Stewart that you love him)
I have a new series coming up on HBO called "The Brink" in June of next year. In the meantime, I'm a correspondent on The Daily Show and my brand-new book, No Land's Man was just released.
Hey Aasif! In your time on The Daily Show you have played several "Senior ____ Correspondent" roles. Which of these has been your favorite to play, and why?
senior foreign looking correspondent.
Thanks for doing this Aasif.
My question: The Last Airbender......why? Were you in a dark place in your life? Did Shamalan hold your family hostage? Was it the money? If you needed money, I would have given you some!
first of all, Airbender was one the most awesome experiences i have ever had making a movie. i'm very glad i got to play that role and got to work with those people. No regrets!
Hey Aasif big fan of yours! Do you have a particularly fun or memorable piece that you have done as a correspondent on The Daily Show?
asking Gov rick scott to pee in a cup, i wish i could go back and do that again.
Second of all?
second of all, i think the film received an unfair level of criticism and that was partly bc of a negative attitude and a thirst for blood towards M.Night. i;m not saying it was the greatest movie in the world but it somehow got singled out more than it deserved.
Seriously one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
Aasif, you are definitely my favorite correspondent currently on the show. So what's your favorite bit on the daily show that you were in and what's your favorite bit that you were NOT in?
i loved Oliver's reports from Australia on Gun control.
Hey Aasif! Big fan! Throughout your tenure on The Daily Show you have faced a lot of racism and islamophobia, I was wondering if there was any instance of this that particularly stands out to you, maybe something that wasn't even aired on the show?
Thank you for doing this AMA and I can't wait to read your book.
thanks. i have not faced anything personally, but I did talk to a woman in tennessee once who when i told her i was muslim, she said not everyone's perfect.
Hi Aasif! First off, thanks for doing this. I'm a big fan of your work, especially as someone who is a visible minority. There really aren't very many South Asian role models out there, so thank you. My questions for you are:
1) Do you have any advice for visible minorities working in White-dominated fields?
2) How do you balance being South Asian without being typecast as being "The South Asian Guy"? Are you selective about the projects you do and how you portray yourself?
3) Which do you prefer - gulab jamun or jalebi?
1) just use your difference and ethnic specificty as your source of power.
2) i don't really worry about being typecast as the south asian guy, i just try to do great work and stay focused on my work and the things i can control.
3) gulab jamun
What was it like working with Tobey Maguire and Ricky Gervais?
i never worked with them together, but i will say one of them was hilarious, and the other... was ricky gervais.
What were your favourite and least favourite interviews to do for the Daily Show? And why do those interviews earn that honour?
my most favourite are when people speak their minds, even if what is in their minds, is nonsense. my worst is with politicians who never speak what is on their minds, but only what is in the talking points.
Last year you had a plum role in The Internship, a film which had a lot of potential to be a sly commentary on technology and today's new youth market. Considering the talent that was involved, and the uniqueness of locale, do you have any awesome anecdotes to share in the making of that film?
i heard they wanted to use the google driverless car more in the movie and originally have Vince and Owen crash it, but bc it has not come out yet Google nixed that. also the google campus has some of the best Indian food outside of India.
How was working on The Last Airbender compared to The Daily Show?
exactly the same. stand in front of a green screen and pretend to be a bad ass!!!!
In one word, what is it like being Muslim in America?
Hi Aasif! Glad to see you back on TDS after not being on the show for a while. Can you talk about The Brink? What's it about?
its a geopolitical comedy, each season we follow in real time a global crisis playing out. we see it through the eyes of the state dept, the military and the foreign service. it's dr strangelove meets mash.
now its getting weird
If you could change one thing about the American political system, what would you change?
Hello dearest Aasif! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this AMA!
I am a white American and my ex is an Indo-Muslim-Kenyan-American. My ex felt that if I didn’t convert, his family in Kenya would shun him and that he would lose so many connections to where he came from. He doesn’t want to let go of who he is, but neither do I. I imagine it’s hard enough to keep your identity living in one country but identifying with multiple others, but in your opinion (or experience), how can you keep from losing yourself in an interfaith/intercultural relationship?
i think it's hard. culture and religion often define us, and we have to find a new definition of who we are in interfaith or intercultural relationships. thats not always easy.
I've never watched the daily show, as we don't have cable or satellite, but I'd like to ask:
What are you wearing?
Are you leaving the Daily Show to do The Brink or will you be doing both? I can't take everyone leaving :(
i'm doing both right now, but who knows... :-)(
I'm looking at your film/tv credits and it looks like you have played a ton of doctors. By now, do you think you are on par with a real doctor? Or perhaps could play one on tv like Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil?
im a real doctor now
What's your favorite role on television outside The Daily Show and why is it playing doctor on Jericho?
playing a drunken doctor on jericho
Thanks for the response. Good luck to you in the future, and thanks for not reducing "us" to a stereotype.
Hi Aasif, love your work!
What is the process when you set up an interview? Sometimes I watch the correspondents segments on the show and I can't believe that the people being interviewed could say something so ridiculous.
we just point and shoot, people say craay stuff!!
Hi Aasif! Huge fan! Saw you in Disgraced when it was playing at the Lincoln Center last year. Curious about how you were picked to star in it (you were fantastic in it BTW!) and why aren't in the Broadway adaptation thats running now? And have you seen the Broadway version yet? If so, what do you think? Thanks!
thank you. i was picked for that role by the playwright ayad akhtar who had me come in over the course of several years and do workshops of the play and help develop the role. i have not seen the bway prd yet but plan to. i was very sad at not doing it on bway but unfortunately i was commited to shooting a new HBO series called The Brink and so the schedules could not work out.
I really enjoyed Today's Special. Do you feel like it has found its audience? Any plans for another screenplay?
its always finding its audience. its the little movie that could!!! i hope to write more movies in the future, yes. thanks
From wikipedia on you: "After graduating from the University of South Florida with a degree in Theatre, Mandvi worked as a performer at Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World Resort."--- so please tell us some of your crazy USF party stories?
i was such a theatre nerd, i never went to parties. most of my parties were after parties, and if you have ever gone to an after party with a bunch of acting students, they get stoned and talk about the craft! hahaha
Hey Aasif! Do you think The Daily Show has the same o impact on political discourse in the country that it did 3-4 years ago? Will Stephen stepping down make it even lower? Or am I just being stupid :)
i think it is still relevant, until fox creates a daily show that kicks our ass
What are your thoughts on how Muslim-Americans are portrayed in Hollywood?
I was particularly a fan of Today's Special, because while your character's Indian identity was part of his character, it wasn't part of an "otherness" I sense in other portrayals of Muslim-Americans in Hollywood. It just so happened that it was his identity and we were seeing his struggles with that lens (similar to how racial identity in The Cosby Show was portrayed).
Or maybe I just liked it cause it reminded me of my family and that I can barely cook naan, idk.
thanks. i think we have to get a point where it's not the muslim experience but just the american experience.
I read your story "The Ledge" about being bullied in a British boarding school. Powerful story. My heart went out to you!
Are you doing any upcoming book signings or appearances?
yes, this weekend in DC and NY.
Are there any comedians out there that you would like to see become Daily Show Corrspondents?
Hi Aasif! Always been a fan. As a fellow brown person, your success makes us all proud. My question is: We're you in the movie ABCD a few years back?
yes and there is no apostrophe needed there. lol
You grew up in England… are you a soccer fan? If so, which team/club do you support?
i grew up supporting Leeds United.
How do you balance the quirky parts of humor involved in the daily show with your ability to deliver a quality message whilst making us laugh our fucking asses off?
its a team effort.
Hello from Pakistan! I read that you are involved with a charity, Relief 4 Pakistan. Have you ever visited here? There is a big Bohra community in Karachi, where I live. And everyone here loves the Daily Show, although I'm not so sure how popular it is amongst the Bohras.
nothing is popular among the Bohra's, except you know....
Aasif I was watching Law and Order the other day and noticed a young you as a smut peddler in a video store. Ive heard thats a show that many celebrities would kill to be on. What other show would you really like to play a serious role in ? Also The Anthony Weiner joke you had at Murray Hill was one of the Funniest bits Ive ever seen. Good Luck!!!
its more about the role for me, and not the show. thanks
Mr. Mandvi, thanks for doing this.
Were you a fan of the Last Airbender series before joining the cast? Also, are you looking forward to any kind of sequel?
i had not seen the series before being cast, and i have not heard of any sequels.
I just have to say that The Internship was such an amazing movie. Are there any memorable experiences from it that stood out above the rest?
just all the free food we got at Google.
What was it like working with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Premium Rush?
nice guy. i'm glad i didn't have to do those stunts.
Hi Aasif! I am a Canadian and wanted to know if you have had a chance to check out Sugar Sami yet?
Also, can you enlighten me on where you think comedy (usually making fun of something or someone) ceases to be hateful or hurtful? And what do you think the line is?
i think you have to draw that line for yourself and see how it lands.
Alright everyone buckle down, Aasif confirmed it, we're in for the long haul.
First, thanks for your great work. My son and I watch TDS every night and I can tell you that we both very much enjoy when you're doing a segment.
So, my question- what has you most excited about "The Brink"?
its dealing with the same issues as the daily show but in a narrative form
How often do you guys do crazy shit on the daily show? Like any jousting for doughnuts or pillaging for coffee?
have you been to our offices, cos thats all we do
Hey Aasif, I loved your character in Oz. What's your favorite memory from working on that show?
beating up my old friend Rick Rodgers.
Tell us more about your book of essays! What are some of the themes that you write on? (And I liked you a lot in ABCD. You were the only character that wasn't a whiny baby)
lol.. thanks, i guess... the book is a series of personal essays, they are humerous for the most part, but they do touch upon themes of the immigrant identity, dislocation, race, trying to find an identity in a western world as a south asian, being muslim in america post 9/11, but don't worry, it also touches on some sereious themes, like my fathers obsession with brunch and why my parents bonded over their love of Urine.... true story!
Who are some of your favorite comics right now? Who was your inspiration growing up?
i don't really think of myself as a comic, but i love chris rock and louis ck
I just read Sakina's Restaurant and I really loved it. Are you working on any other plays?
thanks. not right now
Any chance Amazon or Netflix will feature your new HBO show?
i don't know, but the world is changing everyday. never say never.
I haven't watched The Daily Show in a little whilte but I have to ask. What does Craig Kilborn smell like?
How did you go about becoming an actor and getting the gig on the Daley Show, and what advice would you give someone who wants to follow a similar path? Thanks!
my advice is study the craft and be resourceful, there is no path i can tell you to follow, except don't compare your career to others, just keep doing your own thing. i got TDS by auditioning for it.
Thanks and keep up the hilarious work. Brilliant stuff you do.
Hey Aasif, USF alum here. Can you share any fond memories you have while matriculating in Tampa?
Also, big fan of Today's Special. Have you seen Outsourced? Kind of reminds me of that. You should check it out if you haven't seen it yet.
edit: Outsourced the movie, not the tv show.
yes, Outsourced the movie was great. thanks
Thanks for ama session!
What s the best advice u ve ever been given in ur career? By who?
What s ur most incredible experience of life?
What do u do in ur free time if u have any?
i think the advice comes from experience, in just knowing that what is happening to you right now, is not what is happening to you and life can change in an instant, so just keep doing what it is you are doing and don't compare yourself to others.
living is an incredible experience.
i wish i had more, but mostly i like to hang out with friends, and sleep.
Desis are obsessed with bodily functions. And brunch. I'll definitely look up the book. Thanks!
yes they are!!!! gotta love it! thanks.