Does Reverse Racism Exist? Comedian Aamer Rahman Has The Answer

Reverse racism. It’s the infamous term that has people everywhere disagreeing with one another. Some believe reverse racism grants minorities an unfair “pass” for any racist acts/words simply because they are minorities. Other believe that under the circumstances, its hardly possible to be racist when they are simply pointing out the differences in privilege.

Comedian Aamer Rahman has his own stance. The Bangladeshi Australian stand-up comedian is normally paired with Nazeem Hussain to create the comedy duo, Fear of a Brown Planet. For this piece, however, he takes the stage on his own.

After being criticized for his jokes about white people and after being accused of reverse racism, Rahman decided to speak his mind about the topic.

“I could be a reverse racist if I wanted to.,” Rahman jokes. “All I’d need would be a time machine, and what I’d do is get in my time machine and go back in time to before Europe colonized the world and I’d convince the leaders of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America to invade and occupy Europe, steal their land and resources… In that time I’d make sure I’d set up systems that privileged black and brown people at every conceivable social, political and economic opportunity…”

 

Rahman had just put the stand up act on Youtube a few days ago and it has already generated well over 155,000 views. Clearly, Rahman is catching all sorts of attention. Check out the full piece below.

 

When Adults Throw Tantrums Like Toddlers By Jenny Yang

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all let out an exasperated sigh at the toddler in front of us at the grocery story yelling to the top of their lungs because their mom isn’t buying them candy.

Oh to be young and unaware of what’s socially acceptable.

Buzzfeed recently asked how it would look like if this sort of behavior was done by adults. The results? Hilarious tantrums thrown over things that actually do upset us on a day to day basis.

Starring in this short is none other than writer and standup comedian, Jenny Yang. The Taiwanese American comedian was a top finalist of the California’s Funniest Female  stand up comedy contest, and has performed at The Comedy Store, Improv Comedy Club and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

More recently, Yang is the producer of the first-ever all female, Asian American standup comedy tour, Dis/orient/ed Comedy.

Check out the Adult Temper Tantrum and learn more about Jenny Yang below:

Like what you see? Be sure to check out Jenny Yang’s official page here.

Hot For Doctor? When Asian Parents Go Bad, Courtesy of Hasan Minhaj

After featuring the hilarious (and charming) Hasan Minhaj in our Fall ’13 issue (get it now!), we’ve become huge fans of his comedy troupe, Goatface Comedy.

Their latest video, “Good Sons,” takes a hilarious (and … sorta creepy) look at the age-old narrative of Asian parents who will do anything for their children to become doctors/lawyers/engineers. It’s cringe-inducing and yet hilarious — we dare you not to be laughing by the end.

Watch it here.

Comedian Hasan Minhaj Talks “The Truth” and “Failosophy” (and Is Definitely Not Related to Nicki Minaj)

Over coffee and cronuts in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, Hasan Minhaj proudly talks about how his father convinced his mother to marry him within 10 minutes of meeting her, and to move from Aligarh, India, to Davis, Calif. It’s a great story about having the confidence to make one’s dreams happen, and one that Minhaj has obviously taken to heart. The articulate and charismatic 27-year-old comedian and actor has successfully managed his stand-up comedy career with his breaks into television, most recently wrapping his first season of hosting Failosophy, an MTV show on Internet fails and memes.

Minhaj discovered his love for comedy in 2004, during his freshman year at the university of California, Davis. His fellow students were going crazy with high-speed T3 lines and peer-sharing applications like Kazaa and Limewire. People would have hard drives filled with movies and that was how, at a friend’s apartment, he first viewed Chris Rock’s stand-up show, Never Scared.

He recalls: “I had never seen stand-up before, and he talked about being racially profiled and loving hip-hop and everything. I thought, ‘Oh, this is the Truth! Someone gets to call bullsh-t, and that’s what’s making everybody laugh.’ It came at such a telling time in my life when there were so many things I wanted to call bullsh-t on. All the bullies that bullied me. [Chris Rock] was able to talk about really heady things like politics and race, but make it so palatable to everyday life. And to me, that was the most empowering thing.”

Minhaj jumped straight into stand-up, making regular drives from Davis to San Francisco to work on his craft in the booming comedy scene there. “I was able to learn from comics of all shapes and sizes — Asian, black, white, gay, transgender, everything. Kevin Shea, W. Kamau Bell, Arj Barker — these guys were all inspiring to me because I saw comedy that could be different from what you’d see on HBO.”

In 2009, Minhaj moved to Los Angeles for NBC’s Stand-up for Diversity, a showcase program designed to launch the careers of comedians of various ethnic backgrounds. Despite finding representation, Minhaj, along with his South Asian and Middle Eastern comedian friends, would run into a common problem in Hollywood: stereotypical casting sheets for Asian men, like “Vikram, 25, dickless, docile, afraid of girls.” “In all those scripts, us pulling the girls was the punch line,” he says. “The humor was in the fact that we were getting a girl. I mean, a guy not being able to get a girl is funny, but not by virtue of his ethnicity. It creates this notion of beauty that Asian men aren’t cool, hip or sexy. It just made me mad.”

This was the genesis of Goatface Comedy, where Minhaj and his friends could play leading men in their own sketches, where their ethnicities weren’t the punch lines. If they couldn’t be cast as superheroes, news anchors or shootout cops, then they would create their own content. “Let our sense of humor bust through any barrier or stigma that Hollywood casting has put upon us,” he says, reflecting on Goatface’s ethos.

Minhaj’s sketch work on Goatface and his offshoot web series, The Truth, garnered the notice of several producers, and soon he found himself on television. His work has ranged from being the first South Asian comic on Chelsea Lately to doing improv work on MTV’s Disaster Date to being a series regular on ABC Family’s State of Georgia. The irony that on Failosophy he and other comics provide commentary on social media failings is not lost on Minhaj, who got the gig through his posts on YouTube.

Regarding social media he says, “It’s a gift and a curse. It’s democratized entertainment, in the sense that if you don’t fit into a circle or square peg, there’s a peg for everybody. If you are really into one particular niche, the Internet is for you. The problem is , like anything else when it first came out, like video games or cable TV, it’s a huge distraction.”

Early this year, Minhaj became involved in Stand-up Planet, a documentary TV show funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He traveled to Mumbai, India, and Johannesburg, South Africa, to see how the comedians there could use their talents to have a conversation about issues.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 2.42.58 PM

“I got to see the way they use comedy to affect social change,” he says enthusiastically. “Like in India, 54 percent of the people still go to the bathroom outside, while 60 percent have cellphones. So more people have cellphones than toilets. And this comic there had a great joke about how he’d see a guy squatting by the train tracks, dropping a deuce while swiping on a smartphone. It’s funny, and it brings levity to this social issue. And that’s it to me. That’s what makes me love comedy.”

As part of the program, Minhaj and the other performers visited with Bill Cosby, a mentor on the project. This sparked an idea about where Minhaj wanted to take his comedy next.

“Meeting Bill Cosby was one of those life-changing moments,” he says. “He’s one of the grandfathers of modern comedy. You know, he transcended race. Before we had a black president, we had Bill Cosby as America’s dad. I sat with him, and his ethos was that he doesn’t curse or talk about filth because he wants us all to be better than that, to be better than the expectations that are placed on us. He wanted us to be funny on our own and not be a victim of our situation. It really hit me. How do I walk that line of wanting to speak the truth, but not playing the victim? I think that’s the next chapter for me. I wanna be universal to everybody, but I also wanna say, ‘Hey, lemme tell you about where I came from.’ I think that’s the journey of stand-up.”

Next up, you’ll find Minhaj and the rest of Goatface working on a live tour of their sketches and pitching a television variety show. They’re hoping to change the face of television, literally. In his spare time, Minhaj is looking for inspiration all over L.A. “Seeing an artist on a small stage just before their big break is exciting. L.A. has so many great neighborhoods and events. There are so many amazing people here just coming together and collaborating on projects, like at Best Fish Taco, where people are crammed in a cabana to listen to comedy. That’s just so cool to me.”

Story by Paul Nakayama, photos by Ty Watkins. Originally published in the Fall 2013 issue of Audrey Magazine. Buy the issue here.

 

Dis/orient/ed Comedy Show in San Francisco on 9/07 – Win Tickets!

Haven’t heard of Dis/orient/ed Comedy? Well sit back and read up because this is a show you won’t want to miss. Dis/orient/ed Comedy is making history books by being the first-ever all female, Asian American standup comedy tour! This show will provide a showcase for local up-and-coming Asian American female comedians and feature exciting comedians from throughout the country.

“Our mission is to highlight the powerful and funny voices of Asian American female comedians – emphasizing the diversity of comedic talent as wide-ranging as a Japanese former import car model, a high-energy South Asian transgender boi, and an Egyptian-American female grouch.”

The comedy tour is headed to SAN FRANCISCO for two different shows on the same night. Because we love our readers and because we think you ought to check out this show, you can now use the discount code “AUDREY1“ to purchase pre-sale tickets at http://disorientedcomedy.com for the discounted price of $12. Act now – the code will expire on Sept 3rd!

Want to win some tickets? We’re giving two tickets away to the show. Just share this post on your Twitter and FB – don’t forget to mention @disorientedcomedy and @audreymagazine! Contest will end on September 4th. 

SHOW INFORMATION:
Dis/orient/ed Comedy SAN FRANCISCO
Saturday, September 7th, 2013 (2 Different Shows) 7PM Show & 9:30PM (Doors Open 30 minutes before showtime for pre-show refreshments)
Southside Theater at Fort Mason Center (Marina District) 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123

Tickets Purchase: http://disorientedcomedy.com