South Asian Comedians On The Rise
South Asian comedians seem to gaining a huge momentum in today’s media among millennials and Gen Zers. Some of the bigger names in the industry currently include Aziz Ansari, Hasan Minhaj, Ravi Patel, Kumail Nanjiani, Mindy Kaling, and Lilly Singh, a.k.a Superwoman. Each one of these comedians has played an important role in bringing important issues to light in modern media.
Aziz Ansari is best known for his Netflix show Master of None, which illustrates problems faced by South Asians in the media. His show is important in addressing the racism faced in the industry along with the lack of proper representation. One of his first episodes even features Ravi Patel, another comedian known for the hit movie Meet the Patels, which follows Ravi’s journey, with his family, navigating love and arranged marriage. Once again, Ravi Patel plays an important role in changing how South Asians are represented in the media while still delivering quality comedic content.
Another important name in the realm of movies is Kumail Nanjiani, who gained a lot of momentum after his movie, The Big Sick, came out. Based on the true story about his wife, then-girlfriend who got unexplainably sick, the movie follows the hardships comedians face in becoming successful and the hardships South Asians face within topics of love and family and culture. Mindy Kaling, most commonly known for her role as Kelly Kapoor on The Office and later for her own show The Mindy Project, is another South Asian actor, comedian and writer. She’s considered an iconic pioneer for South Asian women everywhere as being one of the first and few faces representing Indian women in American media.
Two of my personal favorites are Hasan Minhaj and Lilly Singh. Hasan Minhaj was already widely known for his role as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah before getting his own Netflix special, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, in which he presents important social and political issues while also being highly comedic and relatable. He was also invited to give a speech at the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which turned out to be a huge comedic hit. Another huge media sensation is Lilly Singh, who is most commonly known by her YouTube persona, Superwoman. Lilly Singh has also been a huge pioneer in female empowerment and South Asian representation in literary, television and film fields. To me Hasan Minhaj and Lilly Singh are incredibly important in appealing to younger and wider audiences and informing different generations about important issues in a way that many people would like to learn, with comedy.
Although there are many more South Asian names in American comedy that are important, these are some of the few that come to mind right away. If you get the chance, I would highly recommend checking out their work, whether you want a good laugh, some political schooling, relatable content, or just want to feel empowered; these people have something unique and fresh to offer.