Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stand-Up Comedian: Rajiv Satyal

As I've previously mentioned, I'm overjoyed when I hear about Indian-Americans successfully venturing into non-traditional career fields (which to us, apparently means anything outside of engineering, medicine, or finance). I feel an instant camaraderie with them and wonder if they too had to bear the embarrassment of repeatedly being asked at Indian social functions, "When are you getting a real job?" (Mostly by my own parents, actually -- who finally gave up about three years ago. Before that, they would spend a disproportionate amount of their time embarrassing/threatening/begging me into abandoning my writing career. Secretly, I think they still hold out hope that I'll pick something else. This, despite the fact that I've been a successful professional writer for over 7 years. But I digress.)

So, when I met stand-up comedian Rajiv Satyal at an event hosted by the Network of Indian Professionals about two years ago, I was super excited. Nick had met Rajiv before and felt a camaraderie with him too -- but that's just because they share the same last name. (As good a reason as mine, when you really get down to it.)

Rajiv is a reformed engineer, actually, and I can genuinely appreciate that. I caught his show for the first time last week at The Laugh Factory in Hollywood, where he hosted for Tim Allen. I'm not going to use the saagAHH 10 pepper rating system because I don't really have the expertise to rate comedians, but I will say this: I loved his performance.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I guess I wasn't expecting Rajiv to be as hilarious as he truly was, because after his first set I said to Nick, "Wow, he's actually really good." I loved his self-deprecating humor mixed in with his sharp pop culture commentary and witty observations about life. I especially enjoyed a joke he made playing off of the Usher (featuring Pitbull) song "DJ Got Us Falling in Love" -- where he observed that maybe it's not such a great idea to "dance like it's the last night of your life."

Reviewers always say that when it comes to comedy, delivery is everything. Rajiv has the art of joke delivery mastered -- I loved how he used the inflection in his voice to give his jokes dimension. (I also liked how his inflection helped keep me awake. I have serious problems staying awake for anything after work toward the end of the workweek!)

He didn't do any "Indian"-themed jokes during this set, which was appropriate as Nick and I were likely the only two South Asians in the audience, but Nick has seen Rajiv perform at a different venue and said that his Indian jokes are funny as well. Honestly, of all of the Indian comedians I've seen (probably about four in total -- including the most famous Indian comedian, Russell Peters), Rajiv is the only one whose show I'd recommend to a friend.

If you get a chance to catch him in action, do. Actually, you can plan on it by checking out the dates of upcoming shows on his website:


  1. sree - wow... thanks a lot for such a nice write-up... had a great time onstage thursday... keep writing... it's a real job! - rajiv

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