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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wajahat Ali: Actor/Comedian Aasif Mandvi

It has been a long journey for actor and comedian Aasif Mandvi. Ending up in New York by way of Tampa, Florida and Bradford, England (where he lived from age 1 to his teens), the India-born Mandvi eventually found himself in the middle of one of America's edgiest comedy shows, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Not bad for someone who struggled through the 90's against race stereotypes in the acting world before he went out on his own and created Sakina's Restaurant, an Obie-award winning play which caught the eye of many on Broadway and Hollywood. Despite ending up on a show that builds on his stand-up comedy experience, he has also found himself acting in prime time TV (ER, CSI, The Sopranos, Law & Order) and feature films alongside Hugh Grant (Music & Lyrics) and, most recently, Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town). Throughout his career, Mandvi has both transcended his ethnicity and religion and appropriated it, all without compromising his talent or credibility. Associate Editor Wajahat Ali caught up with Mandvi to find out more about his early days, what life is like at The Daily Show, and how Muslims can take control of the way they are portrayed in mainstream entertainment media.


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