An Interview with Funny Indian Rajiv Satyal
After logging several years at Procter & Gamble (or as he lovingly refers to as “Punjabis & Gujaratis), comedian Rajiv Satyal broke free from his corporate gig in the Midwest and ventured to LA to pursue a career in comedy.
Rajiv started off his comedy career by sharing his astute observations around pop culture in general, then focused specifically on being Indian in America, then went introspective with a very personal set about his dating life, and then graduated to taking on a topic far larger than himself – music. In his 90-minute delivery, accompanied by singer/songwriter Taylor Alexander, Satyal closely examines what he calls the “Powers-That-Be”–invisible forces that have impact on the way we think and operate.
“I tend to have ideas for what I’m going to do. All comedians have certain themes whether it be say dating or being Indian. For me, music was one of those themes. I love music and I’m always quoting it and referencing lyrics. For years, I was scribbling down different observations which turned into 17 pages on Tom Petty (Rest in Peace), Beyonce, and several other artists that have affected my life in some way.”
In what felt like a combination of a TED talk, live music concert, comedy show, and history lesson, Satyal examines these influences and how they have impact on our thinking. “The show explains how the Powers-That-Be use music to control the people. Does music have influence on how we divide or unite? Does it have subliminal messages that push us closer or farther apart?”
It's here! Our summer comedy tour promo video: TAKING A STAND.Enjoy!
Posted by Rajiv Satyal on Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Regaling us with sounds and stories of what felt like more optimistic times, Rajiv and Taylor took us on a chronological journey, giving shout-outs to the peace-promoting ’60s and the drug-heavy ’70s, but starting in earnest in the upbeat 80’s, down through the grunge ’90s, up to the current shoegazing times. He poignantly, if not caustically, pointed out that “tragically, many pessimistic ’90s rock stars are dead whereas a lot of the happy ’80s rock stars are still alive.”
“I noticed a distinct racial divide between the music by white men and black men. Starting around 1991, music by black men shifted to a strong focus on making money and showing it. And music by white men became sad and downbeat. I also noticed music has become more individualistic. Hippies felt like there was a chance at world peace and after Watergate, Kennedy, Vietnam, there was a noticeable decline in faith in government (which is certainly one of the Powers-That-Be).”
“Anyone can make jokes, comedy can be easy, but adding an additional layer of theory or hypothesis. It’s not just jokes–I want it to be fun, and get people to think about things differently.”