Aunty Baji #1

The following post is brought to you by the good folks over at rubbish TV. Sandwiched between such mullet-tastic gems as Full House (Uncle Jesse = hot, just sayinÂ’) and Roseanne there was born a shiny new talent. A Great Brown Hope, if you will. Ladies and ladas, I present to you Rubi Nicholas, AmericaÂ’s Funniest Mom:RubiNicholas.jpg

Rubi Nicholas’s mouthful of a life became her comedy routine. She’s a Pakistani Muslim with a Greek Orthodox, stay-at-home husband who converted to Islam. They live in a Denver suburb with their daughters. They fit in just fine. “Except,” she says in her stand-up routine, “every time my daughter leaves her Barbie Jeep in someone else’s driveway they call the bomb squad.”. [Link]

The Nickelodeon show consisted of six weeks of Apprentice-style comedy challenges set in a New York City penthouse. Episodes are available on the Nickelodeon website.

When she was a child she enjoyed calling her school and pretending to be her mother with excuses for absences, she says in her routine. She grew up in Pottsville, Pa., a coal region in the central part of the state. “Calling to let you know that Rubi will not be in school today. For today we celebrate the holy festival of the blind goat,” Ms. Nicholas says in a heavy Pakistani accent. And did somebody mention airports? “So a little bit about me,” Ms. Nicholas said in the final show. “I married a white guy to improve my airport cred. Yeah, and he had to become a Muslim to marry me, and he had to marry me because you know what they say. Once you go Pak … that’s right, you’ll never eat pork again.”

Walking away with a hosting gig, the chance to develop a sitcom, and a cool $50, 000, Rubi aunty managed to ruffle a few feathers as is evident from show’s message boards. Some parents found her act “too racist”, “prejudiced towards Middle Easterners and Muslims”, and insensitive towards 9/11 (huh?).

Sabrina Jalees, a Torontonian comic who is no stranger to race-based comedy, writes in her weekly Toronto Star column:

Canada’s most recent U.S. export and rising star, Russell Peters, is a great example of how successful race-based humour is when done right. One of his most popular jokes follows an act out revolving around Indians being cheap and Chinese people being stubborn. The audience welcomes these generalizations with giddy giggles ’cause a) his impressions are bang on and hilarious, and b) although being East Indian, Peters doesn’t have a Chinese bone in his body, he gets away with poking fun because everyone in the room is aware there’s nothing malicious behind the joke. The lesson? If the audience knows in its heart that you’re coming from an innocent standpoint, then you can get away with race-based comedy. And that’s why you can laugh at “racist” jokes. The best ones are an indictment against people who would say such things and actually mean them — without trying to make anyone laugh. [Link]

I agree with JaleesÂ’s yardstick mostly because when it comes to comedy I am not politically correct enough to want to give up my Richard Pryor, Sarah Silverman, Umar Sharif, and Dave Chappelle. If Nicholas can use personal experience to pull off racial comedy on a kids network then more power to her. Her future plans:

If things work out with Nick at Nite, though, she envisions her own television show as “hugely autobiographical,” a kind of “I Love Lucy” in which she and her family supply the exotic element that Ricky Ricardo provided for his daffy, red-headed wife.

Not quite sure why IÂ’m cringingÂ…ah, must be the ‘E’ bomb. Still, IÂ’d watch it.

104 thoughts on “Aunty Baji #1

  1. Congratulations Rubi. I saw your show on Nick and I thought you were hilarious. On the heel of Russell Peters and Gurus of Comedy who are already filling out venues its great to see a South Asian do so good. I was in Houston on the 19th and I was rewarded with not one but TWO choices for seeing South Asian standup comedy – one the famous Russell Peters and the other not so famous but well on its way Gurus of Comedy. I opted for the Gurus and it was the right choice. This is the next generation folks. They are insanely funny . I laughed till it hurt. Tapan Trevedi, Paul ,Raj Sharma and Dan Naynan were all funny cats. Its so GREAT to see people like Tapan Trivedi and Ruby – who are first generation to take chances that weren’t really available to us when we came to the country. Full points to all of you guys and may your bhagwan or allah or Christ or whichever diety you chose bless you !!

    Ramesh Uncle

  2. I guess she is testing the limits? I don’t think her jokes are offensive, actually they are very appropriate according to the times we are living in. If Americans are finding it funny then it must be GooooD.