Hari Kondabolu’s video Manoj is up in its entirety** on YouTube. It’s about 11 minutes long, and well worth a look:
I mentioned the short film and posted a few lines of the script a few months ago. It’s well done — my favorite bits include the “South Asian Studies” major, and the comedy club owner who wants Manoj to “Indian it up” with the curry and cows.
Having short films like this available might be especially good for young Desi comics starting out, as they try to figure out how to tread the line between intelligent ethnic comedy and self-hatred. That said, I think the film also shows that there really is a gray area there; aren’t many people (including many Indian Americans) still quite prepared to find a comedian like “Manoj” funny? (Paul’s comment in the earlier thread on this also illustrates how the path to the right kind of “Desi material” is not an easy one.) Another issue raised here (and I know everyone is tired of it) is the ABD/DBD divide, specifically the different relationships to Indian accents. I imagine some readers might watch this and think, “well, isn’t Hari himself actually using a fake version of the Indian accent here for comedic effect?”
(For those in the Washington DC area, Manoj will be screened publicly as part of the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival this Friday night at 7pm. Another obviously Desi short is Maya Anand’s Anjali, which screens on Sunday.)
** Hari emails me to say that the YouTube version is itself slightly edited. The real full version of the film (15 minutes) is at Vimeo, here.