Team Coco in India

Outsourced should take a page out of this Conan O’Brien promo – this is how you do a gora guy in India and make it funny. And charming. But of course they won’t. Outsourced is an NBC show and NBC pathetically fired Conan off of The Tonight Show early this year after a meager 7 month run.

I think the promo is witty and gorgeous. I’ve been trying to find out who and where it was made, but came up empty. I did find the following.

Amex has been trying to lure Mr. O’Brien into appearing in a commercial since the company sponsored his comedy tour earlier this year. Several weeks ago, Mr. O’Brien said he was finally convinced by a funny script created by WPP PLC’s Ogilvy & Mather, as well as American Express’s past ads.

Playing on Mr. O’Brien’s obsession for detail, the new ad shows the comedian taking a trip to India to search for the finest materials to make curtains for his new show. Mr. O’Brien is seen using a loom to weave the fabric; stomping on flower petals to make the dye and having a gossip session with the local washing ladies as he dyes the material.

A person familiar with the matter said AmEx paid Mr. O’Brien more than $1 million to do the commercial. [wsj]

Conan is making his return to television, only this time it’s on TBS at the 11pm time slot. The show is called, “Conan” and his return begins tonight, November 8th.

This entry was posted in Events, Humor, Memes, Video by Taz. Bookmark the permalink.

About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

34 thoughts on “Team Coco in India

  1. It looks like it was shot in Rajasthan. There appears to be an opening shot of the Jaisalmer Fort.

    Conan has always been top-notch when it came to making Indian-jokes.

  2. yeah, i grew up with shada lok too. interesting wikipedia say that bengalis use gora/gori though. perhaps we should change that.

  3. btw, the way “gora” is pronounced is kind of like the word my mom uses for “stubborn” in bengali.

  4. “use gora/gori though. perhaps we should change that.”

    I’m stuck in my ways. Shada lok is what I heard growing up.

    • now we all know your IP address… also what does shada lok mean, for us Southies? We like to say vellaikkaaran.

  5. I actually like Outsourced now… all the other episodes are funnier than the pilot.

    I think this was filmed in Rajasthan somewhere too… but not Jaipur… that’s all I have to offer.. :P And his Hindi is awful.. I am assuming it was supposed to be terrible, right?

  6. this is going to be interesting.

    Stewart and Conan are really going to go to war for late night supremacy.

  7. Ah, this is where the gora/gori discussion came from. Yeah, I too grew up with shada lok, but I don’t even think of it as a thing. It just means, ‘white people.’ The closest I’ve heard to a mildly ironic epithet is Sahib. But I have very soft spoken family, so who knows.

    I did like it, b/c they went through the trouble of hitting all the details, having it in real Hindi, having everyone know who he is. All the extras were really good. I still wish he had gone to an Indian craftsperson for each stage of the making of the cloth. It could still have been funny and shown his OCD without implying that he could do it best. There’s something about all the, uh, shada lok going to India and taking over the direction of crafts to achieve ‘perfection’ that bugs me a bit. But whatever, it was funny.

  8. It’s “looks like it was shot in Rajasthan”?? Silly ABCDs. That is quite obviously Jaipur.

    • I don’t think it’s Jaipur. I lived in Jaipur. There was no “Pink City” in this and the hills are much too close together… I have also been the a few of the forts/palaces/etc around Jaipur, and none of the ones in this video looked familiar… The palace in the city is in a completely flat area, and the fort on the hill is perched on top of the hill, not nestled into it. There is another fort/palace area a bit outside of Jaipur that I didn’t go to though.

    • Love, love, love this! And not just because I adore Conan, although his geeky touch certainly made this even better than it otherwise might have been. It’s witty and gorgeous, as Taz said, and captures a certain essence of India that most American ads don’t. Also, major points for having him speak Hindi lines (and slang, at that).

      @ Sawan – No need to insult the ABDs – I’m pretty sure my 70-year old aunt from Madras would not be able to pinpoint the exact city/town in Rajasthan where this took place.

  9. Shada means plain ===> pale ===> fair ===> white; Shobuj means green Shobuj===>Sabji===>Sabji is green!

    Saheli ===> lokhi mei!

  10. Ok I take part of that back.. watched it again and it DOES look like he is in the old city when he is riding around the in auto….

    • I see the old city, but I still don’t recognize the fort… Sawan, do you know what fort that is at the beginning?

      • It is indeed Jaipur. It is shot in Amer (Amber) Fort, Johari bazar, and Galta among other places.

  11. Sawan, I love the phrase, “for the love of facts.” Thank you for putting it in a comment thread.

  12. Gora gori? I just use whitey. Or tightey whitey for the WASPs. Conan had his own skit similar to Outsourced’s premise a few years ago. Pretty funny.

    Cute lil ad.

    Speaking of Outsourced, the episodes are getting more tolerable now. It helps that I kind of tune out the bad accents by half the “indian” cast. I think the Madhuri character is pretty decent. And the more screentime for Deidrich Bader, the better.

  13. Gora gori? I just use whitey. Or tightey whitey for the WASPs.

    I use firang or adopt AAVE-isms like 2520 or texmexisms like gabach/o/a. It’s good to be crosscultural like that. Keeps them on their toes.

  14. The fort in opening shot is Amber fort/palace complex, The fort we see above the amber fort (on a much higher hill) is the famous Jaigarh fort. you can see the long winding fortified roadway between the two. I remember in 80/90s we used to think of Amber as another town outside jaipur, but now its well within the city’s growing expanse. The reason some of the shots dont show pink buildings is because most of it is not shot within the walled-city proper, but on outskirts.

  15. “Conan had his own skit similar to Outsourced’s premise a few years ago. Pretty funny.”

    I’ve been trying to find that skit and haven’t been able to. It’s the one where one of his writers travels to India to get his computer fixed, and gets a crush on one of the workers. It was great.

  16. btw, the way “gora” is pronounced is kind of like the word my mom uses for “stubborn” in bengali.

    Razib I thought that was a Ghoti, not a Baangaal colloquialism. Who knew?

    • I may not be thinking of the right word or transliterating it correctly but but shouldn’t it be “ghaora”?

  17. Conan’s knowledge of Hindi is impressive. (Even if he only learned a few phrases for the filming – it’s still pretty good.)