The U.S. is sending comedy showcase “Make Chai Not War” with performers Rajiv Satyal, Azhar Usman and Hari Kondabolu to India for a seven-city tour starting this week. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the tour is part of the State Department’s regular global exchange cultural programs. She offered more information on why the government is supporting the $100,000 tour.
“The reason we decided to support this tour is because, among the things that they are known for is their talk about religious tolerance, about the importance of breaking down prejudices and about the positive experiences they had growing up as Indian-Americans in the United States,” Nuland said.
“In addition to doing shows, they’ll also be holding audience discussions on these issues of religious tolerance, and doing workshops and having some interviews with the press,” Nuland said, adding that the seven city tour costs about US $100,000; of which the US Embassy in New Delhi is supporting them with a grant of US $88,000. (Economic Times)
Satyal, who used his comedic talents while working for Proctor & Gamble, put it a bit differently when it comes to describing what they will talk about on tour.
“It’s a measure of diplomacy and a message of religious harmony,” said Satyal, 35. “We’re not even really religious on stage. We might do some religious jokes, but it’s more just bringing people together.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Usman, who co-founded another comedy tour called Allah Made Me Funny, offers an idea of what topics he might talk about on tour.
“I am a believing, practicing Muslim,” Usman says. “This, to me, means that I won’t do sacrilegious, blasphemous, or heretical material. I will however, make fun of human stupidity, narrow-mindedness, and religious fundamentalism.” (Economic Times)