by Amber Hemmerle
Posted In: Comedy
at 10:38 AM | Permalink
Comedian brings his No Man's Land tour to the Aronoff Center Saturday
Comedian Rajiv Satyal was born and
bred in Cincinnati — Fairfield to be exact. He’s gone from being an intern on
Capitol Hill to brand manager at Procter & Gamble to full-time comedian
living in Los Angeles. Satyal has worked with Dave Chappelle, Kevin James, Tim
(the tool man) Allen, Kevin Nealon and Russell Peters. Heard of the University
of Cincinnati’s Bearcast? He named the school’s radio station-turned-media
group. He runs a consulting business called StandPoint Agency and is a regular
at all the L.A. comedy clubs, but he got his start at Montgomery’s Go Bananas.
Satyal’s unique way of viewing the world continually draws in more fans. He
refers to himself as the funny Indian, but he’s really just a funny — and nice
— dude from Ohio. Satyal performs his first one-man show No Man’s
Land Saturday to a sold-out audience at the Aronoff Center, and he
squeezed CityBeat into his schedule for a quick
rundown of all things Rajiv.
CityBeat: Since you’re from Cincinnati I have to ask, what high school did you
Rajiv Satyal: Totally
fine, a very Cincinnati question, but I went to Fairfield High School and I got
an undergrad at the University of Cincinnati in materials engineering.
CB: I read that you worked on Capitol Hill, what did you do there?
RS: I was at the
University of Cincinnati at the time and I went out to Capitol Hill to be an
intern for a representative, Steve Chabot. So I just worked in the office and
it was for fun, I got to live in DC and explore that town and did whatever
tasks around the office, but it was mostly getting the feel of Washington.
CB: Do you have a funny family or what sparked your interest in comedy?
RS: Actually I have
two brothers and, well, two parents, and everybody has a sense of humor. It was
a super fun household to grow up in. We were all pretty positively reinforced,
we weren’t really a tough crowd, like, we definitely encouraged each other to
say funny things and we laughed a lot. I know a lot of comedians’ families
would be like, you know, “boo” or whatever when they told a joke and were a
tough crowd, but we were a really good crowd for each other and just kind of
encouraged each other to be funny. My brothers and I never really fought a lot
growing up, which is so strange, but we all got a long and we had a good time.
(Check out Rajiv’s dad going
Bollywood last Monday on The Bob & Tom Show here.)
CB: Does Cincinnati or growing up here inspire any of your stand-ups?
RS: Oh, definitely. I
feel like growing up in Ohio, it made me kind of more of an everyman being able
to relate to people in the heartland of the country and people who grew up on
the coast. I think people on the coast have their own sensibility, but it’s
hard to know what works inland. A lot of comedians are like hurricanes; they knock
it out on the coast, but when they come inland they die. I feel like being from
the Midwest gives me an advantage.
CB: What inspired you to pursue comedy seriously?
RS: When I turned 30
I really flipped out, I was like, ‘Man, I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life and I need
to do something different.’ So I left Procter & Gamble and moved to Los
Angeles, I was a brand manager at P&G Water for only about 3 months and
then I jumped shipped and went into it [comedy] full-time. I guess I felt like
I really enjoyed speaking in front of people and I love being funny and those
two things lend themselves well to being a famous comic, ya know.
CB: So basically just turning 30 did it for you?
RS: Yeah, I felt like
life’s too short and, you know, why do something you don’t want to do? Why not
go for it. I guess I thought when I turned 30 I felt like, “Man, I don’t want
to turn 40 and watch TV and go, ‘Man I could have done that.’” I think given
all the privileges, if I don’t try it…I’m born in the United States, I’m
American, I have all these opportunities, it’s the land of opportunity, you got
to self-actualize, man, go for it.
CB: How has your comedy evolved from where you first started to now?
RS: I would say that
just getting deeper. As comedians do it longer and longer you start to go from
jokes to more of a point of view. You start to realize what makes you funny.
You have these weird beliefs and you stand out a little bit. You don’t really
have to do jokes anymore, you just tell people what you think and they think
it’s funny because they are like, ‘Wow, that’s a weird way to look at it.’
Being able to make people laugh at the way you look at the world, I think
that’s kind of cool.
CB: Do you have any stories about opening up for or working with various
RS: I actually opened
up Dave Chappelle’s very first show when he came back from Africa in 2005, so
that was really cool. I had opened up for him at the University of Cincinnati
in 2000 before I even started doing stand-up — I started doing stand-up in
2002. So people in the student senate and student government and programming
board at UC were like, ‘Hey, you’re a funny guy, you’ve done a little bit of
stand-up, would you want to do?’ So I opened for Dave Chappelle at UC and got
booed off the stage in front of all these people. Then five years later I
opened Dave Chappelle’s first show when he comes back from Africa and I did
really well, I killed and it was really redeeming.
CB: Did he remember you from 2000?
RS: Yeah, he did
actually, that’s what’s crazy about it — that he remembered that. It’s funny.
He was really encouraging and complimentary. I talked to him for two hours by
myself that night in 2005, after we were done, just he and I were in the room
and for two hours we were just talking about politics and religion and the
world…I know that he was happy that I stuck with it and everything.
CB: Who would you like to work with in the future that you haven’t worked
RS: I would like to
work with Bill Burr. He is not an extremely well-known person, but he is a
genius and he is from Boston. I think it would be awesome to work with Louis C.
K., of course, he is like the biggest guy in comedy right now. I mean, I don’t
know, I think Jerry Seinfeld would be pretty awesome. I love Ricky Gervais, I’m
a big fan of Ricky Gervais, a guy from England. Chris Rock, I love Chris Rock.
I actually met Chris Rock when he performed at Ohio State and I told him
someday I am going to open for him and he goes, ‘That would be something man,
you never know.’ So I have to make good of my promise. I told him one day I was
going to open for him, so I better do.
CB: What kind of topics or themes can audiences expect from No
RS: It’s mostly about
dating and relationships. The central questions of the show are: Why am I
single and how would you define manhood in modern society? So I’m a single, 38-year-old
man out there trying to figure out the evolution of manhood and what does it
mean now, how does the definition of manhood change and I try to define it.
It’s not a show about men versus women, it’s a show about men versus guys.
CB: What do you miss most about living in Cincinnati?
RS: Well my family,
obviously, my family and my friends. I have a really good friend who lives in
Seattle, but he is thinking about moving back here and the only reason is his
family; it’s not for the weather, it’s not for a better job and it’s not for
anything else other than the fact that his family is here. I think family is a
CB: I feel like if I moved away I would miss three-ways too much.
RS: I do miss
Cincinnati food. I love LaRosa’s, I love Graeters’, I love Skyline and I do
love Cincinnati food. You know, there is something about the Midwest. The
people are super nice and, you know, just walking down the street you can say
hi and the person will say hi back or the person will initiate or whatever — that
doesn’t really happen in L.A. as much, at all, and people are not as nearly as
friendly as they are here.
CB: What advice do you have for people who are trying to break into the
RS: I think they
should just start. They need to start…The Internet is such an opportunity to
reach the people you want to reach. I think it’s possible more than ever to go
down to the local comedy club and enter the open mic night and start. Get to
know the people and get up and do it. Write material, start a group up that
supports each other. It is difficult, but you know there is a way in. Comedy is
more accessible than ever.
Get a glimpse of some of Satyal’s
funny stuff here.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Though he hails from Massachusetts and
lives in New York City, Mike Birbiglia has an affinity for Cincinnati
and Go Bananas Comedy Club. Through the fall, he will be visiting three
of his favorite comedy clubs — including Go Bananas — to work out
material for an upcoming theater tour, which will commence in January.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Back in 2006, Lewis Black told CityBeat
in an interview that the Bush administration and the GOP were “fucking
out of their minds.” So it is fortuitous that a recent interview took
place on the second day of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s filibuster to protest
the Affordable Care Act.
Comedy and commentary veteran Bill Maher returns to Cincinnati's stage and HBO's screen
1 Comment · Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Bill Maher knows his niche. The king of
political comedy, Maher stops by Cincinnati for a stand-up show Sunday
just as his HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, returns from
summer hiatus Friday. Busy with touring and hosting an Emmy-nominated
weekly talk show, he won’t be making another documentary like 2008’s Religulous anytime soon.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Tom Arnold totally understands if you
were once in the camp that presumed that if you were involved with
someone talented, you couldn’t possibly be talented yourself.
“A lot of people thought that,” Arnold
says of his days working with friend, later spouse and later ex,
Roseanne Barr. “First of all, I don’t care."
by Jac Kern
Posted In: TV/Celebrity
at 01:42 PM | Permalink
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Happy YouTube Comedy Week! Celebs, comedians, YouTube sensations and other funny people have created a
ton of content to unfurl daily through May 25. As if the Internet doesn’t provide enough
distractions to laugh at throughout the workday.
I recently watched Parks and Recreation in its entirety over the past two weeks, so if
I cancelled plans with you, it’s not because my cat was sick. I was watching
hours and hours of Netflix. Sorry. It goes without saying that I’m now fully
obsessed with Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson), who, as it turns out, actually is married
to Megan “Tammy Two” Mullally and actually is a
master woodworker. Anyway, Offerman was on Jay Leno last week to promote his
upcoming film, Kings of Summer. He
also performed a song he wrote for his wife (NSFWish), "Rainbow Song." Apparently
he’s sung this ditty on a few other talk shows, but I’ll take anything to get
me through to P&R Season Six — which has been confirmed!
Saturday’s SNL finale was filled with lots of weirdness and sads. Ben Affleck
did a so-so hosting job, but there were a lot of awkward moments from the
start. Ben’s monologue referred back to his Argo
Oscar acceptance speech (is that really as timely as your could get, SNL writers? Oh, wait. There was also a Gigli joke. Oy.) about how he loves his
wife but marriage is work and blahblahblah because I guess some people thought
that was kind of shitty for him to say. Well, Mrs. Affleck, Jennifer Garner,
came out to faux-bicker with him but it mostly came off as a desperate “We’re
married and we love each other, OK?!” confirmation. Was anyone even worried
about them? Also, it really looked like he was crying when he introduced musical guest, Kanye
West. Kim K's baby daddy debuted two songs from his upcoming album, Yeezus, and he was in full performance art mode (also, the censors
let hella N-words slip through the cracks.)
Then came the tears. Last week it was
announced that Seth Meyers will be leaving the show to host Late Night next
year; Bill Hader also said this would be his last season. The two went out with
a bang during a Weekend Update segment with Bill’s flamboyant city correspondent,
Stefon. (Oh, and Amy Poehler co-hosted Update for old time’s sake.) Stefon took
us on a wild ride that included a wedding, Anderson Cooper and all those crazy,
presumably made-up characters from his club reviews (including Menorah the
Explorer and human traffic cones).
There had also been additional reports that
Jason Sudekis and 11-year vet Fred Armisen were heading out. Though Jason
hasn’t made an official announcement, he joined Fred and Bill onstage for a
reprisal of Fred’s fictional Punk pioneer, Ian Rubbish. Fred’s Portlandia co-star Carrie Brownstein,
Kim Gordon, Aimee Mann and others rocked the stage with The Bizarros. :'(
Beyoncé may or may not be pregnant — Gawker
considers all the possible “conspiracé theorés” here. As I go set up Google alerts for an official announcement (and ponder if/how
this would affect her summer U.S. tour, specifically the Nashville concert that
I will be attending), go look up the name of your Destiny’s Child with the Bey Bey Name Generator. And check out her
newly leaked single, “Grown Woman” (the song from that epic Pepsi commercial).
Spinderella cut it up one time! The true
star of Salt-N-Pepa, DJ Spinderella, will be in town at the Aronoff Center with
Shaquille O’Neal and a slew of comedians for Shaq’s All-Star Comedy Jam June 1.
Seriously, that’s a real thing.And here's Taylor Swift being grossed out by Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez's Billboard Awards PDA:
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Big things are happening for comedian Amy Schumer. The talented comic, most widely known for her run on Last Comic Standing and the roasts of both Charlie Sheen and Roseanne Barr, is about to debut her own sketch comedy show called Inside Amy Schumer
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 5, 2012
With the re-election of Barack Obama last
month, many people who were closely following politics and current
events reached a burnout point the day after the election. Comedian Auggie Smith reached that stage almost a full year earlier.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Can women be funny? It’s a question so
brain-numbingly idiotic that it’s best left ignored, but that’s
difficult when multiple facets of the media — from pop culture bloggers
to comedians on Twitter — recycle the “debate” over and over again.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 14, 2012
For stand-up comedy fans, few comics are
as popular as Brian Regan. Like Jim Gaffigan, Mike Birbiglia and Louis
C.K., Regan has built a large and loyal fan base without having been on a
sitcom or starring in a hit movie. Now he has a career many comics