Connecting through Comedy: A Conversation with Aasif MandviVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Comedy and laughter have historically served as an effective entry point for people of varied backgrounds to learn about one another. Many Americans first encountered Aasif Mandvi in 2006 during appearances as "Senior Middle East Correspondent" on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Mandvi took this opportunity to become a powerful spokesperson for American Muslims and has used comedy and entertainment to discuss prevalent issues and to remind us of our shared humanity.
Born in India and raised both in the United Kingdom and Florida, Mandvi also dedicates his time to charity organizations which assist in flood relief, medical care for disadvantaged populations, and humanitarian aid. Mandvi aspires not only to provide positive representation for American Muslims — he also hopes to challenge non-Muslim audiences, as he shared recently in The New York Times: "First of all, I want them to be entertained. And I want them to laugh. And then maybe it will make people think about the absurdity of fear and prejudice, and say, oh that's interesting, I never thought about it that way."
Join Asia Society Texas Center for an enlightening one-on-one conversation with Aasif Mandvi about his life journey, his learnings along the way, and connecting through comedy.
6 p.m. | Reception
7 p.m. | Program
About the Speaker
Aasif Mandvi is a Peabody Award-winning actor, writer, creator, comedian, author, and producer. Widely known for his work as a correspondent on the multi Emmy Award-winning, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Mandvi built his roots in New York theater under the tutelage of the pre-eminent acting teacher, Wynn Handman, with whom he was able to develop and create his critically acclaimed one-man show, Sakina’s Restaurant, which premiered at the American Place Theater and earned him an Obie Award. He is currently reviving this production at the Minetta Lane Theatre.
Mandvi can be seen alongside Alec Baldwin and Salma Hayek in the feature film Drunk Parents and stars opposite Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, and Julia Roberts in the Garry Marshall feature, Mother’s Day. Mandvi has co-starred opposite Jon Hamm in Million Dollar Arm, and had supporting roles in The Internship, Movie 43, The Dictator, Dark Horse, Gods Behaving Badly, Premium Rush, and most recently, the independent feature film A Kid Like Jake. He co-wrote and starred in Today’s Special, which premiered at the London Film Festival and won the audience award at The Palm Springs Film Festival.
He has a recurring role on TVLAND’s Younger, Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Hulu’s second season of Shut Eye. He was recently a host on National Geographic’s Years of Living Dangerously, which addressed climate change, and he wrote, produced, and starred in the HBO series, The Brink. Mandvi also co-created and starred in the Peabody Award-winning web series, Halal in the Family, which garnered over 500 million media impressions within days upon launch and addressed Islamophobia through parody and satire. Mandvi is the author of a collection of personal stories entitled No Land’s Man for Chronicle Books.
About the Moderator
ABC’s award-winning journalist Melanie Lawson currently serves as co-anchor of Live at 5, and Channel 13's midday show, Eyewitness News at 11am. Melanie has covered virtually every city, state, and national election during her career. She has traveled to Cuba, Panama, and Africa, among other places. She has won numerous awards for her reporting, including an Emmy for her coverage of President Clinton's visit to South Africa, the only local reporter in the nation to make that trip. Melanie has interviewed a wide range of notables, including three U.S. Presidents, Henry Kissinger, the Dalai Lama, poet Maya Angelou, Grammy Award winners Destiny's Child, and former heavyweight champion boxer George Foreman, among many others. She received her undergraduate degree in Politics from Princeton University, and a joint degree in Law and Journalism from Columbia University. She is admitted to both the Texas and New York State Bars.
About the Muslim Series
Through a multidisciplinary approach that utilizes Asia Society’s breadth of programming opportunities, this series explores the artistic talents and stories of American Muslims to inspire our community to better understand one another.
Shaista Khan and Shahzad Bashir
1370 Southmore Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77004