Rajiv Satyal Will Embark on Comedy Tour, 'The Man In The Middle'
Americans have seldom been more divided than now, thanks to increasingly anti-social social media and the incivility of civil servants.
Comedian Rajiv Satyal attempts to referee the country's contentiousness with his new stand-up comedy touring show, "The Man in The Middle." Using his personal experiences, the self-described "Funny Indian" jabs hypocrites and narcissists of all political persuasions and pop-culture preferences.
"Someone asked if this is an 18 and up show," Satyal said. "I said, 'No, it's really 9 and up' because that seems to be the intellectual level of so many elected officials."
Though he is admittedly left-of-center, Satyal throws plenty of shade at both Republicans and Democrats in "The Man in The Middle." It is, he believes, the most important show he has ever done.
"People ask me if I've gone crazy. Nope. The country went crazy. I've been standing right here," Satyal said. "People on the far left and the far right probably won't like the show, but they're hopeless. I'm trying to reach the 80 percent of people who are in the middle."
For "The Man in The Middle," Satyal is getting some high-level help, behind the scenes, with comedy writer Pat Hazell helping him punch up the script.
"Pat was a writer on 'Seinfeld' and has worked closely with Larry David, two of my comedy heroes," Satyal said. "To have his touch on this show gives me the confidence that we truly have something special here, not to mention, funny."
As a first-generation son of immigrants from India, Satyal brings a refreshingly international perspective to much of his comedy. Though known mostly for autobiographical humor, he is no stranger to politics. As a college student in the late 1990s, he interned for U.S. Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH). However, Satyal got his first taste of political controversy, on a personal level, when the U.S. State Department sent him and two other comedians on a goodwill comedy tour of India, called "Make Chai, Not War," in 2012.
"Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky criticized Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings for spending tax dollars to send comedians to India," Satyal said. "Other conservative politicians and media commentators jumped on the bandwagon to criticize our tour. The fact is that our show served a legitimate purpose, to portray the United States in a positive light and bring people of different cultures together, through humor. One of the problems in Washington is there are too many politicians who jump to conclusions before they have all the facts. And of course, hardly anyone ever admits they were wrong. Besides, I just did a few more gigs for the State Department in 2018, so I must've done something right."
Satyal later opened for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Silicon Valley in 2015.
"That was one of the highlights of my life," Satyal said. "Then again, this was before I knew much about his political stances. In many ways, he and Trump have a lot in common. You'll have to come to the show to find out if that's a compliment."
Born in the Cincinnati suburb of Fairfield, Ohio, Satyal graduated from the University of Cincinnati and worked as a marketing executive for Procter & Gamble, before leaving the corporate world to pursue comedy full-time. "The Man in The Middle" is his third national stand-up comedy tour.
"We are all in the middle, whether we like it or not," Satyal said. "We are caught between people in power who push us back and forth like pawns on a chess board. I'm pushing back with humor. I'm not really aiming to change people's minds, just open them. I like to think of this show as pinball, not whack-a-mole."
Rajiv Satyal will bring "The Man in the Middle" to the following locations:
Sunday, June 2, 2019
Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, CA
Friday, June 21, 2019
Center Stage Theater in Naperville, IL
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Southgate House Revival in Newport, KY
Friday, September 20, 2019
The Cutting Room in Manhattan
Additional locations will be added. Details are subject to change. For tickets, visit www.seerajiv.com.