Aasif Mandvi on American Muslims, Television and 'Halal in the Family'

Thursday, April 09, 2015

When Aasif Mandvi started as a correspondent on The Daily Show in 2006, he “reported” from places like Beirut and Baghdad. It didn’t take long for him to turn the lens on Islamophobia and the American media as the show’s Senior Muslim Correspondent.

Now he's confronting Muslim stereotypes with Halal in the Family, a highly anticipated new web series shot in the style of a 1980s family sitcom. Before Mandvi joins us live in The Greene Space tonight for an exclusive premiere screening of the show, we look at how he's built a career using satire to highlight  and shift  bigotry towards Muslims in America, and on American television. >> Watch a live video webcast of the sold out show at 7:15pm ET.

On absurd (televised) stereotypes...

Halal in the Family was born of a Daily Show sketch featuring a fictitious TV show "pilot," The Qu’osby Show, and an incredulous test audience who told Mandvi exactly what the show needed if they were going to believe it: MORE stereotypes.

In another great moment in his news media satire, Mandvi called-out the “controversy” over TLC’s short-lived reality show American Muslim when Lowes Home Improvement pulled its ads from the show amid complaints that, because the show didn't have any racist Muslim stereotypes, it didn't seem credible. 

...and clueless guests

"Haven't you ever had a moment where you just couldn't believe what the clueless guest was saying to you?" On the Media's Brooke Gladstone asked Mandvi when he visited The Greene Space back in 2013 (below).

In a media landscape where even showing American Muslims to be normal is somehow controversial, there are high hopes for this nascent web series. But if Aasif Mandvi's history of facing his guests' stereotypes head-on shows us anything, its that he's up for the challenge. 

Hear more about Aasif Mandvi's early memories of sitcoms (spoiler: he wanted to be The Fonz), being the Senior Muslim Correspondent and more from his 2013 sit-down with On The Media’s Brooke Gladstone in The Greene Space:

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