I figure if people dont want to make the distinction between a Muslim and a terrorist then why should I make a distinction between good scared white people and racists?
One of the first auditions I had in New York was for a commercial where I had to go in and audition to be a snake charmer… It was either some bank commercial or something where they wanted a guy charming a snake… I remember they wanted to know if I actually knew how to snake charm.
When I was 11 my friends mom made a peanut butter sandwich. I ate the sandwich and was like Im never eating anything else again. And I still eat peanut butter every day. I would put peanut butter on a steak.
Traditional television as we have known it will make love to the Internet and have a child. That child will be the future. Its already happening and its hot!
In Britain you never get away from the fact that youre a foreigner. In the U.S. the view is it doesnt matter where you come from.
I was born in India – but never really lived there.
Thats the Indian in me – you must put spices on everything. As a kid whenever we got sick my mom would take milk and put turmeric in it. That was our medicine. That was the cure-all. Some people turn to Robitussin.
I rarely went to the mosque I never fasted and I only prayed namaaz on the holy nights because my mom bugged me about it.
In America people think being South Asian is still kind of exotic. When you go outside New York and Chicago and L.A. there are people who have never tried Indian food… theyve never even tasted it!
An artists job is simply to take the mirror in front of your face and hold it there. Its not to give you any answers. It is simply to take that mirror and point it at you.
Ive always said Im the worst representative of Muslim-Americans thats ever existed because Ive been inside more bars than mosques.
Im not really a food connoisseur.
When youre brown and Indian you get offered a lot of doctor roles.
It is ironic that it doesnt matter how successful I am in any other capacity: ultimately my parents marker is Do you have a wife? and Do you have children?
The artist never really has any control over the impact of his work. If he starts thinking about the impact of his work then he becomes a lesser artist.
People lament that theres no roles being written for South Asian or Muslim characters. But their parents dont want their children to go into the entertainment field. You dont get it both ways.
I was born in Mumbai but I grew up in England and then my adulthood has been in the States. Im an American stuffed with an English person with an Indian person inside. I feel like those things kind of inform me in some way which I think helps me as an actor.
I never consciously got into comedy. It was sort of one of those things where I was a theater student I was acting I was doing comedy I was doing dramatic stuff so its been something that Ive always done and enjoyed doing and had an instinct to be relatively good at.
The great joy of doing The Daily Show for me is that I get to sit on the fence between cultures. I am commenting on the absurdity of both sides as an outsider and insider. Sometimes Im playing the brown guy and sometimes Im not but the best stuff I do always goes back to being a brown kid in …
I think Islam has been hijacked by the idea that all Muslims are terrorists that Islam is about hate about war about jihad – I think that hijacks the spirituality and beauty that exists within Islam. I believe in allowing Islam to be seen in context and in its entirety and being judged on what it really is not what …
I did a play called Disgraced in 2012 at Lincoln Center which ultimately won the Pulitzer Prize. I played the lead character a Muslim American who had renounced Islam and became very anti-Islam.
For my parents generation the idea was not that marriage was about some kind of idealized romantic love it was a partnership. Its about creating family its about creating offspring. Indian culture is essentially much more of a we culture. Its a communal culture where you do whats best for the community – you procreate.
Im Muslim the way many of my Jewish friends are Jewish: I avoid pork and I take the big holidays off.
The experience of being on a show that is very much in the center of popular culture is exciting. You really feel like youre reaching people.
If you dont acknowledge differences its as bad as stereotyping or reducing someone.
You can talk about and think about Muslims as you want but you cant stop Muslims from building a mosque. You can hate Muslims from the comfort of your house or publicly but when that becomes stopping Muslims from building a mosque or worshipping then we are crossing the line into something else.