Whole lotta Hari lovin'
Now those of you who pooh-pooh at the general lameness and lack of critical awareness in comedians, Hari will combat your dismissive attitude if you just watch. He is immediately self deprecating, politically engaged, fearless, and adorably nerdy all in one fell swoop. Anti-racist, anti-colonialist, AND guffaw inducing? Say, what? Yes, people, it is possible and Kondabolu succeeds with aplomb.
For more, check out his website: http://www.harithecomic.com/
His blog is quite good too: http://www.harithecomic.blogspot.com/
But my favorite piece of work is a recent short film, Manoj, which he wrote and starred in. It's a "profile" of a racial caricature Indian hack comic Manoj (portrayed by a bearded Mr. Kondabolu), his dumb white fans, and an exaggerated version of Hari himself, deeply angry at the horrifying setback that Manoj represents for his own comedic aspirations. There's a bit of the Merchant/Gervais funnily-painful-to-watch mockumentary style in there, but it's also a really insightful piece that is a penetrating commentary on performers and their audiences. It questions who comedy serves, who is laughing at whose expense, and how people internalize stereotype and instrumentalize them in ways that further entrench racism, etc. (all those other bad bad -isms that social justice warriors, myself included, get incensed about).
Behold the mini masterpiece that is Manoj:
Labels: Hari Kondabolu