What Do You Bring to the Table?

Poster Credit: Danielle Brancazio. Photo Credit: Justin Baker.

“Nothing fails like success.” — Variously Ascribed

I’m eternally grateful for all of my new Medium followers. Thank you to all of you who read my piece on the White House Correspondents Dinner, The Boys Who Cried Wolf. It was a thrill to make the front page of Medium, which I’ve been reading everyday for years. (Shout-out to Medium Editor Harris Sockel.)

Now that I have a larger audience, it’s a bit nerve-racking to try to follow that up — and the last thing I want to appear to do is to go into self-promotion mode. It then occurred to me — to not post this on Medium for fear of being perceived as self-centered is actually the very manifestation of ego. This isn’t about me — it’s about the biggest issue facing America right now — immigration.

As such, I hope sharing this news is received in the spirit in which it is intended — for a good cause.

On June 1, I launched a KickstarterFundRajiv.com. The $25,000 goal was reached in 24 hours. An unbelievable thrill. We’re now at $48,375 and 495 backers. It ends this Saturday, 30 June, so please consider contributing.

The Kickstarter is to fund a talk show where I interview guests as we play a game. The guests are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation immigrants in America.

Feel free to continue to the Kickstarter page (which contains info on all the cool Rewards) or continue to read below, which I’ve pasted from Kickstarter. Thank you. 🙏🏾

VISION

Jenga with Deepak Chopra? Connect Four with Hasan Minhaj? Yep, that’s my talk show. I interview guests as we play a game. It’s called What Do You Bring to The Table?

In this day and age, I want to celebrate one of the things that truly makes America great — immigration. Sure, I can write Trump-bashing Facebook posts with the best of ’em, but maybe it’s time instead to channel my energy into something positive. So, I’m showcasing the First, Second, and Third Generations of immigrants to America. I’m starting with Indians, since I know so many, and then will move on to ethnic groups from all continents.

Here’s a preview of the Hasan Minhaj episode:

GUESTS

EIGHT EPISODES READY TO GO:

Jenga with Deepak? Give Piece a Chance
The Homecoming King Himself, Hasan Minhaj
Comedian Aparna Nancherla
Actor Aasif Mandvi
1st Indian Miss America Nina Davuluri
Songwriter Savan Kotecha
Director Vikram Gandhi
1st Indian Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

FOUR GUESTS SHOT THIS WEEK:

Beauty Influencer Deepica Mutyala
Actor Utkarsh Ambudkar
Adult Actress Priya Rai
Actor Ravi Patel

TWO MORE GUESTS ALREADY CONFIRMED:

Singer Sparsh Shah
Comedian Russell Peters

GOAL

Because Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition, I’m setting the goal at $25,000. I’ve put in about $25,000 of my own money to make (film and edit) eight episodes. Of course, I am fine with investing in myself; I am not looking to recoup this.

The money you contribute will go to the good people on the crew whom the audience will never see — the sound guy, the lighting gal, et al. I don’t want to call in favors. I want to support their craft and pay them their market rate. After all, this is how they eat. For my part, it’s a labor of love. I’ll draw no salary from whatever you’re able to give.

Each episode is expensive — about $3,000. These aren’t shot on an iPhone; they’re three-camera, TV-quality shoots.

Once we reach our goal of $25,000, I’ll deliver eight more episodes, so you’ll see a total of 16 episodes.

The more we raise, the more content we will make. For every $3,000 above our goal, you’ll see another episode.

We’re gonna launch Season One in August on my Facebook and YouTube Channels. And then we go pitch a Netflix or Amazon for Season Two.

Let’s do this!

UPDATES

  • Kickstarter featured us in its newsletter and made us a Project We Love. ❤️
  • Two Members of Congress have agreed to appear as guests. 🇺🇸
  • Just a few days ago, I had a phone call with a major cable TV network, which is interested in potentially carrying the show. ☎️

HOST

Here’s my bio:

Rajiv Satyal is a Los Angeles-based comedian/host. His TV-clean act has made him one of the most versatile comedians working today. He began his career in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rajiv had an unusual entry into standup, doing his act for then-World №1 tennis player Pete Sampras in a locker room. Satyal has some interesting claims to fame: he opened for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in front of 17,000 people. He made the massively viral I AM INDIAN video, which has been seen over 50 million times, shared by Bollywood stars, and used to introduce the Indian Prime Minister in Shanghai and Dubai. He has opened for Russell Peters more than any other Indian comedian. Rajiv has opened for Dave Chappelle five times, and even opened Chappelle’s very first show after his much-publicized African hiatus.

Satyal performs regularly at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. He has 12 videos with over 100,000 YouTube views each, and been featured on/in NBC, NPR, Nickelodeon, Fx, Netflix, Bob & Tom, Times Now, Zee TV, Pandora, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Variety, Advertising Age, The Times of India, The Huffington Post, and The LA Times.

Rajiv wrote No Man’s Land, a 100-minute one-person show about his dating life that sold out all performances from LA to NY to San Francisco to Cincinnati. This show actually led to Satyal’s marriage, which itself had a comedic arc: Rajiv proposed to his girlfriend while opening for Kevin Nealon, and at his wedding, Russell Peters finally opened for him.

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