Hari Kondabolu Honored at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Diwali Party

October 23, 2017 Saloni Gajjar     saloni_g

Diwali might be over but the celebrations continue, especially for Hari Kondabolu. The South Asian-American comedian was honored by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last night at the annual Diwali party at the Gracie Mansion.

Kondabolu, born and raised in Queens, was referred to by de Blasio as a “true New Yorker.” He continued to list Kondabolu’s many other achievements, including his work with New York’s law enforcement, his continuous work as an activist to help immigrants, and how he turned to comedy to address these social issues.

In a powerful statement, Mayor de Blasio called him New York City’s positive answer to all the negative questions we get every day now from Washington D.C. He awarded Kondabolu a proclamation stating Oct 22 (a day after his birthday!) as “Hari Kondabolu Day!”

Kondabolu proceeded to give a brilliant speech, showing off his comedic skills while invoking true South Asian spirit. He called his proclamation the best dating profile he could’ve ever hoped for and how he’d always use it while conversing with his parents. We get where he’s coming from.

He goes on to talk about the threats facing the country today aka diversity, thanks to a certain rhetoric being spread from positions of power. Instead, he highlights the importance of diversity because “he could travel the world using a MetroCard” in New York City alongside people from different cultures, races, orientations.

His speech evokes emotions as much as it does laughs. It’s important to watch it and grasp everything he said.

While several South Asian-Americans are now being rewarded for their skills in this industry, Kondabolu has long been a treasured icon in the world of comedy. He performed stand-up comedy on TV shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show,” to name a few.

He released “Waiting for 2042,” his first album, in 2014. His second album, “Mainstream American Comic,” debuted at #1 on the iTunes US Comedy Charts and #2 on the Billboard Comedy Chart in 2016. He’s served as a writer for the FX show “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.”

Kondabolu has often spoken about how he never saw people like him in the comedy scene will growing up. Margaret Cho became somewhat of an icon for him because she was the first Asian-American comedian he saw in mainstream media. He’s channeled these thoughts into his upcoming TruTV documentary, “The Problem with Apu,” which premieres Nov. 19. In it, he’s shown in conversations about South Asian representation on television with other well-known actors like Kal Penn, Sakina Jaffrey, Aasif Mandvi and more.

Congratulations to Kondabolu for being honored this Diwali but an even bigger shoutout to Mayor de Blasio for recognizing his talent and showcasing it to the rest of the world because yes, the world needs it right now.

TAGS: comedian, , , new york city,

Saloni Gajjar

Saloni Gajjar is the content editor for The Teal Mango. Her passion lies in pop culture writing to show the arts as mirror of our society and hopefully help break the barriers associated with South Asians living in the U.S. Plus, TV stuff is just freaking awesome.

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