Hari Kondabolu done did it again.
The comedian’s new Netflix special, “Warn Your Relatives,” is an hourlong laugh riot. Shot at Seattle’s Neptune Theatre for an audience of 800, a number that factors into several jokes about Indian parents and their high expectations, the special isn’t him talking about Apu. His documentary, “The Problem with Apu,” does that for him.
Instead, in this special, he expands on and shows off his comedic skills, touching on a wealth of topics like Trump, hate crimes, racism, how Sikhs and Muslims should be in charge of airport security, and gun violence. He also talks about lighter things like his feminist mother and how she inspires him, the time he was cut from a David Oyelowo movie, and the many South Asian stereotypes we’ve all faced.
Let’s talk about the best bit first. Kondabolu addresses the clichéd ways in which desis are perceived, such as their affinity for curry. He’s straight up honest here because yes, we love curry and yes, white folk find it spicy because it “activates their taste buds for the first time.” However, he then moves on to talk about a lesser talked about Indian stereotype: our love for mangoes.
It’s true. Indians can sit together to eat mangos in complete silence, or reminisce about the juiciest ones we’ve had. Kondabolu, in fact, wants to go a step further and start a mango-themed podcast, inviting fellow Indian-Americans to literally sit and discuss the fruit. As our name suggests, we can clearly attest to all of it and while we know Kondabolu meant it as a joke, we’re happy to co-sponsor this podcast.
Kondabolu has several mic drop moments throughout the special, especially when he brings up the Access Hollywood tape of Trump or when he says “race is made-up bullshit, racism is real,” or when he compares white people to cats or when he talks about homophobia in our society.
He engages with his audience, playing off of their vibe to make sure every joke lands. His entire act is rooted in reality but that doesn’t mean he won’t indulge in some truly wacky humor. For this, look no further than how he puts into context the advice he once received from Tracy Morgan.
“Warn Your Relatives” is particularly a standout because, through it, Kondabolu comically delivers something that the South Asian diaspora can identify with it, the non-South Asians can learn more from it.
Kondabolu has experienced a lot, from growing up as the son of immigrants in Queens, New York to his time as a budding comedian to now, when he is a total rising star in the industry. He brings all of this to his humor. Kondabolu doesn’t shy away from sharing personal incidents or reading his mother’s texts. His Netflix special is distinctive, relatable, and that’s why it’s a must-watch.