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Life As Stand Up Comedy

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"I am an expert on layoffs. Just like Fire drills, every company should have Fired Drills. The alarm goes off, you pack up your crap and leave the building. The all clear alarm would say: "This was just a drill. If it were to be the real layoff, the security guard would have been much bigger and your severance package much smaller."

When the dotcom bust came, Sai Ranade, a chemical engineer who had worked for companies like Aspect Technology, Arco Chemicals and Jacobs Engineering, found himself laid off. So he just laid on a whole new career as a stand up comic. He took a course with Jimmy Pineapple in stand up comedy and had his first paid gig at Laugh Spot in Houston. They liked him so much they booked him as an opener for Bob Zany. In 2000 Ed McMahon hosted The Next Best Star, picking 36 upcoming comedians and Ranade not only made it to the finals, but was the grand winner. McMahon invited him to be a guest on a show he was doing in Hollywood and got him a booking at the Improv.

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SAI
China recently offered a solution to the Kashmir problem. They said that just like Hong Kong and Tibet, Kashmir could be made an integral part of China. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accepted their offer on one condition: China also had to take Bihar. China backed off when they heard about Laloo Prasad Yadav.
Sindhis really know money. Just think about Sindhi names. Have you met a Rupayani? A Dus Rupayani? The minimum is :Lakhani!
There is one country that has benefited immensely after 9/11 -- China. They have sold over a billion dollars of US flags to Indian immigrants in Houston alone!
President Bush believes that China, India and South Korea are hiding the weapons of math instruction. He said: "We should have stopped at Al gebra. If we would have done that we would have never had Al Qaida, Al Gore, Al Franken..."
If Bollywood had its way, we would have caught Osama bin Laden right away. Ajit to Robert: "Osama se Phone laga do." as if there is a directory of all bad guys. Later Ajit speaks with Osama. He says: "Osama, tumhari maa hamare kabje main hai!"
Right after 9/11, I had an incident at the airport. But my pain was nothing compared to the problems of a desi woman in New Jersey. The FBI arrested her because she said : "Muhje Atta bahut pasand hai."
Just before coming to the US, I took a course. It was called E.S L. It stands for English as the Sixteenth Language.

Ranade, with his fresh sense of humor, has managed to stride the Indian American divide, chatting as easily about Bollywood and cricket as George Bush and layoffs. His genuine Indian accent is almost part of the charm, making his FOB stories ring true. He takes on political, social and cultural issues, which he says have become even more important since 9/11: "Many desis have decided not to talk about these things and I'm talking about them. Audiences laugh and recognize we are in the same boat. If I find some policies troublesome I try to find the humor in them and talk about it."

Ranade has performed at major clubs in the United States and traveled to nine states. He says, "Humor is operating on the edge and the Indian community is getting used to it, but after one of the shows, an Indian came up to me and said, "Oh, yeah, this was really good but can you not make fun of us?" And I'm like, "Well, the whole idea of this is to look inward and see our oddities." Not that anything is good or bad, but some of the things we do are odd and we have to observe those and enjoy them because that's who we are."

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Milind Kakade January 9, 2007 at 8:51 PM
I enjoyed the jokes. Hope, you could place me by my name.
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Odds & Ends | Magazine | April 2006

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