Comedian Aasif Mandvi, who has attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner at least twice in recent years, is starring in a new web series aimed at making audiences more comfortable with Muslims.
In 2011, Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” created and aired a parody sitcom starring Mandvi as part of a segment on anti-Muslim bias. As an Indian-American, he is known as the show’s Middle East correspondent. He’s also been called the show’s “Senior Foreign Looking” correspondent.
Partnering up with Moore + Associates, a communications and campaign firm, they’ve produced “Halal in the Family,” presumably a spin off Norman Lear‘s “All in the Family.” The release states pointedly that their goal is to “shift attitudes about Muslims.”
Mandvi is on board.
“Working on The Daily Show I saw firsthand the depth of the challenges facing American Muslims,” he said in a statement. “I also saw how effective satire could be to open people up to thinking differently about this issue, while providing a balm to those suffering anti-Muslim bias.”
Seriously? Working on The Daily Show allowed him to see “firsthand” the problems American Muslims face?
Whatever that means.
But don’t expect him to be all inclusive when it comes to Sarah Palin. As reported by New York Magazine, he admitted that during the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, he was hanging out with Bradley Cooper when he refused to have his picture taken with the former VP candidate.
Mandvi’s four-episode web-series “uses humor to puncture some of the prevailing myths” about Muslims, while exploring “real challenges” American Muslims confront when living amid growing hostility and bias.
The Halal in the Family cast includes Sakina Jaffrey (“House of Cards”) and notables such as Daily Show’s Samantha Bee, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Jordan Klepper.
Among the topics the series plans to explore: 1. surveillance and spying in Muslim communities, 2. online bullying and hate networks, 3. media bias, and 4. the cynical use of anti-Muslim prejudice for political gain.
When determining which themes they would cover, they consulted prominent Muslim and civil rights organizations on the project’s Advisory Board, including Center for New Community, ACCESS/National Network for Arab American Communities and SAALT.
So far they’ve raised about $8500 of their $20,000 goal. See their crowd-funding campaign here.