Aasif Mandvi - Embracing a New Style in "A Series of Unfortunate Events"

January 10, 2017 - Aasif Mandvi 01/10/2017 Views: 14,721

Aasif Mandvi chats about his Netflix show "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" and weighs in on his experience being typecast as a Muslim-American actor. (6:41)

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Please welcome Aasif Mandvi!

-♪ -(cheering and applause)

-Welcome, good sir.-Um...

-How are you?-This is so much fun.

-So much fun.-Welcome to the show.

-Thank you very much.-This is an exciting time

for-for America, it'san exciting time for the world.

-You are a mannamed Aasif Mandvi. -I am.

You are a Muslim man.How excited are you?

Ten days, buddy,then you're out.

-Yes, then we're done!-Huh? Huh?

-I'm gone!-Are you a little afraid?

I'm excited. I'm excited.

I-I really, uh, feel like, uh,

this is a time, f-first time,

where I feel like I will get,uh, trolled

by the presidentof the United States on Twitter,

if I just keep tryinghard enough.

You know?So I'm excited about that.

You're not worried about...'Cause, I mean, if he trolls you

and he's a civilianthat's trolling, you realize

-a president can troll you...-In other ways.

-Yeah. Yeah.-With, like, a drone troll.

-Yeah.-Yeah, I know. I know.

-Like, shooting down tweets.-I know, I know.

But-but, I mean,we-we joke about these things,

but-but, on the real though,what I've really appreciated is,

um, for instance,in The New York Times,

-you've been really vocal.You had great op-eds -Yeah.

talking about the experience,especially from a...

-from a culture side, you know,being a Muslim person -Mm-hmm.

living in-in Americawith a president

who's coming inwith an administration

that says,"We are not pro-Muslim."

Honestly though, from your side,

you know, like,what are you planning?

What are you...Do you even have an idea

or do you think... do you thinkhe won't follow through?

Is it just one of those things,where it's like, "Ugh"?

I don't know. I mean,I feel like I-I sort of...

You know, I look at Trump,and I think,

"Well,a-a lot of what he says..."

I-I... You know, he...It was about getting elected.

-Yeah. -And this is what I...Th... I think

a lot of the peoplewho voted for him

are going to beincredibly disappointed

-when he does not...-(cheering and applause)

...does not follow throughon a lot of those things.

This is the first presidentthat will be more successful

-if he doesn't follow throughon any -Right, on-on anything.

-of his policies.-Yeah.

I love Lemony Snicket,so it's fun to see you in that.

You are just playinga character which is, uh,

-really fun, and, um... -Yes.Uncle Montgomery Montgomery.

-Uncle Montgomery Montgomery.-Montgomery.

-That's his real name.-L... That's like "couscous"?

-You have to say it twice?-You have to say... Yeah.

He's a... he's a herpetologist.

Oh, all right. Well,we-we've got a clip right here.

Monty,our parents never mentioned you.


Dr. Montgomery Montgomery?

Renowned scientist?



That is astonishing.

Follow me.

Now, your parents and Ipractically grew up together.

I can't believe your parentsnever told you about me.

I loved them dearly.

Look, here's a picture of us.

There's no one in that picture.

MONTGOMERY:We were locked inside the piano.

Ah, we were so young.

-(laughter, applause)-I like that.

-You like the mustache?-I like the mustache.

-Yeah. -Why don't you justrock that in real life?

It was... it was so much funto wear that mustache and wa...

-Originally, they wantedto have a whole beard... -Yeah.

...but we ended up with justthe mustache, and just that...

just playing with that, uh...the squiggly parts.

Question-- did you haveto keep that mustache

and, like, walk around in lifewith that?

I did, yeah.I-I walked around...

People...people did not recognize me

when I had the wigand the mustache on.

I would, like, you know,FaceTime my dad,

and he was like,"Hello? Who's...?"


Oh, man! Oh.

Please tell me you didn'ttell him who you were.

I didn't, actually. I didn't.

I feel it's funnyif you were just like...

-I just pretended like I... -"It's me Montgomery Montgomery!

-I'm calling you to talkabout Aasif Mandvi!" -(laughter)

I was particularly intriguedby the conversations

-you were having with a lotof TV producers... -Mm-hmm.

-...about the rolesMuslims play... -Yeah.

...on television in America,because you are a Muslim actor,

and I'm certain you have beenrequested many times

-to play Terrorist Number Three,Number Two... -Mm-hmm. Yeah.

-...or even the guywith the name. -Right.

-Sometimes a guywith a name. -Yes.

-(laughter) -Or just, usuallyit's the same name-- Achmed.

-(laughter)-That is it, right?

It's usually that name, yeah.

But is that something that youstruggle with as an actor?

Yeah, I mean, you know,especially, I think,

coming up in the business,it was definitely, uh...

There were roleswhere I would read them,

and I was literally like,"If I play this part,

everybody in my family is goingto hate me."

You know, like, it was...it was...

There were just...

In fact, I think I once saidto a producer or a writer

when I wentto an audition, and...

I said, "I'm gladthat you've written a character

"of a Muslim person here,but it's a shame to me

-"that you've never actually meta Muslim person..." -Damn.

"...'cause nobody evertalks like this

or says things like this."

-(applause and cheering)-Damn. -And so...

Um, needless to say,I did not get that part.

-(laughter)-Damn! But, um...

But, you know, there's beena lot of that, and I think...

I think it is, uh...

Now, we see more people, um,

you know, Muslim people,

-South Asians who arecreating content... -Yeah.

...telling our story, telling,you know, the perspective

of America that is not justthrough the lens

of white Caucasian men,you know? So...

-That's fantastic.-(applause and cheering)

-You have some really excitingstuff coming up. -Mm-hmm.

What do you thinkexcites you the most

about what you're tryingto work on for the future?

Well, I've got a coupleof projects

that I'm in development with.

One show for Showtimeabout a fatwa,

about a guy who gets a fatwa,uh, which is,

if any of you know whatthat is-- it's a death threat.

-Yes. Yes.-The kind Salman Rushdie got.

But this is a comedy abouta cartoonist who gets a fatwa,

and then the fatwa turns outto be the greatest thing

that's ever happened to himin his entire life.

A cartoonist who gets a fatwa?

A fatwa for drawing a cartoon.

-Wow.-But it's a comedy.

I'm not gonna ask youwhat the cartoon was.

Well, we never see the cartoon.That's what so great about it.

-I'm-I'm glad.-(laughter)

-I'm glad, 'cause that's how,(bleep) goes down.

-I know. I know. -(laughter)-It's really exciting, man.

-Thank you so much for beinghere. -Thank you so much.

I hope you'll join us againand again and again.

We appreciate it, man.

-All right. Thanks a lot.-Thank you very much.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

launches on NetflixFriday January 13.

Aasif Mandvi, everybody!