Vir Das: Losing It (2018) – Full Transcript

The world's got a lot of problems, but Vir Das has a lot of answers as he discusses travel, religion, his childhood and more in this stand-up special. He's lived through a flop, and now he's trying to figure out fame -- and maybe book a superhero role along the way.

I lost 80% of my mind. It’s very freeing. You should see the look on your faces right now, by the way. Oh! Good evening, San Francisco. Are you guys excited, yeah? All right. Well, my name is Vir Das. We’re gonna have such a good time tonight. I’m so excited. It’s gonna be delightful. Oh, this is how I talk now. I just thought it was time to really embrace my roots, you know, and to make my comedy more authentically Indian. And really, what could be more Indian than a fake American accent? I don’t think you understand. I have an opportunity to make history tonight, guys. I can. I can be the first ever Indian who comes to California… and then leaves. That’s never happened before. Because you guys are sticking around. Until they kick you out. Which, going by the news, is about three weeks from now.

Now, I used to work in America in the year 2002. It didn’t go very well, so I left for browner pastures. And then, honestly, I didn’t think about you guys for 15 years. Because, honestly, there is nothing that you can get in America that I can’t get in India. And then my government banned beef and I was like, “You know, an international career might not be such a bad thing!” Make no mistake. I’m just here for the beef. It’s been a good couple of years for me. I went on my first world tour. I saw the entire world. I went… Yeah. Would you like to know what 33 countries in the world have in common? – Would you like to know, yeah? – Yeah! Two things. Number one, I have now masturbated in all 33 of those countries. Thank you. I’m like the Genghis Khan of the Holiday Inn chain. My DNA is everywhere. If your hotel has a memory foam mattress, I’m the memory.

And two, no matter where I went in the entire world, people said the same thing. They said, “Oh, my God, you’re Indian? I love Indian people. They’re, like, so smart. Indian people, you’re, like, so smart.” Which leads me to believe the rest of the world not that smart. Now, there’s no answer to that question. Whenever somebody says, “Indian people, so smart,” all we can do is just, “Namaste,” and, “Yes.” “Okay.” Because we all know the reality, right? In reality, 20% of India is smart. Eighty percent of India is so stupid, we don’t even give them a passport. Eighty percent of India is just Being Human t-shirts and Gaurakshaks, all right? That’s basically India. No, in reality, 20% of India is smart, but it’s a population game, so we get away with it. Because 20% of India is 98% of most countries. So, statistically, Indians are not smarter. There are just more smart Indians. And if you’re taking time with that joke… …you’re in the 80%. And for the world to progress, you need to go. That’s what I believe. If this world is going to progress, Eighty percent of us, this, everything, everyone needs to go. Same number, 80/20, applies to you, American people and English. Think about your country. Eighty percent of America speaks English good. But I’m pretty sure 20% of America speaks English well. And if you don’t understand the difference… then you will make America great again.

I promise you. You’re the one. It’ll happen because of you, you, you. Build that wall. But in today’s world, we don’t need to speak English because we have social media. Eighty percent of social media cannot spell “social” or “media.” And if you can figure out how to communicate with them, you can rule any country in the world. That’s the new strategy. A leader, a brand gives us three, four words of evil. We are instantly hypnotized, mesmerized, on board. That’s all it takes. Three, four words. “Make America great.” “Build that wall.” “Jail that bitch.” “Drain that swamp.” “I’m lovin’ it.” “You’re worth it.” “Liyo to Jio.” “Abki baar Modi sarkar.” We are on board instantly. But… Every day on Twitter I am called anti-national, unpatriotic, a traitor, un-Indian, and to all of that shit, I say, “Spot on!” Because, fun fact, 80% of my nationality is Indian, but I’m 20% African. Yeah. And I know what you’re thinking, “Vir, which 20%?” And I will tell you. It’s my childhood, guys. My childhood.

I grew up in Africa. In Lagos, Nigeria, but see, when I say the word “Africa,” firstly, some musical shit happens in your head, right? The minute I say the word “Africa…” …but then after that… you guys think of, like, tribes or nature or wildlife or malaria. When my parents went to Africa in the early ’80s, when Indians were going to Africa for gold and diamonds and oil and malaria… Malaria has pretty much never left Africa. If Africa is McDonald’s, malaria is French fries. They just give you that shit with everything. I realize I’m being a bit unfair, comparing McDonald’s to malaria. You know, malaria is a curable illness. But… But Indians were very rich in Africa. We had a house with an electric fence around it. All Indians did. At our gate, 24/7, was an armed guard with an AK-47 machine gun. Security. Do you know how many people you would have to murder in India to get that level of security? Oh, sorry, I messed up the joke. Sorry, sorry, sorry. One second, I’ll do it again. Do you know how senior a politician you would have to be in India… And then we lost everything in one week. A dictator got shot, government changed, expats fled, and all of a sudden, we were poor for the first time, but the worst kind of poor, guys. New poor. Yuck. ‘Cause, you know, normal poor, you don’t think twice about that shit. Do you? No, you accept it. I’m poor, you’re poor. We can’t afford downtown. We live in San Jose. You accept that shit, but… But when you’re new poor, you have a fresh reminder of what you’re missing.

Let me give you context. We went from a nine-bedroom house in Lagos, Nigeria, to a seven-bedroom house in Delhi, in Noida. But we only had enough furniture for one bedroom. Do you know what it’s like to live in a house with six empty bedrooms? If you meet somebody in there, you just assume they’re a ghost. I was 16 years old. Do you know how important it is for a boy to have his own room at 16? We are producing our body weight in sperm on a daily basis when we are 16. Indian men, have you ever jacked off in an empty room with no furniture? We need something to rest on, right?\ Just… Structure. You know, in case you think of that one extra girl and the legs go. You know what I’m talking about. I had to train myself to jack off in the center of the room like a yoga guru. Like a feng shui master. Vastu and tathastu in the same orgasm. Really feel out the space. When I was done, I could never find the sperm. The floors were Italian marble. Till date, if I have sex, I face the girl north.

My father is my hero. My father went from driving a Mercedes S-Class, beautiful German engineering, to driving a Maruti 800. Americans, it’s just a roller skate with dreams. But he’s my hero because he never lost his optimism in his adversity. On the day he walked us in to buy that shitty car, he got so excited about that car. He knew it would make his family excited about that car. Fuck, he got the people at Maruti excited about that shitty car for the first time. He walked in performing. “Is this your top-of-the-line model?” “Yes!” “Well, what makes this one top-of-the-line?” “Sir, this one has four wheels. Also, sir, the car has a sun roof.” “Really? I don’t see a sun roof.” “Yes, sir, but the roof is made of tin. So it absorbs so much heat, you feel like you are sitting in the center of the sun. This car has two indicators, sir, left and right. Here’s the right one. And the car has six gear changes.” “Really? I only see four.” “Exactly. There’s first, second… third… …third… …third… and fourth. “Would you like me to turn the air conditioner on, sir?” “Absolutely.”

My mom had to get a job. She had never worked before, so she did the one thing that women who spoke good English in India did. She read the news for Doordarshan. Americans, Doordarshan is like our CNN, but with credibility. With no training or formal experience, my mother was Doordarshan’s top newsreader in one week. That’s all it took. Yeah. That’s how bad Doordarshan’s English was at the time. I don’t know what happened at her first job interview. They’re like, “Mrs. Das, can you pronounce ‘epsinocage’?” “Do you mean ‘espionage’?” “You’re hired, madam! We’ve been wondering for ten years.”

I changed schools. I went from India’s top private boarding school, The Lawrence School, Sanawar… Yeah, yeah, damaged goods. …to… From Lawrence School, Sanawar, to Delhi Public School. Yeah, that was a great transition. I went from an English medium school to a school where they spoke English medium. I went from nouns, pronouns and verbs to chest, shoulder, triceps. I went from Shakespeare, Byron and Keats to, “Eh, madam, eh!” I couldn’t do the examination thing. Here’s how bad my results were in Delhi Public School. My first PTA meeting, the teacher sat my parents down and she was like, “Mr… and Mrs. Das… Vir has issues… that need to be… addressed.” And then I realized she was talking to my parents really slowly. Because I think she just assumed the stupidity ran through my family. And the thing is, I’m not stupid. I’m just dyslexic. You guys know what dyslexia is? It’s a reading-writing disorder. You jumble up letters. When I was in school, that shit didn’t exist. Like, if I went to my parents, “Mom, Dad, I’m dyslexic,” they’d be like, “Shut up, boys are not meant to be with boys.” But… By the way, if you’re dyslexic, being gay is a great choice. Plus, LGBTQ just sounds like a dyslexic kid trying to spell a big word. Something like “lozenges” or… “logarithm.” Like, till date, I can’t write cursive. It’s a big issue in my life. I can’t write joint letters. I remember the first time I told my mom, typical Indian mom, I was like, “Mom, I can’t write joint letters.” And she was like, “Why don’t you write all the letters first and join them later?” “Because I’m writing an essay, Mom, not designing a fucking freeway.” So I had to write all of my exams in block letters, so in my final grade 12 exam, I got 52% in English, even though my answers were good. And I think it’s because the examiner thought I was yelling at him. You know, he’s just reading my paper. “The reincarnations of Krishna represent the true line of Indian mythology!” He’s like, “Well, that’s a good point, but I don’t like your attitude.” Because back then, a Hindu screaming angrily for no reason seemed strange. Now it’s election strategy. I lost 80% of my religion this year. And I think it’s because I started to believe in God. I believe that God exists in children, nature, animals. Pretty much anywhere but temples, churches and mosques. That’s where I believe God exists. Because that, like… ‘Cause I don’t think he goes to those places. I will explain why. Do you ever take a selfie, guys? You ever take a selfie? And you know how to make yourself look good in that selfie, right? But if you hand your friend the phone, they will fuck up the selfie. Absolutely. Why? Because they do not understand your correct angles. I think for God, man is that friend. We have always fucked up the image of God because we don’t understand his correct angles. Symbolically and visually. I think the first time Jesus Christ walked into a church, he was like, “What the fuck is that? Who drew that shit? You, Leonardo? Come here. What is that shit, bro? Who is that sad, skinny guy? What is this shit? What is that? I carried that cross for three days without carbs. You couldn’t draw a tricep, you son of a bitch?” Hindus, I think the first time our God Ganesha walked into a temple, he was like, “What the fuck is that? I’m half man, half elephant. That’s brown and gray. What is all this color? What, are you people on acid? What is this? Hinduism by Disney? What’s going on?” Muslims, I think the first time Muhammad walked into a mosque, he was like… I don’t know what Muhammad looks like, do you? Nobody does. Every time we try to draw the guy, somebody gets shot. Remember? I’m not doing that joke. Je suis intimidated, all right? I can feel your assholes just tightening up on that joke, yeah. Look, guys, I believe the future of world peace is not going to come from politics or economics. It will come from religions. The world will be okay when every religion in the world learns to have some fun and chill the fuck out. Can we agree on that, yeah? Two religions, in specific, Christianity and Islam. You’ve got to work your shit out, guys. I feel like, as Hindus, we can say that shit. ‘Cause Hindus are like your common best friend who’s caught in the middle of your awkward break-up.

And I think the only country in the world that can make that peace happen is you. America. You can do it. You can. You, America, just have to do with religion… what you have always historically done so well… with foreign food. Just, combine it and make your own stupid American version of it. Wouldn’t you like to see a religion of peace in the world? Would you like to see that, ladies and gentlemen? Yeah? Yeah? A new religion of peace when Muslims and Christians can come together and pray in harmony. Ladies and gentlemen, “Chrislam…” Breathe, breath, breath. Chrislam is a great religion, guys. You know how, Christians, you get Sunday? And, Muslims, you get Friday? So, in Chrislam, you get Saturday. You wake up on Saturday, you go to the “chosque.” And there’s great festivals in Chrislam, guys. There’s Eid-ster. Ahh! You just hide chocolate goats in the garden. So much fun. So much fun. There’s Shukriya-giving… …where you stuff a turkey into a burqa. And my favorite festival, guys – Halal-oween. Um… Halal-oween is so much fun. You know, where Christians and Muslims get together and dress up as the people who scare them. So, you know, Hindus. And then you have common praying in the chosque. It’s a beautiful thing, common praying. Our Father who art in Heaven… Our Father who… Allahu Akbar. Hallowed be thy name… Yalla be thy name. Give us this day our pitta bread. As we forgive those who hummus against us. Hallelu… yalla-a-a-ah! And then Sonu Nigam wakes up. Look, if we chill out and talk about religion, what is a religion? It’s a really old comic book. It’s a really old superhero story. Muslims, Allah is your Batman. Christians, Jesus is your Superman. Single-hero comic books. But, Hindus… we created The Avengers, motherfuckers. That’s our shit, right? Or did you think I wasn’t coming to you, huh? That’s all Hinduism is. It’s The Avengers. There’s too many guys. And nobody knows what the story is. And don’t eat beef. No matter what we say, we don’t understand any of it. We just end it with “don’t eat beef.” “Don’t eat beef” is our “Despacito.” We always come back to that shit in a circle. And we legit don’t eat beef. We are militant about that shit. We will eat a human being before we eat beef. In 100 years, India’s just gonna be, like, three leftover Hindus and 27 million cows. If you remove 80% of the bullshit in religion, it’s just a really cool story. That’s all that’s left. Like, Hinduism has some amazing stories. Who here has read The Ramayan? If you’ve read it, clap your hands, yeah? The rest of you, you have to read it. It’s one of the coolest stories in the world. So, tonight, because we are in San Francisco… with your permission… I would like to take America through The Ramayan. No, no, no! Whoa, whoa, whoa! Shut the fuck up! ‘Cause if you write a blog after this shit, I will go to jail. The law is very clear. If I distort facts about The Ramayan, I can go to jail. So I will not do that. The only thing you will hear coming out of my mouth is fact. And the rest of this is a silent bit. So, for the Americans, let’s recap the story of The Ramayan. Our lead God was a God by the name of Ram. His wife, our lead Goddess, was a lady by the name of Sita. Ram and Sita lived in the forest together for how many years? Fourteen! Fourteen years. For protection, they took along Ram’s brother Laxman. So it was Ram, Laxman and Sita in the forest together for 14 years. That’s a fact. Americans on board, yeah? Ram, Laxman, Sita in the forest together for 14 years. One day, in the middle of the night, Ram and Laxman were hunting a golden deer in the forest… with the great bow given to Ram by Lord Shiva. In the middle of the night, Sita got abducted by a demon named Ravan. Sita went missing. Ram got pissed. Shit got real. And that’s The Ramayan. Fact! Fun fact, did you know… that Laxman did not sleep for 14 years when they were in that forest? Did you know that shit? Yes, he stayed awake. Can you imagine how creepy that was for Sita? I’m just saying, you wake up in the middle of the night, there’s a dude like… “Hello! Good morning. You’re sleeping well?” “Ram, can you get your creepy brother out of here, please? You know what? Go to the forest and get me a deer. And make it golden because, you know, Delhi girl… “So, he left. Now… Pay attention, San Francisco. In the middle of the forest they saw a beautiful golden deer. Just… Ram was like, “Okay, sh… …I’m gonna shoot the deer.” “Good!” “Ram.” “What?” “Why don’t we…” “What?” “Shiva gave it to me, all right?” “Shoot the deer.” “I can see you.” “What is this?” “Shiva gave it to me.” Look, if you remove the bullshit from religion, if you lose 80% of your religion, what’s left over is a cool story. I love cool stories because of my grandfather. I called him Baba. He was the greatest storyteller I ever met. I lost him last year. Saddest day of my life. The next day, all we could do was sit around and tell stories about how he told cool stories. This beautiful mix of just grief and plagiarism, to be honest. And the best thing about his stories were that they had no relevance to the conversation you were trying to have. He just decided to say that shit. My first heartbreak, I was 16 years old. I ran to him. “Baba, Saba left me. What do I do?” He said, “You know, one day I tied your father to a tree and beat him. Then I got thirsty, went into the house, had some pani, came out, beat him some more.” Which is not the appropriate answer to my question or, when you think about it, is the appropriate answer to every question because at that moment, you’re not thinking about your breakup. You’re just thinking, “This dude’s a badass.” Who hydrates in the middle of child abuse? My granddad taught me that 80% of this honesty that we value so much in each other is unnecessary. If you can tell beautiful, truly beautiful lies, guys, the entire universe will conspire to make those lies a reality. I submit to you Harry Potter. Harry Potter is a lie made up by a lady in Scotland, but it’s a beautiful lie that children believed, they made it a reality. There are movies, merchandise, theme parks. If you go to King’s Cross Station in London, you will see a pillar that actually says “Platform…” 93/4 “…93/4.” It’s actually there and you can watch… as stupid children… run… 60 feet into bricks… and fall off stupider than when they came to the station. Awesome. Because they believe a beautiful lie.

Now, before I tell you my next story, are there any Sardars or Sikh gentlemen in the audience? I believe that 99.99999348% of Sardars are incredibly intelligent individuals. Cool? Now, if you apply that percentage to the total Sikh population of the world, that leaves three. And those three Sardars are in my next story. Now, when I was 12 years old… And you said we were cool, man. When I was 12 years old, my best friend Amandeep got appendicitis. It was very serious, his appendix ruptured, but that was not the beautiful lie he told me. He said, “Man, one day, my stomach was hurting. I told them, ate ice cream for two weeks and skipped my exams.” And I believed the beautiful lie, so I waited four months for my opportunity. In the middle of class, I raised my hand. “Excuse me, ma’am. My stomach is hurting. I believe I have ‘accendipitis’.” And my teacher was like, “I think that boy’s gay.” So, now I’m just in the hospital eating ice cream for two weeks. Every now and then, a doctor comes and pokes my stomach. I make a noise and the doctors believe the beautiful lie. And I am thinking, “More ice cream.” Except they are thinking, “Road trip.” So I get driven down to Chandigarh to Sector 37 to Santokh Singh Nursing Home. It is Friday night, three o’clock in the morning. There are two Sardar doctors with surgical masks looking down at me, of which one is Dr. Santokh. So clearly not a fancy hospital, more of a cottage industry, family business setup. Kind of scary. Imagine you boarded a Lufthansa flight and your pilot was Captain Thansa. They put a plastic cap on my face. I hear… “ssssssss” Which worries me. It’s not a Punjabi sound I’m familiar with. If the machine went, “prrrrrrrrrrrra,” I’m on board. They’re like, “Uh, Vir, could you count from one to 20?” Which I do, and the Sardars are suitably impressed. And… Fuck, man. All right, uh… And now all three of us are just awkwardly looking at each other because everybody in the hospital is still very much awake. So now the two Sardars have a conversation. “I, uh, think he’s still awake.” “Hainji? Really? What gave it away, huh? Was it the fact that his eyes are open and he’s looking at us right now?” “Fuck you, Bunty! Don’t give me attitude, all right?” Shhhhh! “Uh, Vir, could you sing the National Anthem?” So, naked… lying down on a bed, I go… …and pass out. Now, Indians, I know why you’re upset. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “He didn’t stand for the National Anthem.” Even Americans are like, “Could he take a knee?” “No, I couldn’t fucking take a knee.” I wake up 12 hours later. Dr. Santok is standing above me looking very pissed off because he has stopped believing the beautiful lie. And he says, “Vir, your stomach was not hurting, was it?” – “It is sore…” – “Shut up! We could get into so much trouble… if people found out that two Sardar doctors… could not tell a 12-year-old was lying to them. Because when we opened you up, we found a perfectly healthy appendix in there… so we removed it anyway.” And that’s the power of a beautiful lie. You can give yourself appendicitis.

What, you guys don’t believe me? Really? Who believes me? Raise your hands. Who doesn’t believe me? Raise your hands. I’m hurt, San Francisco. Legit hurt. Has anybody here had appendicitis? If you had appendicitis, raise your hands. Yeah, buddy, do you have a scar? How big is it? Is it about that big, yeah? Is it this big? Oh, shit just got real, huh, San Francisco, huh? That’s pretty big, right? That means when they were in there, they looked around and shit. There was a normal Punjabi surgery happening. You think the two Sardars had a conversation? “Uh, Bunty, do you see a perfectly healthy appendix?” “No, Santok, it looks kind of disheveled and it’s curving to the left.” “Bunty, that’s not his appendix.” So now I just lie and everybody around me is happier for it, I think. Look how happy you look right now. Maybe it’s because half the shit that I’ve told you tonight is a complete lie. Maybe, I never grew up in Africa. I never did a world tour. My granddad isn’t even dead. We flew him in for the Netflix special. “Baba, just stand up and take a bow, please.” Okay, my granddad actually is dead, but how much fun was that lie? That was fun. That was fun, guys. That was fun.

So I’m in therapy. I’m in therapy because I lost 80% of my mind. It’s very freeing. Now, see, Indians are so uncomfortable. We treat therapy like it’s an STD, right? Keep it down. Keep it quiet. Don’t tell anybody. But there might be a day in your life when you need to go to therapy, when you need help, and that’s okay. Maybe you have a loss. Maybe you have a heartbreak. Me, I did a movie called Mastizaade. Now, we’re gonna pause the show again, so I can explain to the American people what Mastizaade is. Look, Americans… Mastizaade was a really big budget sex comedy film… starring me. And the worst thing about Mastizaade, there’s no defense for how bad that movie was. Like, me trying to defend Mastizaade is like Hitler going, “Look, some of those Jews were assholes.” And the worst thing about Mastizaade is that it’s on Netflix. If you type “Vir Das” on Netflix, you will find Mastizaade next to this shit. But when I did Mastizaade, I did something that every Bollywood actor has done at some point in his career. I starred in a shitty movie. Fair? Fair? Did I know before I did it that it was a shitty movie? Yes! Fuck, yes, I knew it was a shitty movie. I read the script. It was, “Party, party, shit, shit, the end.” But I was kind of desperate. I needed the money and I got to romance Sunny Leone on screen for two months. Sunny Leone, one of the most beautiful women in the world, and you think… you think you are going to have cool stories to tell your children when they’re growing up. You tell them how you were Employee of the Month at KPMG or some shit like that. My kids are gonna be running up to me with iPads, “Papa, this lady?” “I love you, Papa. You’re my hero!” “Get in the Maruti.” She’s intelligent. She’s talented. She’s beautiful. She’s an entrepreneur. She’s down-to-earth, which is why when the movie came out, nobody got mad at her. Everybody got mad at… me. The Times of India is the largest circulated newspaper in the world. They had a supplement article with a headline that said, “Vir Das has committed career suicide. That’s if he had a career in the first place.” And then my phone stopped ringing… for five months. Fucking Vodafone wouldn’t call me. Once a month, that Airtel girl would put on a nun’s outfit, call me, and be like, “Shame, shame,” and put the phone down. And that’s what I felt. I felt intense, crippling shame, like I had messed up everything I had built for ten years. Eventually, all I did was really learn a lesson. Here’s the lesson I learned. I learned… …that your talent belongs to you… and weirdly, your reputation belongs to other people. Like, other people will decide when you are cool, uncool, finished, relevant, irrelevant, want a selfie, don’t care. It’s none of your business. Don’t think about that shit. It’s a disease. You can’t control it. Focus on the talent you have in front of you and you’ll always be okay. That’s what I learned. And I plan to take that suffering and that bleeding… and everything I went through… and put it all into Mastizaade 2, coming out in October, guys. It’s gonna be on Netflix. It’s gonna be fucking awesome. You know what I was trying to do with that movie? I was trying to get more famous really fast. That’s all it was. And I did. I got 20% more fame at the expense of 80% of my credibility. But we’re sold on these Bollywood dreams when we’re in school, right? We see Shahrukh Khan on TV. India’s biggest star spreading his arms and a girl runs towards him. And you’re like, “Man, I wanna do that some day.” And I did. I lived that dream. And when you do that shit, you discover that only Shahrukh Khan can pull that off. It’s terrifying. You need balls to pull that off. You know how actors have inner monologues? That’s what you tell yourself. “I have balls. I have balls. Big, big balls. Big, big balls.” Come, look at my balls. Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it to you now. Come on, everybody sing the song. “I have balls. I have balls. Big, big balls. Big, big balls.” And then you stay there… anticipating… longing… ’cause the girl is running towards you in slow motion. D-dshhhh. D-dshhhh. That’s the shit you see. I see… Ta-ta-tat-ta-ta-ta-ta! They shoot that shit in real time. Three seconds, she has arrived. You’re like, “Listen, I haven’t acted yet. Could you do another lap, please?” D-dshhhh. So, an Indian heroine spends her whole day just doing athletics. She’s got 90 kilos of embroidery and gold and jewels. You can see diamonds just flying off her as she’s running. You see the Queen of England behind her just picking that shit up. You see Nirav Modi behind that bitch picking shit up as well. When you live that dream… and 80% of that dream is over, all it does is give you more dreams. So now I don’t know if I want to be a Bollywood hero anymore. I want to be a superhero. I’m gonna just put this out there into the universe. I want to be an Indian superhero in a Marvel movie. #MakeVirMarvel All right, uh… It could happen, right? Did you see Black Panther? Did you see Black Panther? Oh, as somebody who grew up in Africa, it made me so happy to see… You know, it just made me happy to see African voices and African perspectives and African fashion, packaged together beautifully to make money for nine white people. It made me so happy, guys. Black people, God bless you. You just got Slumdogged. But my point is they still got their movie. They got Black Panther. Where is ours? Where is Brown Cow? Don’t you want to see Brown Cow, huh? You know, maybe 17 Avengers from now. It’s the end of the movie. Nothing is going well. All five Avengers are dead. Thanos is about to kill the world. The Earth is about to explode. All of a sudden, you hear… And a big cow comes and sits down in the center of the movie. And just like Indian traffic, the entire movie comes to a standstill around the cow. Thanos tries to kill the cow. 40 BJP supporters surround Thanos. “This is our Mother. This is our God. This is our Mother. This is our God. This is our Mother. This is our God. This is our Mother. This is our God.” – The Tesseract falls to the floor. – They’re like… “This is where the temple will be.” Because that is the defining political question of India for 30 years. “Build a temple or a mosque?” Fuck that! Make some parathas. Feed them to everyone.

I know it seems far-fetched, but I’m a man. You see this shit? This is all men. And men are defined by their unrealistic dreams. I’m a dreamer, San Francisco. Like, here’s a dream I have. I dream that… one day… monkeys will give scientists equal rights. For too long we have oppressed scientists… from their dream of becoming monkeys. Because in those beautiful five seconds when you fall asleep at night, when your dreams mesh into your reality… all a scientist dreams of being… …is a monkey. Do you feel me, San Francisco? No? Are you on board? No? And that’s how I feel about feminism. Okay, women, calm the fuck down. Jesus Christ! Did you feel the energy shift in the room, huh? Just the BuzzFeed articles rising in their bodies. Did you feel that shit? The dictionary defines feminism as the advocacy of equal rights based on the equality of the sexes. I’m on board with only the first half of that sentence. I believe we deserve equal rights. I do not believe in the equality of the sexes. I believe that women are beautiful, intelligent, layered, complex creatures. Men are with them. My definition of feminism is not letting a woman be whatever a man can be. It’s letting a woman be whatever a woman wants to be. To limit… To limit a woman to the achievements of a man is to ask a scientist to become a monkey. Feel better, ladies, yeah? You’re so stupid, you believe anything. All right, uh… No, whoa, whoa! Calm down. I identify as a feminist. If you do, clap your hands, please, yes? Isn’t it a wonderful feeling, guys, huh? Isn’t the best thing about it that you can identify as a feminist and feel like one without actually doing anything about it? You can just feel it… on the inside. That’s Indian feminism. We identify and fuck off. It’s feminism, not the Gymkhana Club. You don’t need a membership card.

If there’s one thing we can learn from racists, it’s less talk, more action. You don’t see racists identifying as racists, writing blogs about feeling the racism inside. No, they just wake up in the morning and they do racist shit every day, all day long, with commitment, and look how far their movement has come. They’re running your country, my country, Britain. Well done, racists. I say, “Well done, racists.” And, no, you know the best thing about racism? Anybody can be a racist. They let you in, irrespective of, like, your income group, your sexual preference, your nationality. Racism is a very inclusive movement, guys. With this whole feminism bit, ladies, I’m not trying to pander to you. I’m not trying to tell you what you need to hear because guess what? I’m a man. I don’t know, we haven’t shut the fuck up long enough to know what you want to hear, all right? All right? So, I’m gonna be honest. I don’t know how to be a feminist. I spoke to one and she said, “If you want to be a good feminist, forget how you treat women, begin with how you view yourself as a man because 80% of masculinity is bullshit.” And you think about that… Like, aren’t you tired of being a man? Can’t we just be male? Because being a man is fucking exhausting. And it affects the way you treat other people. Like, why do we have to show strength every day? Men have to show strength all the time in physical activities. Like you, buddy. Come here, shake my hand, please. If you can. Thank you so much. Why do I squeeze his hand so hard? Why are men expected to do this? Does this achieve anything? Yeah, what do I think? Toothpaste is going to come out of your ears? Is this powerful? No. You know what I like to do? I take a man’s hand and I kiss it. And then I watch as his life falls apart in front of me. As he quickly checks to see if there’s any movement in his underwear whatsoever.

Why do men have to defend women like they’re objects? I’m sorry. I don’t defend my wife anymore. If somebody insults my wife, I inform them that their insult could have been more accurate. Oh, you think she looks slutty now? You should have seen her in 2014. That was her thigh-high boots year. Speaking of which, why are men so obsessed with wardrobe? Not ours, yours. You think women care about what women wear? No, we care about what women wear. We look at your wardrobe like it’s the Rosetta Stone, just looking for hidden messages in that shit. Every time a woman in India wears something revealing, like many of you are doing tonight, Indian men say shit like, “Oh, she’s asking for it.” Am I wrong, ladies? Have you heard that in your lives, yeah? Our politicians have said that shit on the news. “She was asking for it.” Which is bullshit. The infinite beauty and fun of being a woman is if she’s asking for it? She can just ask for it. Because it is available, I promise you. She can just think of it and 20 “its” will line up outside her door. For a woman, the world is You can ask for it, compare it, size of it, deliver it, Prime it, non-Prime it. Cash on delivery, whatever you like. That’s the beauty of being a woman. It’s so specific. You get to ask for it. It! Men, we just want to get some. But nobody’s looking for hidden messages in men’s clothing, are they? I could wear a T-shirt that said, “Fuck me in the ass.” I give you full permission to fuck me in the ass and nobody would do anything about that. They’d just be like, “Well, that’s a cool souvenir.” Yet, men have the freedom to wear whatever we want… within limits. You know, you can’t just drape two bed sheets around yourself and run an investment bank. But you can run Uttar Pradesh.

So, how do we get women the freedom to wear whatever women want to wear? I’m proposing humbly a two-week course in school where all children cross-dress. All boys wear girls’ clothing, every single item, all girls wear boys’ clothing, every single item, so that the right dots connect in your mind as an adult. So, the next time you Indian boys, you go out to a club and you see a beautiful girl walking towards you, just mini-skirt, cleavage, heels… …your first thought as an Indian male is, “Her feet must be tired, man. Five-inch. Her under-boob must be so sore with the wire all tight jammed in there.” Most guys aren’t laughing ’cause you don’t know there’s a wire in the under-boob. You just thought there was 300 bucks in there for a rainy day, right? That’s how Indian aunties go shopping like ninjas. Hatsa-hatsa-hatsa! They pay from this one and put the change in that one. It’s debit, credit. I don’t know, that’s just my opinion. Ladies, it’s more valuable than yours. I come from India. We don’t even want you to cultivate an opinion. We oppress the Indian girl child by keeping her out of school. Are you familiar with this problem, yeah? Man, I think every single school in India should adopt disco nightclub policy. Couple entry only. If you are enrolling a boy, somebody has to enroll a girl. There are problems with this strategy. India has 72 million uneducated Indian men left over if you do this. What do you do with these fuckers? I’m proposing a new armed force. Like America has the First Response, call these guys the Worst Response. So every time India is at war with a country, you send these Indian men in and tell them to just exist. “Go to that country and exist.” Within one month, they’ll be shitting on monuments, spitting in public, starting illegal businesses, immigration rackets. Just distracting the opponent, then the army goes in there and kicks ass. Before you send in the troops, you send in the choots, ladies and gentlemen. That’s my strategy. Mission accomplished. Mission… …accomplished. And that’s a question I have about men. When 99% of men are failures, why are we so obsessed with the idea of accomplishment? The idea of success? If a man got up on a stage and told people that in the last two years, he had lost his fame, his fortune, his patriotism, his nationality, his religion, his credibility, his masculinity and his mind, is he even a man? Or is he just 20% of one? I don’t know.

I’m just here for the beef. A human being needs nine to ten ounces of beef every 15 years to stay healthy. A fucking doctor told me that shit. We ain’t done yet, San Francisco. Do you want to know what my job was in 2002? Yeah! I was a dishwasher in Chicago. Now… No, no, no. Indians, don’t get sad and sentimental. Fuck you! The minute you mention any other profession apart from doctor, lawyer, or engineer, Indians are like, “See, he struggled. He struggled.” I did not struggle. This is not an inspirational story. Being a dishwasher in America is fantastic. You get head gear, mouth gear, rubber gloves, apron, brushes, detergents. We give less equipment to a surgeon… …at Santokh Singh Nursing Home. When you’re a dishwasher, you spend most of your day watching food leave the kitchen. The one thing I always loved to watch was a beautiful piece of beef, ten ounces. The filet mignon. I’m sorry, Indians, “filet migg-non”. And sometimes that piece of meat would come back unfinished, a few bites left, and it just… God, it bred this… …this darkness, this resentment inside of me. I said, “Look at these fucking Americans wasting their beef! How dare you? You know, one day I will go back to India and there I can eat all the beef I want.” But you have to understand. This was a $29 steak. To me back then, spending 29 bucks on beef represented everything in the world I didn’t have. You know, peace of mind, success, the ability to kill a god. And so as a treat for myself, I’d been saving up for that steak dinner, and I had the money, and just before I could eat it, the American government took my dream away. They didn’t ban beef. My visa expired. I had to leave. You’ll find out. Um… And like I said, I didn’t think about that beef for 15 years until last month. True story. Last month, I went back to my college, Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. Uh, I was their commencement speaker. I got given an honorary doctorate. Um… I’m Dr. Das now. And you did well in your board exams. But much better than receiving my degree for saving lives… what felt a lot better was the meal I had after. Because after that, after 15 years, I walked into the Grand Lux Cafe on Michigan Avenue in Chicago where I washed dishes for two years and I ordered the filet mignon and I finished every bite of that steak. Kind of.

This is not an inspirational story. Keep your shit together. I’ve had maybe 300, 400 steaks in my life. Don’t tell the BJP. And that steak… was the most… average steak I have ever eaten in my life. It was a shitty steak. I don’t know what I thought would happen. That I’d take one bite and the lighting in the restaurant would change, and music would begin to play and all the waiters would start a slow clap and they’d come and put their forks and knives on my table like the faculty from A Beautiful Mind? And two children would stand up on chairs and salute me and be like, “My captain, beef captain?” But none of that shit happened. In reality, I just sat there and I did something that I haven’t had time to do in three years. I just… thought about shit. And I thought about how many Hindus this story is going to piss off. There’s gonna be some Tweets. Or maybe they don’t care as long as it’s not a brown cow. I thought… about how eating an average piece of beef still felt better than shooting an average movie. I thought about how this might be a story my grandfather Baba would tell. “Huh, we used to wait 15 years for one piece of beef.” And then I thought I should stop eating this because this is a shit steak. And my stomach will hurt for real soon. Then my waitress came over and I noticed her looking at my unfinished piece of beef. She said, “Are you all set?” “Yeah. I’m done.” “So you’re finished?” “No.” And then I did the most un-Indian thing I might have ever done. I tipped… …well. My check was $42. I left my waitress a $350 tip with a note… that said, “Look, I know where you are right now because I’ve been here too. But you won’t always be here, I promise you. Just know that.” Smiley face. Which is a pretty sweet thing to say. Can we agree on that, yeah? Like, that’s the lesson I learned. If you want to feel good again, stop constructing good things for yourself. Just say good shit to other people and you’ll feel amazing. And if you’re gonna say good shit to other people, make damn sure that you say it… out loud. Because if you write it down on a piece of paper… in block letters… “I know where you are right now… …because I’ve been here too. But you won’t always be here… I promise you. Just know that.” Smiley face. She probably ran into the kitchen like, “This Indian guy wants to fuck me for 350 bucks! What the hell do I do?” So I panic and I run out of this restaurant, and I see that the waitress is running after me. And she stops me and she’s like, “Wait, you left me a $350 tip.” And I tell her the two-minute version of what it just took me an hour to tell you guys. She’s like, “Wow, that’s a crazy story. I just thought you miscalculated the tip.” But it seemed unlikely because, you know, Indian people… you’re, like, so smart.” Good night. Thank you so much, San Francisco.


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