Netflix Comedy, Brown Nation, Explores Indian-American Culture
Taped on the campus of NJIT, Abi Varghese, Writer and Director of Brown Nation on Netflix, explains how his show is exploring Indian-American culture through comedy.
"We've come to a road where there are two paths. Now I must decide which path we are to take. It's like that poem by Robert Frost. He has to make a decision on what road to take. Smart and pretty. You should be in sales. [laughter] Right. Before we start deciding on paths, can we decide on lunch? It's gonna take 45 minutes to get here. No. And my stomach is rumbling. No. No. I don't feel like eating pizza again. Maybe something spicy? We should do the Olive Garden lunch too. Yeah. Already on it in three... two... one! Delivery for Matt McInney? Yup! Man these guys are good! Oh yeah, man that's what I'm talking about! [laughter] Thanks Matt! Thank you! Don't thank me. Thank the company card. That is from a series called Brown Nation, the writer and director, Abi Varghese is in the house. What were we looking at? So this is a clip from one of the episodes of Brown Nation. It's when the main character, Hasmukh, he's got an IT company that's not doing very well, and he learns on this episode that the expenses are skyrocketing and his revenues are not. So... and he has a meeting to discuss this. And while this is happening, the employees get to order a big lavish lunch. On the company? On the company. So... and let ask you this. And by the way, the series has been picked up by Netflix? Correct. How exciting is that? It's great. It's wonderful. When you were growing up... in Englewood, New Jersey? Yes. Was it your dream to write, direct, make it happen? Yeah I think it was always a dream. But you know, being from like a South Asian family, I always stayed away from the arts. And did something that was a little bit more, I guess, average and normal. Having a, like, a nine to five job. But... It wasn't your passion? It was never my passion. No. It was so... but I went to Rutgers. I got a business degree. And went the nine to five route for about, like, three or four years. But I was always creating YouTube videos on the side. And one of the videos that we'd done, it was like a book series that we'd done. It really became big in India. And we had about, like, 42 million hits. And... 42 million? Yeah. We had 42 million hits on our page. And it kinda, like, took like a wildfire. Is that where the impetus for this came from? Yeah. It is. So that was, like, geared towards more of an Indian crowd, where, like, an Indian... What does that mean? So it was, like, a regional language that was, like, not in..."