“There are white people who are freaking out about America because they know their run is almost over,” the Indian American comedian Kondabolu says.
By Rahul Raghavan
Standup comedian Hari Kondabolu has a not-so-subtle style of brushing aside hecklers who interrupt his performances. The Indian American dealt with one such heckler during a performance in Ann Harbor, Michigan, on Saturday.
The New York-based comedian, whose Netflix special premiered on May 8, shared the audio of the incident to his followers via Twitter and Tumblr on Monday.
On Twitter, he wrote, “People have asked me what it’s like to do standup as a progressive man of color during the Trump era. This piece of audio is from an incident that happened last Saturday night (5/12/18) in Ann Arbor, MI and gives you a small taste of what it’s like.”
A few seconds into the audio, Kondabolu is heard joking about Starbucks being racist, apparently referring to a recent incident in Philadelphia where two African Americans were arrested for trespassing after one of them asked to use a Starbucks bathroom.
Suddenly, a male voice in the background is heard saying, “Hail Trump!”
Kondabolu then asks: “Are you from Ann Arbor, sir? I guess not.”
Engaging both the audience and the man, the comedian continued: “… I want to hear this because this is going to be a fun interaction for me. Thank you for writing my future material, sir!”
The man is then heard asking Kondabolu, “What does your portfolio look like?”
To which the comedian responds: “Oh son, I just got a special on Netflix. I am doing okay!”
The line was met with a loud applause from the audience.
Kondabolu went on to ask, “Are we good, boy? You are good?”
Then he said, “Alright boy, if I hear another word from you, we will have you removed, okay?”
At this point, the man seemed to have said something, prompting Kondabolu to say: “That’s two, sir. You might not know this. But I love baseball. So I am like looking forward for the third one. And I know it’s going to be right down the fucking middle… “
He continued: “I have been doing this [for] 10 years. You don’t think I know you? You don’t think I have traveled the country and I know you. I know you. You are scared to death. Because it’s almost over! You fucking know it. You fucking know it… [These are] the fucking last flames of the dying empire. So shut the fuck up.”
Once he made his point, Kondabolu said, “Now let me turn this really back into a comedy show. Alright?”
Expanding his thoughts further, the comedian tweeted later: “There are white people who are freaking out about America because they know their run is almost over.”
This was not the first time Kondabolu was in the news on the issue of race in recent weeks.
His documentary, The Problem with Apu, which explores the racial stereotyping of South Asians in the popular show The Simpsons through the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, has received critical acclamation.
In an episode that featured in earlier this year, The Simpsons had tried to address the comedian’s criticism.