Aasif Mandvi is known to millions as the Muslim correspondent on “The Daily Show,” but before he was filing hilarious dispatches for the Comedy Central staple, he was trying to fit in as a Bombay-born immigrant who had grown up in Bradford, England, and moved with his parents to Florida. His first book, “No Land’s Man,” comes out Nov. 4.
Why did you decide to write “No Land’s Man”?
Years ago I wrote a one-man show called “Sakina’s Restaurant” based on my family. I had continued writing stuff like that, and had hoped to put it in a one-man show, but Chronicle approached me about a book. I felt I had interesting stories to tell about the immigrant experience.
It’s a journey of self-discovery.
When I left England and moved to America, I dove into American life. About 15 yearslater, I remembered that whole childhood that I felt completely disconnected from. I was this English kid and this American adult.
Have you found an identity?
I feel like there’s a theme of always being a little bit of the outsider in my work and in my life. Even at “The Daily Show,” I was like ‘What the fuck am I doing here?’ These people are all Ivy League educated, and I’m a working class kid from Bradford. I spent the first year at ‘The Daily Show’ thinking I was going to get fired. But I found my voice. I found
Now you’re valuable because you’re a Muslim in America.
The only thing I have going for me is that I’m Muslim. I’m brown, and they don’t have anyone else like me, so they have to keep me around!
Listen below to a clip from the Audible audiobook of “No Land’s Man,” read by Mandvi: