Romen Borsellino TV Staff Writer & Producer and his incredible stories about working with Lilly Singh, Kal Penn, and President Obama!


All of the the minor successes. I've experienced so far. Have just been the direct result of a supportive community. Hi and welcome to south asian stories. I'm your host samir. Desai in this episode i chat with rahman borsellino rahman is a staff writer on nbc's a little late with the leasing. It was the executive producer and co creator a free forms. Twenty twenty election series kalpana approves this message. Raymond has written for adam. Kid will thrill in this giant piece that his the global economy on amazon prime and has worked on michael shirts. Twenty nine thousand nine primetime. Nbc comedy sunny side. Robin privy served as a political appointee in the us department of interior under president obama as worked on the number of high profile political campaigns in his home state of iowa. In this conversation we discussed a lot including the hilarious story. Where rahman's dad took his family to see harold and kumar in theaters for the first time how rahman worked on the clinton campaign and how dc broke him. Refer moving to la as well as going from cal. Pens assistant to co creator of abc's free form show in less than a week rahman had me laughing throughout the entire episode and shows us the power of serendipitous moments so without further. Ado please enjoy my conversation. With rahman or cellino raymond will come to south. Asian stories podcast. We are so thrilled to have you. How are you doing this morning at you so much. I'm very excited to be here. I want to start off by saying thank you for the work. You do elevating south asian voices. It's incredible and there are not enough folks like you. Doing it will thank you. We really appreciate it. And you know you have a special place in many south asians hard because you know we were talking about before we started recording is you are in the entertainment industry and an industry that we honestly don't have wonderful representations so the fact that you're doing what you do is just incredible and i know our listeners. Just so thrilled to hear this. But i wanna wait the beginning. Wait the being rahman his in his childhood form. Tell us about what your childhood was like growing up. And how south. Asian was your family. And and what was it like totally so for one. You may have noticed that my last name is not particularly south asia. My name is robyn borsellino rahman comes from my bengali grandfather. Ramachandra basu and that's my mom's side of the family. Borcelino is very different gruff. Bronx new york italian family so i have a. I have a very different background than most. Yes and so. The question was how was i as a child. Total goofball fear question. Not that i knew. I'd end up in the entertainment industry But i guess that was just inevitable. I grew up in des moines iowa. Kind of mit rest. So there were not many people who look like me for one. My mother Mabul both my parents rather For the local newspaper demo- That stor and by virtue of that family had a fairly public image. So for lack of a better phrase We were to some degree the token brown folks in iowa. I think if if people were to have any questions of people related they would probably give my momma call right right and did you feel like when you were growing up that you struggled at all with your identity m. i south asian. Mit talion. Am i american. Those all. come together where you haven't been golly food with italian food and like how is that for you. I ate very well. Say that i still do. You know in some ways the fact that nobody else really looked like me. I used very much to my advantage. And i think you know. I mentioned that. I was a goof ball. I think that being the tendency to wanna be a class clown to wanna stand out and twenty different came from the fact that i felt like they were already allies on me for you. Know to some degree right. You're sitting you're sitting in a class in des moines and the vast majority of your peers are white. You already feel like they're sort of a spotlight so i could be quote unquote model minority. Which i already knew is not going to work. There was just there was no way. I was I was good enough at school to pull that one off. So why not go class clown right. So i did my best with that. The other question there was very much a a spotlight not always good on on being brown and oftentimes well intentioned. But it'd be the type of thing where i'm walking home from school in my friends. And i say something about your my indian background and a buddy says which she thinks is a compliment. The most the most earnest compliment he can give is man rahman i forget that you aren't white like the rest of us to which it's like thank you and and so that's on you know that's something that's on my mind. There's there's the time that my mom goes to the eye doctor. Because she's she's having a minor vision. Problem goes to a new eye doctor and the doctor says well let me ask you this do you do you use curie and my mom is like what i don't know you aren't you Is an indian. Don't you cook you cook with with with Curium i saying it right into the well first of all. No you're not saying rates well. Is it possible that maybe some of the spices have gotten in your eye and that's what's causing the irritation and it. I mean this is a this is a respectable in the community. Doctor who is suggesting that because a brown woman is having a hard time seeing its because she got curry in her i again is is that dude A racist brick probably not but has he had many exposure much learning brown people know. And so he's these folks differently and there's a lot of that going on. Yeah no that makes makes a lot of sense because these microaggressions especially with the environment rim now when you know there's asian hayden and and it just like things like this are coming to the surface that our community has dealt with for so long especially our parents and our grandparents. It's and we keep it under wraps because we don't want to cause too much of like a you know a raucous but now like you know seeing our asian brothers and sisters and grandparents to stuff. Like i'm like wow okay you people think is happening to you and you're like wait everyone and we're all speaking up. It's sickening it and something to add to. That too is an. We'll get to this more. I think as we talk about representation south asian community and entertainment but some of the really just the biggest advocates the strongest allies that. I've had our other asians in in the entertainment industry. And that's not necessarily south asians right now. Got a lot of east asians in the folks who are really going through it right now. I think a lot of people will tell you this that after you know this after nine eleven. That's when you know we. We were really struggling. And i think right. Now i've had folks reach out to me and say you know hey is an asian. How're you doing. I've been thinking about you. I know about the violence against asians etc. And i'll be like a really appreciate that thoughtful. My role right now is to be an ally more to the folks who are really at the receiving end of this because you know not to minimize the the hate against people that look like us to but we are. I think at this moment at least we are not the true victims and so our our our goal should be to really elevate and help those. That are do agree with that. I agree i agree totally and when one of us is hurting all of us is hurting and people as you said. We went through our time where we struggled and had a lot of people reach out to us in the east asians. While we're all asian american like we always have to support each other and and that's why the this podcast exists is to give voices two people were underrepresented in jobs and careers that you know may not. We don't have mentors for but before we jump into that. I want to go back into writing. You know so you grew up in iowa and your parents were in the journalism business to that inspire your own writing and our ability into the arts. Or what what. what what. What was that for you. So i actually. I don't think it did. I think that on some level. I was sort of trained to you know to know how to write and to take it seriously but i never really thought about about it that way. It's so funny. Even today someone will read something. I wrote and And be like all. Of course you come from a family of writers and i'll be like what. Yeah i guess i do. You know writing writing sketches and monologues jokes. I don't sometimes in my mind. Tend to make the connection to reading these articles That my parents did but you know writing comes in in in many forms. Of course. I think that did have a big influence on me. That is to say. I did not intend to be a writer i had. I had no idea that i was going to write professionally. And frankly i had no idea that i was gonna comedy entertainment. That was for me a sort of a combination between a pipe dream and just something that. I never thought i could or would do seriously. Yeah and i'm happy to happy to walk you through. How at least that was my next question. Because sometimes these serendipitous moments are the most unique right. You're in the right place. The right time someone knows something small that you know so talk about your unique story of how it happened. That is exactly what happened to me. I very very serendipitous. So i am from des moines iowa where you for. Some reason have to go every four years to become president of the united states. Those are the rules. I didn't write them but the iowa caucus system who knows maybe rest in peace could be on its last legs the iowa caucus system for those unfamiliar we are the first state we have been historically the first state in the nation to vote in a presidential primary so the the exposure in momentum. You get from winning. That i state is unmatched. Which means that. Every presidential candidate from both parties effectively lives in the state of iowa For up to a year leading up to it so growing up. I thought it was normal. You get to meet all the presidential candidates right like eventually. You'd meet someone eventually. You'd meet someone in another state and it'd be like oh. So did john kerry pronounce your name correctly the first time you met him and and so. It's this crazy privilege. So in two thousand seven. He was my senior year in high school. And you've got obama polling third to To hillary and john edwards down thirty points but his campaign look like a lot of fun and i thought his message looked incredible. So i felt myself given that i live at the heart of the political world right now and you've got this candidate that i really believe in. I wanna be a part of this. So i joined on his campaign as an intern While i was in high school incredible experience getting to do events. Getting to sign up other students was the first vote i ever cast a was my caucus vote for obama. One of the things that came with that though was we'd build this this great foundation for his campaign At my high school such that the campaign called me and said would you like to do a surrogate event It means that you can build a crowd of folks to come. We will send someone cool that young people would like. And and i of course was like yeah. Give us give us a celebrity. I'll get you fifty one hundred people who were you thinking. And they said we have in town cal. Penn who played kumar in the harold. And kumar movies now. My dad had taken the entire family to see harold and kumar on opening day. A few years earlier. The midnight showing. Yeah exactly and we were. We were like you would count camp out for a star. Wars movie camped out in our store owners here now. That is very much joe. But for my dad knowing that i like to joke around and then and then seeing seeing an ad for For this movie about a south asian dude. Who's the film is not based on. His identity is not about the fact that he was south asian. My dad was like we have to see this as a family and mind you. My dad is the white member but one white meh but thankfully but he got it so so soon as i saw that i was like what i saw the movie like. Whoa this is really cool. The identity of the kumar character is really cool. I had seen the namesake. Another film by cal so i was very very excited to meet him. So we did this event at my high school and believe it or not i. I ended up making this friendship with with cal and we stayed in touch and throughout the years he became a close friend and a mentor. And sort of at some point said to me. I think you're a funny guy. I think you're clearly interested in making people laugh. why not pursue the detainment career Seriously it's something. I never would have thought that it so when he told you that. What does that make you feel like how what was going through your head like may like really you think me like. Oh yeah it was like this is one of those you know we've all we've all seen the movie carry you you you get the The loser onstage. So you can humiliate them and dump pig's blood on them. I was like kelly's playing the long con here to get me in the in the public guy And and i. It didn't happen in one moment to be clear it was like this ongoing friendship throughout the years and again it was not something i would have considered so i went into career in politics and entertainment. I didn't. I didn't take a stab at comedy around start i went to. I went to a career in politics and government. Those a freudian slip because we know that that government is very much a form of entertainment. Unfortunately right right so. I went to college and i got out and i worked on the obama campaign and then i worked on another senate race and then i worked in the obama administration for a couple years because again. I thought this is the most tenable trajectory for me. It is something that i think. I would for lack of a better phrase Have the least shot. failing at wrong enjoyed. It was great but it was during those years that i got to know better and he was sort of like you know if this is something. You're you're interested in you should pursue it and more than that. I didn't i didn't know what types of jobs existed in the entertainment career. Not only did he push me towards that type occurs he pushed me towards specifically saying i see you as a writer and i think i think based on what i know about you. Writing is what could be. You know your background. And so i ran with it and again very much under his his guidance and mentorship he. I'd be working in dc in the administration and he would call me and say. Hey i'm gonna be on colbert in new york on tuesday and so i would I would get take work off and take a bus. Take a mega bus to new york. Had i don't know why i had to specify that taking malcolm omega buses. That's how i was smiling. Thing samir you. And i we need people to know that we got a good deal from the one dollars people out here paying eighty dollars for For an amtrak. And i'm pocketing the seventy nine dollars profit two hundred percent so we got that out. There was a mega. And so cal would go on cobra for example and bring me along and i chill in the in the green room and wright jokes for him some that he would use some that would land and get a big laugh. occasionally some that would and then afterwards he he would introduce me to say this my writer rahman and that is a holy shit moment for me. Wow why you want to. I want that to. I want that to be how. I see myself in how i'm present. He'd so that that story. That was a specific moment. But i remember that is being the moment of. I don't just want this to be a part time thing. I want this to be what i do professionally. Managed somebody questions. The first question is. Do you remember the jokes that hit versus the ones i didn't. I somehow magically remember the ones that hit and not the ones they didn't. So i can only tell you the one short term memory. No so yeah exactly. No so this one was for. It was the first presidential debate of thousand sixteen so kobe went live so cal was like. Let's watch the debates together and then if you can brainstorm jokes so long you know this is not brilliant material here but one was that one observation i wrote down in my notes was a cannot tell if trump is saying that he's going to do something about attack a. T. t. a. c. k. s. or a tax a. t. a. x. because no one can figure out what the hell this dude is thing but it does not really matter because he doesn't have a plan for either and so cal said. Some form of that. Much more articulate than i did but it got a big laugh and then the other one was colbert asked asked him. Do you see yourself potentially so basically what could you do to. What would it take for you to. Support donald trump. And i think he was able to slip in again. Not a brilliant line that he he couldn't see himself supporting someone who is actively trying to deport harold komar now that that's good that's good. What was it like a surreal. Moment to see cal share. The you know the the jokes that you had come up with right. Wow that came from my brain now. It's spoken to colbert. Were like the like the pillars of comedy. You know is that it was like a pinch me moment. Here's the thing. There is no doubt about that. And and more than that even i think. A lot of writers come to terms with the fact that we we live in the background to some degree. You know our job is to make the folks that we write for look good. And that's great. I i truly love doing that when i you know. We'll talk more less. But when i'm writing for someone and you read the online comments thing. God lillies thing i. I love that joke knowing knowing that. That's why there's not even a part of me that wants acknowledgement by the opposite. I wanna be the person in the background. But and to be clear the folks i've worked for what has been great at shouting out there writers but in this moment with cal especially he was so quick to introduce me as writer and and give me that credit and that was especially felt really really good about it. That's amazing taupin is one of those people. That's like the pioneers for south asians entertainments. I feel like he's on a special mount. Rushmore off of people. That like south asians because look up to because when i saw that movie the first time i'm like wow he's actually a cool indian guy right not someone that you see the the stereotypes in a movie. You're saying. Wow that person talks and acts like me. But i'm curious to know what was it like knowing cal behind the scenes behind a screen because a lot of people listening have seen the movie but they don't know what's he like as a person. Can you describe that total ashville. I'm just like what a what a prick you know. Sorry cow if you're listening obviously a joke nicest guy funniest guy so actually let me tell you a little more about limited sort of continue on my plan line because it's still very much involved him so i'm working I'm working in the obama administration and we know that it's gonna wrap up. We know that it's about to end. And so we are thinking ahead to the future jobs that said we were told there is a chance you know. Obviously hillary is gonna win and maybe it will even take the senate and the And you know the house and therefore there could be way more jobs in. Dc for folks you can maybe stick around in the new administration so in the back of my mind i was like i'm looking ahead for future jobs. But you know the the likelihood is that i'll just kick around dc for awhile. Jump between branches. Suddenly you know complaining about not having a stable job in dc truly the the least of anyones worries when we got the election results in two thousand sixteen. But i was like. Oh okay i will not be staying anymore. It is time to get serious here. So i in some ways did the chase the starving artist dream of all right. Well this is it. This is the time to move to. La it's something that had been weighing on me for a little while. I had started thinking that. I had missed the boat on that that it was that it was too late to pursue the entertainment career. How's willing sorry for myself about it. I would rick in turn on an episode of entourage and be like oh man. I don't wanna watch this. This makes me just feel jealous of Of of being out there and chasing but when when my job ended in january two thousand seventeen. And i knew i was leaving dc then i was like. Let's do this. i moved out. I stayed on a buddy's couch again very much. The cliche i will not say i had like five dollars in my pocket to my name or or any. Bs like that. you know. I had a very small amount of saving more than that. I had a. Who is incredibly supportive. And my mom saying to me. I want you to take this risk. Because it's what you care about and if you fall flat on your face thinks she said if and not when. I don't remember exactly but i think it was. If you fall flat on your face that i will support you and for one. I was incredibly touched for another. I think it's important to tell that. Part of the story. Because i came from a place of privilege that i was able to have that safety blanket. You know we're not a wealthy family. Ed say midwest middle-class. There's something along those lines. Yeah noble i want to highlight. Two is the fact that your mom did that for you. I've talked to so many people on this podcast where they didn't have the parents support right and they just you know they want us to take conservative jobs because they don't want you to fall flat on your face and because all these other jewelry don't have people that look like us in them don't have mentors they just feel like oh you know. The the chance of a failure is higher so that i just want to highlight underscored like having. That is amazing. I'm so glad you brought that up. Because i think that is something i i hear all the time and i think you've in many ways hit the nail on the head in terms of why why there aren't people that look like this industry. I think for a lot of you know white folks you can turn on any movie and tv and then you can imagine yourself being an actor being an entertainer. Because that's what everyone out there looks like and so it is so easy to envision yourself or for a parent to envision that being their child with with folks who are a little less traditional when it comes to a background in famous it takes some serious imagination to imagine that and not something that everyone has. I'm glad you mentioned that. But again i want to highlight the fact that i was fortunate enough to come from a place of privilege that i was able to take risks but i know that many folks aren't but i came out here. I worked a few different jobs. The first job i had was at creative artists agency the biggest talent agency out here. And it's really funny because they got my resume and they were like we just signed The biden's for their posts speaking their post administration speaking engagements and we are looking for someone with a political experience. That would want to you know work with their team. And i was like you know i'm a big fan of the biden's but i came out here to get away from the political world and that was me Being a moron because you know you fight and claw offer any in in the entertainment industry. Just any reason to get in that building you'd say so after thinking about it and and you know talking to the folks being like hey. We also represent a bunch of comedians. Trevor noah. you know colin. Joe's julia louis dreyfuss you know this. This is something that could put you on. That trajectory did that for a couple of years for a year and a half. Actually i feel like joe biden. Did his last paid speaking engagements and then left to run for president. And then i left the like a couple of weeks later so i saw that one through. It's alright no needs to give me credit for his winning president. That's totally a lot of definitely put you in the footnotes lease And men around that time. Cal reached out to me and said i need assistance because my nbc show sunnyside just got picked up and he said i'll be honest. I have reservations about hiring a friend as an assistant to which said you know. Put me in coach. Let's do this. And that and i then i then worked for him. We were buddies. But you know. I still still got him coffee into the assistant stuff gave him. My advice often solicited sometimes not Which i think being friends with the with the person you're working for has that bonus that to some degree you can get sort of an adviser in addition to An assistant yeah. Yeah and the other thing is you're in the room right where the decisions and where the with the content where everything is happening. I think the biggest thing that i see is exposure and being in a place where things are actually happening versus. You know somewhere else. Where you're looking at your. You're watching the entourage episode on the side. No you're in the episode right totally totally and thank you for bringing that up. You know this. Show the cow did sunnyside. It was co created by matt. Murray former saturday night live writer. Good place writer and it was executive produced by mike. Sure who created truly some of the biggest sitcoms out there including the good place parks and rec brooklyn nine nine so to be a fly on the wall in that writer's room and wall challenged dime was just like you know in terms of jedi training into the entertainment world. You could not ask for for you. Know better opportunity would happen. Next was i was cows assistance. And it'd been maybe a year and a half. Cowl was in cow was in london for a week for work so i had little to do for him. This was little over a year ago. Twenty twenty election was gearing up. And i just had it in my mind. You know i thought to myself. I need to write more in my free time. Why don't i use this opportunity to write some sample material since. It's a light week and i thought one of these sample things i could do is a pitch for potential show. I'm gonna presents a cow. I'm gonna present to him when he gets back an idea for a show that he could host about young people getting engaged in the twenty twenty Knife thought obviously. This isn't gonna go anywhere. I have no experience coming up with a show idea but my hope is that he will see this. Hopefully he'll like it. And i'll have the experience writing it and he will know that i take it seriously that i'm trying to take my career to the next level and come up with ideas and come up with show premises so i took it to him. I probably didn't express timely nature of quite enough. Because like a month had gone by. And i was like. Hey dude. have you read that thing that i sent you yet. He's like oh. I'm totally going to look. You know it's sort of About the election which is coming up really soon. So if you would mind do any reads it. And he's like oh my god. This is great. Let's do this. Let's try and make this show and let's pitch this show and one thing led to another and like a month later we had sold a show and I was the executive producer of a free form. Show reform is of disney's youth arm. they air Grown ish and a couple of really phenomenal shows that give great representation to under under heard voices in a lot of ways and we did this election series and suddenly i had gone from being. Suddenly i'd gone from being an assistant to a co creator of a show within literally within a week. That is amazing. That is amazing. Like i can just imagine you from like in your room right writing this thing. I got this. Is you know my sample hope. Hope hope calories is to a frigging show like you know. That's amazing it. it's really funny. I went to. I had one of my one of my closest friends miles. My buddies miles in heaven had been telling me for a while for well over a year. We have a writers group that meets on sunday. If you ever have any sample material we workshop each other's material it's a great. You know supportive group. Come just never had anything to share. And so i took this and you know. I presented the my ideas and they were like you know i can see this having some actual traction and now it's like you know dude you show up. Who are writers group one time and then you sell that idea. I golden hands right. That's why do be clear. I shop the moon. This is never going to happen again. This is not a yeah. This is not a everything. I touch turns to gold a beginner's luck situation So so talk to us what that was like like being executive producer i show like what does that entail. What does you how. What was that like will. The i mean the first thing that we do is like were pitching the idea of the show. You know to different folks. And so it's a the first call we have is samantha b. Who's like interested in it. So it's me and cow and samantha b and on her team and like. I'm not sure. If i would be qualified to interview for a job on samantha dese show so let let alone tell her why should she should buy a show that i myself created so it is a to some degree of fake it till you make it out of than when the show actually got made. I was partnered with our show runner This guy stu miller who was the field director for the daily show for a while and He had just gotten off. We didn't even know this movie was being made because it was secret he had just gotten off heading the field department for borat too so this guy knows what he's doing and he became a close friend and an ally and we're on the phone like twenty four seven talking about ideas for this show and again it's like in this moment. I am the students equal like coming up with ideas even though he's been doing this for so long nose so much more than me but it's a learning experience and the show was an absolute blast. We ended up booking incredible guests. You know Labor leader dolores. Huerta was our first guest. She marched alongside cesar chavez. Our second guest was hillary clinton. We had cameos from criminal. Non johnny and from joey king and mark cuban and just what an incredible experience and also getting to hopefully make a difference in an election year. Yet that's a credible and again we talk about pinch me moment that you probably wouldn't like hillary clinton is sitting across from cow. And you're like gosh. Like i i was. I was the engineer of this. This is the genesis was in my head like man. That's so cool. I'm so happy for you. Thank you do. That's i appreciate is very much. Apente say it was very much a pinch me moment it was like the you know the highest tile ever feel no not because cal was giving these some of his good stuff he is not as far as i know but the highest high will ever feel but at the back of my mind. I knew that i had shot the moon right. Like i was like this show is gonna end and i will go back to being an assistant at best or unemployed right all right. Hopefully hopefully under a new administration I don't think back to all it takes in government. But i could always do that if i fail. I suppose but. I had that in the back of my mind again. I got very in. That may be the week after the show wrapped actually show hadn't wrapped. We were still working on it. We had maybe one week to go my team at united talent agency who. I had just started working with the week before to you know sort of help me find the next gig was like oh lilly. Sing is hiring for her season. Two and so for me. It's like right at this time in my life. The one south asian late night host. Someone who. I really look up to really. Respect is looking for riders. Could this timing. The any better. And again i got incredibly fortunate and and after several rounds of submissions in interviews landed a job with with her. Show that started. You know the month after our show ended. That is amazing. Better serendipitous moments totally. The timing worked out incredibly well on talk to us when it's like working with lily and your experience as writer for. Oh my god for one lily is you know she's probably not gonna listen to this. So don't think i'm pandering She's the hardest hardest worker. I've ever seen and she will. I mean every every single script that goes before her for want you'll have approved it but for tusch for another she will have done edits and pawnshops and added jokes herself but working on her show has been such a fun just they said to me in the in the interview actually used to work in. Dc you come from a from a critical background. This is not necessarily going to be a political show. Are you sure that you know you wanna do something. That is maybe a little bit outside of your background and outside of your your taste. It turns out to their credit. I think they were under selling that a little lily. Is you know paul politics. Politics doesn't have to mean you know horserace running for office election it can be about the tax on farmers that are happening right now in india or right The attacks on trans people that are happening right now in this country both of which among many other things we've been fortunate enough to cover and i've been fortunate enough to to get to write about but during that initial interview being told. Are you sure you wanna do something. That's not as political as you might like. It was very easy. Yes it was like. You know what there will always be politics. There will always be government. This just seems fun. I just the fact that it is a one thirty. Am time slot the not Not to knock your ourselves the fair amount of respect but it's like that affords you chance to really experiment with fun ideas right and rent he stuff and you know writing just the silliest stuff one of one of the first things i wrote was it's like an inside the actors studio type thing and it is an interview with lilly. Sing is playing a british actress named rima. Grant and reema grants claim to fame is that she is the actress who plays lily sing on a little late with lily thing and so the premise here is. That lily is not a real person. She is a character played by an actress. And it's just like would would fallon ever entertain that at his eleven thirty timeslot. Who knows that is. That is some one thirty. Am stuff right there. Yeah right right what what were some of the highlights of like memories that that you've done and maybe even sure some of the lowlights because i want people to know that you know you you've had an illustrious career you shot the moon but i want to talk about some of the harder moments can you can share a bit of both of course and so you mean in in the path like throughout this correct. Yeah so i will say that. Hollywood i mean i'm i'm not one to talk because i'm still consider myself. I'm still a good age. I'm thirty one. I'm still young. But hollywood is like very town so sitting the fact that i the fact that cam to hollywood in my late twenties with no experience At least in that industry. I was competing against people who were twenty one twenty two years old and just out of college. So i'd be an assistant aside. Someone seven years younger than me or watching agents A few years younger than me down. The hallway was a humbling experience and it was not a bad experience. It was a it was still an incredible one but it was like. Am i up against the clock here. How quickly do. I have to make this work. Because i don't have the luxury of digging around for ten years and hoping that something sticks so you know that that was i think again. I don't want to call it a low point but it it really put my back up against the wall but you know all of it. All of it was fun. All of it was a good experience. I'm i'm very fortunate that i i can't think of any any sob stories At least anything of it it would make someone feel sorry for me in the known. That's great because i think having perspective just to know is wide open because the goal of this is if someone listens and say hey i want to be a writer. No what is wide open when it's going to be like the goods the bads the uglies but glad there's not too many uglies in your story which is which is amazing. Well i think. I mean i will say this to when i was younger between political campaigns often times meant meant months without without a job so i think before i you know earlier on in my twenty s before. I made it to hollywood. That's where some of the low moments were. So i think a lot of people you know i. I experienced those those same anxieties and fear of being unemployed for the rest of my life. And all that stuff. I just experienced it in a different industry. God such that. When i got out here i was a little more battle tested at. That's right hardened. Yeah exactly you can't break me in dc has already done that for its right. That's right man. That's amazing okay I would love to transition In our last few minutes to a rapid fire questions and for everyone listening these are questions. Invest all our guests. And i'm so excited to hear your thoughts on these god okay. First question is. Is there a item or service that you've bought recently. That has dramatically improve your life. It can be big or small but something that you've bought recently that you're like man. This is something that i love. I really freaking wish. Someone had told me thirteen months ago when we started using doom that i should get airpods. That would have been really really nice. Especially when you've got the hair that i do that you can just hide them under these like a month ago and i'm truly like what have you been doing until until now manner games a boring answer but you wanna talk about a utility item. You know anyone else out. There wants ipods. Tell them that you this coun- right if you already not into like half your work. Things apple products right. Yeah exactly okay. So i wanna ask you this and maybe a different answers. When you think of a south asian person you look up to in the entertainment field who say comes to mind. And why and i think we've talked about few yeah so So let me guess. Let me let me think of some others. One person you had The surgeon general vivek murthy on their show. I thought just what an incredible interview. What an incredible person. he's someone. I very much look up to i. You know i think kumail nangiani just what about at us. I think he's so funny. Hussin disease was really one of the first one of the first. Stand up that. I was like i am obsessed with this guy. I you know. Stand up wise. I would would love to be like this guy. that's awesome. Yeah those kind of guys and gals is just like you know every time you see someone like that who breaks a barrier like who does something that we as a community haven't done you're decide. Wow like it just so comforting right like even dr vivek murthy who is a doctor. A lot of us are doctors who become the surgeon general. Like the top doctor and like when i was doing the interview just the humility has in the role right. Even dark moments right. The guy who has seven degrees right has dark moments. You feel better about what you're going through in your life. Yeah exactly although yeah. I mean having a brown guy as the surgeon. General certainly has its downside. Can you imagine every every brown every brown person whose parents made them go to med school. And you're like all right. I finally did it and now they're like. Oh but you're not you're not the surgeon general right about outcome right. You got nine nine hundred. Where's the last point. Yeah yeah we've all we've all heard that one that's great okay. This is a great one. I'd left to hear your answer. Is what is a movie or book that has had the most impact on you got a you know. I i gotta go kumar. It's just how can you not. It's it is about a dude who looks like me just smoking weed having a being a genius being a bad ass having a good time and again i just the fact that the fact that my dad took me to see that in theaters when i was fourteen years old hella awkward moment with this like truly I don't know if you were with your family. Samir when you saw harold and kumar was not made that a point a good good call okay. Great yeah and i have you. I'm curious to you revisit. That movie later on in your life and have you noticed things that you're like. Oh when i i watched it. This was something that i miss star. Something about with your experience. You've seen big question. I know there's a moment when When kumar says thank you come again in the abu voice and getting to know cal i know that one of the things that has always really really bothered him was was abu from the simpsons and the fact that anka's area white guy but his abu so knowing that and revisiting that saying knowing that it's our real fu the white people who talk in that voice. Our i think is really cool. That's cool that's a good thing. I didn't know that. I bet that You know yeah. And i don't know. Have you seen the problem with. Who the hari kondabolu. I've not seen it but it's definitely my list. It's great and it got results like it. You know one. Could you read the comments on will never in the comments but if you do read the comments talking about it on on twitter it's just all these angry white dudes and to be clear. I'm a simpsons fan. I grew up on the simpsons. I love the simpsons that is obviously something to reckon with the the thing but the video the the felt the documentary which with towels for got results and now they are recasting an actual person so and that is so cool. That is so cool. Because it's like small steps like that right things that you thought were like you know sentenced on this is the symptoms. So you can't touch that you we as people can make change if you just you know. Raise the voices and bring concerns up. And like i think i think you hit the nail on the head words. There are still so many barriers broke right right but even one small step gives a crap. Got it okay. The this questions are so my favorite so excited to hear your thoughts behind this. So imagine someone who's south. Asian like who is who wants to become a writer who wants to become an independent the entertainment industry. What what advice would you give them to. Why awesome great great question. I'm excited to to answer it. There are so many supportive groups out there who i think you groups and people like cape the coalition of Coalition of asians and pacific islanders. I believe the ap entertainment and these are folks. That that really elevate voices and help people. And i think i just imagined that if you are a young person who was interested in pursuing this and you don't have the support system there are just so many of these people looking to give back. You could frankly you know i. I'd say i'm one of these. People have responded to the blind messages on instagram and twitter of you know hey really would love to pick your brains about how to do this and how to get involved and i think there is absolutely no harm in sending those messages sending those emails do the research you know people you look up to reach out to them it. It may not be a you may not have as good luck sending a message to someone like calla lily. Who get emily. The million of these a day As you as you may orion borsellino who's desperate to feel validated a. But but truly. I think a lot we you know. We've been talking about this. A lot of a lot of folks like us do not have parents who understand the industry and so you may not know anyone who's ever done this reach out to folks blindly and i think you will be very pleasantly surprised in the feedback you get even if that requires Not giving up and reaching out to a number of folks after after this year having been other than tape with any other organizations are helpful things that you can share it the listeners. That would be useful for people that you know. Want to do more research or any books or interviews that are might be helpful. Yeah let me think about that. The obama campaign in two thousand seven then will strike gold. Get a time machine and go back two thousand seven with little rahman and you guys can. Yeah big okay directly but just watch just watch and learn right. Immerse yourself in this now. Think i'll hollywood is one of the few indian industries where you can watch game of thrones or parks and rec and be like what. I'm doing research for work right right. This is part of my homework right here. Yeah truly awesome. Well this has been an amazing amazing interview man. Like i'm so you can see. I've been smiling like nine five percent of the time before we close anything. You'd like to leave the audience with any anything you'd like to share before we we wrap up. I mean look. I'm still very much. Hopefully at the beginning of of my enter payment career and i've had some minor successes and i'm sure there will be periods of unemployment that cetera and those those down moments we talked about earlier but all of the all of the the minor successes. I'm experienced so far. Have just been the direct result of a supportive community A support very supportive south asian community people who may not know this world but just wanted just saw that. It was something that i was interested in. Wanted to be supportive folks. Who may not be of the same background but in the industry but know that it's time for a change and time to to make this industry less wipe male loved ones mentors. It's just i think any success should be chalked up to the bose around you helping and supporting you and a lifting and so to me. It is very very important. That i give back and you know when i'm when i feel like i know enough that i'm in a position to mentor. The next crop. I want to be doing that. But i also right now. Wanna really just be thanking everyone all of my mentors and the folks who who have who have helped break into an industry. The you know may not may not be that easy to get into but has been so much fun. I mean what a blast weld. This conversation won for best one. One d one. If people want to reach out what's the best way to get in touch You know try sliding into the into the dm's yes at rahman borsellino on instagram. Okay perfect well thanks again We cannot wait to see your amazing work on lily. Sing it in and beyond thank you again. For what all you do for our community and lifting the voices and the trail-blazing more than that is praise. I do not deserve. I will take it out the validation. They were looking for exactly the before we started before we started recording. We scripted this out but no thank you for elevating voices. Truly if you'd like to hear more amazing stories on south asians around the world please check out south asian stories podcast dot com and subscribe to our email list. That south asian stories. Podcast dot com. Thanks a lot and see you next time.

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