Tag Archives: comedy

Outsourced……….blech…..

I was so excited for the premiere of the new tv show Outsourced and was absolutely bummed when my son’s back to school night was scheduled for the same night. Honestly, you would think the school administration would be a little more sensitive to my tv viewing preferences and be a little more careful to not create conflicts between my parenting and entertainment priorities. But no – they weren’t  – Outsourced aired right in the middle of my session of 8th grade math. Hpmf.

But the techno gods have been generous and blessed us with tivo capabilities. So, all is in sync in the parenting and hollywood worlds.

Last night, I finally got to see Outsourced – the new NBC comedy about an American manager running a call center in India. Frankly, they should have outsourced the production, writing, and editing. Blech. Let’s remember that I did offer my assistance. They should have taken me up on it. Who knows, maybe they still will. 😉 The Executive Producers are Robert Borden, Ken Kwapis, Victor Nelli, Jr., Tom Gorai, and David Skinner – just in case you are reading along fellows, you can contact me at AReasonToWrite (at) gmail (dot) com.

There wasn’t much about it that was realistic – even worse, there wasn’t much that was funny. And yes, I understand you are supposed to suspend reality and just laugh. But I just spent the past year and a half of my life living it and there is a lot that has laugh potential without being insulting. A lot. There is the line at the post office and the puja and oh, so much more.

I am not always great with chronology so I might not get my complaints in exact order but it doesn’t really matter.

The first big misstep was that the American manager went to work in a rickshaw. Beyond the fact that the rickshaw scene was very poorly done, an outsourced manager in India would very likely be driven to work by a driver. They just ruled out about 3 hilarious episodes by leaving out the driver and his very real side (splitting) story. Having a driver in India is part of the experience and it adds a whole new dimension to life abroad. It is so foreign to the way most Americans navigate through their day in the U.S. Maybe the manager should have tried to drive himself somewhere – now that would be funny. Very funny. Or try to communicate with a driver whose English is not exactly up to snuff – like here. Or try to find the zoo – like here.

However, my biggest criticism is the Outsourced character of the big Sikh guy who just looks intimidating and totally ticked off. Too easy. It’s (horrible) stereotyping. It’s ridiculous. And based on the Sikhs I met, it’s largely inaccurate. Many are actually gentle giants in many respects. Their temples all have kitchens and they feed absolutely anyone in need for free. I wrote about the Golden Temple here, where they feed over 100,000 people a day.

And then a cow appeared in the front office window. Really? A cow? That’s all you’ve got? Sure, cows roam the streets – but really? Again, way too easy. They should have at least made it a monkey (more realistic in front of an office window) or a camel or an elephant. At least that would have been unexpected. And not to be nit-picky but the cow in the window was way too fat.

On to the minor inaccuracies. All the desks are lovely, spread out, and nicely decorated with picture frames. Yeah. Not gonna happen. Call centers operate on shifts. And for obvious reasons, they try to get as many people in a room as they can (just like in U.S. offices). In the real world, two to three workers would rotate sitting at a desk during a 24-hour period. So there would be no personalizing your workspace. And it is highly unlikely that the boss would be sitting in the same room as the call center employees.

The Indian manager was wearing suspenders. I don’t think I ever saw an Indian man in India in a set of suspenders – I am not saying it didn’t happen – but I call malarkey. Or at least bad editing.

The company in the tv show sells novelty items – some of which are a bit risque. My experience with Indians is that they are very modest people. At one point in the show, the American manager is explaining the “value” of a mistletoe belt to the staff at the call center. How it works – why you would put mistletoe on a belt. Yeah, that would be totally inappropriate and awkward. Later in the episode, he shows the staff a plaque with a replica of a woman’s chest (read boobs) on it that jingles when a song is played. Maybe it was called Jingle Boobs – I had mostly tuned out at that point, so I probably didn’t get the name right. But please. A female employee at the call center laughs at the novelty item. I just really have a hard time believing that would be a typical response. Even most American women would not exactly be amused.

If it was Al and Peggy Bundy get Outsourced, it might have been chuckle-worthy. But it wasn’t about Married with Children hits India and it wasn’t funny.

The one thing that was funny was the food in the cafeteria but only because they made another (way too) easy joke about what we used to call Delhi Belly. When you are not used to spicy foods, you do have to be careful what you eat – and of course that is true of anywhere – not just in India. And some Indian food is super spicy and it can upset your belly. And it can be funny – when it happens to someone else – and someone else who knows better and laughs when they put it in his/her mouth and jokes “what’s the worst that can happen?”. That is what I call “famous last words”. Which are often followed by Montezuma’s Revenge and a quick re-enactment of the fabled Murphy’s Law.

So, for what it’s worth (and I realize that is nothing), I was left very unimpressed. I do, however, remain very willing to offer ideas and suggestions. 😉

Lived there, done that…………..

Since we have been home, we have been catching up on some great t.v. Yesterday I saw an ad for this new NBC Show – Outsourced. The new comedy will be on Thursday nights starting in the fall. It looks like it has the real potential to be very funny. Of course, they will have to maintain a very careful balance so that the show is also not insulting. What I hope they don’t miss is the “life outside of the office” experience. Frankly, I think they need a writer who has actually lived it, perhaps a blogger with a bunch of material (already) in the queue, maybe a blogger who has over 100k hits on her beloved blog, perhaps someone with a sense of humor about how different life can be ……. hmmmmmmmmmmmm ……. maybe they will be calling me soon. 😉

Anyone have any contacts at NBC? If so, please feel free to pass them along.

The case of the mistaken comedian……..

While we were home, my parents offered to have the kids spend the night with them. Yahoo! That meant date night and that meant the DC Improv. Number One Hubby immediately went online and bought tickets – it didn’t even matter who was performing – we don’t know about comedy in India (please tell me if it is available in Delhi and where), we never go – so sign us up!

Then, hubby got a call from his boss. His boss who wanted him to go to Las Vegas. His boss who wanted him to go to Las Vegas on the night we had tickets for the DC Improv. His boss who wanted him to go to Las Vegas on the night we had tickets for the DC Improv and could sleep in the next morning because our kids would not be home.

So, hubby went to Las Vegas and I called my number one big brother. Hubby had also invited his younger brother (and fairly new girlfriend – who we had not met yet – who is absolutely delightful by the by). So we all went. Except for hubby who was in Las Vegas. (Did I mention already that he had to go to Las Vegas? For “work”. Oh – so sorry – he wasn’t at the comedy club because he got to had to go to Las Vegas. Yes, the one in Nevada – the fun one.)

Anylaugh, often at the Improv, the comedians will hang around the back of the room. I always look for them. I am not a groupie really just maybe a tad annoying in that I like to meet them and like to bring my people with me to meet them. So we looked at the brochure and saw some pictures of comedians. Then I looked back at the brochure, looked at the back of the room, and spotted someone probably famous. I grabbed my brother, said bring your phone/camera. He rolled his eyes – but he has known me for nearly 42 years and he knows there is no stopping his crazy blogging sister who wants a picture. Besides, he has done much worse for me. This was a fairly tame request.

We talked to this guy for a little bit – he was charming and funny. I told him we were really looking forward to the show. Asked him if he minded if I took a picture. Asked him if he minded if I put it on my blog.

He politely asked about my blog – you could see his eyes glaze over a little bit – oh great, another white mommy blogger – you could tell he was asking himself how he got so lucky to talk to me –  but he did ask what I wrote about – oh, about living in India. Hmmmmm. He looked at me like I either had three heads or had been drinking for three days straight. Sure, he said, put it on your “blog” – then please go back and sit down. (We used my brother’s brand new phone to take the picture so it’s a little blurry – sorry).

So we are I was all excited to have met the headliner. Although do you think it’s at all possible that I confused this guy with the headliner? That I introduced myself and my brother and talked to him about the show and he was not actually the headliner?

Did not.

Okay,

maybe

I did.

He was actually the second act of the night – the pre-headliner. At least he was not the janitor or the bouncer. Thankfully I did not call him by name. I just told him we were excited to see his show – which was completely true. And it turns out that he is hilarious. His name is Chris Paul – and he has his own blog about Redskins football which I am quite sure he will appreciate me mentioning here. Just doing what I can to help a brother out!

So then the headliner comes on – it is Huggy Lowdown. Apparently, the real Huggy Lowdown – not the pre-headliner comedian who I confused with Huggy Lowdown. Also very, very funny. I would repeat some of his jokes – but I can guarantee it wouldn’t be the same. For instance, he talked very briefly about Tiger Woods and called a very pretty group of blond white ladies sitting together Kryptonite. Yeah, me calling them kryptonite not exactly the same or all that funny. Unless you are at an Ellen DeGeneres show. Then maybe.

And at the end of the show, Huggy said, “we’ll be available for pictures after the show.” My brother just dropped his head and grabbed his phone. My brother-in-law just laughed.

I personally think we look like an oreo cookie. It was a great night!

Carlos Mencia and my new BFF

Earlier this year, hubby got tickets for Carlos Mencia’s show at Constitution Hall – one of our absolute favorite comedians. Then, he got offered a job in India. Dummy. He missed the show. He should have negotiated that in his contract – yeah I know the job is a great one – but I have these tickets for November. Plane ticket back to the USA please. He thinks that might have been a deal breaker. He mumbled something about priorities and a paycheck. Whatever.

So, I went with my friends. Hey, I love him dearly, but I have my limits. There was no way I was going to miss it too. No reason for us both to suffer the injustices of employment.

Enter Jen, Pat, and Ann.

cm-ellen-pat-ann-and-jen

It’s Friday night – we are ready to go – we hop in the car and wow, it looked like everyone in Northern Virginia pretty much had the same idea – go into DC at the same time as us. Brilliant. It turns out there was some big summit in DC – lots of dignitaries – blah blah blah. Something about rolling road closures. Oh good. Translation. TRAFFIC and lots of it. It took us an hour and a half to get there. Don’t they know we have places to go and comedians to laugh at? But we are moms – we planned ahead and left really early. Whew. And, we got a great parking spot. Seinfeld would have been so proud. We had time for a quick dinner. Two policemen sat near our table so we had to behave ourselves. Dang. Off to the show.

By way of history, these ladies (and their husbands) had come with us to see Ron White. Hubby had not been outsourced yet. We ordered those tickets too and didn’t get the best of seats. Let’s just say we did not feel like V-I-Ps but V-I-who’s? Can you say nosebleed –  and forget Kleenex, they would not be strong enough – we’re talking emergency room-worthy nosebleeds – grab the beach towel. Augh. Our seats were horrible. So, on the way in, Ann says, “I brought my binoculars.” Smartass.

Okay, here’s a little secret – shhh – I temporarily misplaced the tickets. Yikes. No problem – they put replacements at will call. Thank you Ticketmaster – In we go. It’s all good.

However, because I did not have our tickets, I didn’t know where our seats were. I couldn’t defend their potential greatness. Anywho, we go in and turn right. Thank you God. Left would have been toward the back of the theater. To the right, there were only about 10 rows – we’re talking front of the theater – this is looking good. We were in about the 6th row back from the stage. Hubby’s status just got moved up to Number One Hubby. Ann wouldn’t need those binoculars. Ha and whew!

cm-ticket

Two of us decided to hit the head before the show started. We saw Brad Williams and I took a picture with him. Delightful.

cm-brad

Then off we go to find the bathroom. There is a line for – you guessed it – Carlos Mencia himself. This puts me over the excitement edge. Holy crap – he is right there. In line we go. Then the very nice line monitor cuts off the line about 5 people ahead of us – I know, they have to start the show. I get it – but we are SO close. Think.

Okay, so I plead with the guy. My husband’s in India – he can’t be here, can we PLEASE stay in line. I am still not clear on what that really has to do with making hundreds of people wait for us to meet Carlos Mencia when they couldn’t – but he seemed to get it -very lucky us – and he actually let us stay in line – yahoo! Several people come up after us – also begging but also offering  him money (sorry dude – I didn’t even think of that). He said no to them all. He felt bad about it – you could tell. So, I chimed in and I backed him up -“he has had to turn so many people away, really, he has a tough job,” I said to all of them. Hey, I do what I can. This would be the one time of the night that Number One Hubby would have been glad he was not there.

cm-ellen-and-line-monitor

Deep breath. Now it’s our turn. Twenty-five dollars please. What? Dang, I begged to be here – Carlos is right there. We are the last ones in line. My quick-thinking friend paid the guy. We smiled with him and took a very fun picture. Then I told him I was going to put him on my blog. He nodded very politely – you can tell he has manners -but the look on his face said, “Oh yeah – listen up people, there’s another stay at home mom here with a blog and she is going to put little ole me on it – Aw shucks. Look lady, I am the comedian – and remember honey, you paid to see me – who’s laughing now?”

cm-jen-and-ellen

So, I tell him, “No really, I’ve only been blogging for one week and I have over 500 hits (thank you people).” He was walking away – but he actually stopped, turned around, and said, “that’s actually pretty good.” That’s what I’m talkin’ bout. Validation.

“I know,” I said. “Seriously,” I added. “And you are going to be on it.” You can be sure he is counting his blessings now. He’ll be paying me for a picture soon. Only I wouldn’t charge him $25 – he inspires me. I thought he felt the same about me – clearly, not so much.

Oh yeah, we still have to go to the bathroom. Quick. Talk about if you give a mouse a cookie – we got way off track. So we are laughing at our sassy selves and probably being quite annoying. Funny, after all, is in the laugh of the beholder. This woman in the bathroom is laughing at us, too. She clearly has a wonderful sense of humor. “No really, Carlos is going to be on my blog. Hey, do YOU want to be on my blog?” Sure, crazy lady.

cm-ellen-and-robbin

We take a picture – she has a great smile and she seems like she’s a lot of fun. I mean, really, she thinks we’re funny – how could I not love her? I ask for her name – it’s Robbin (I like to give credit where credit is due – I asked “y” or “i”). “Two” b’s she said – after Baskin Robbins. Honestly, that is what she said. You are kidding me – that is hysterical. She said it was either that or Holly Hobby. You’re killing me. Apparently her mom loves ice cream. And, actually loves it enough to name her child after it. And, no, she did not charge me to be in a picture with her.

Back to our fabulous seats – thanks again Number One Hubby. And we laughed so hard our faces hurt. The show was amazing – and, nope, I won’t repeat any of the jokes. Buy a ticket.

We drove home laughing all the way. Ha Ha Ha. Thank you Carlos! You are a damn riot! Number One Hubby was right to be disappointed he could not be there.

I can only imagine the what the performers had to say after the show…

Carlos: “Okay, who was the most whacked out fan you ran into.”
DJ Goldenchyld: “It’s all good bro – if anyone came too close I blasted ‘em with my tunes. Too loud for them to get too close.”
Juan Villareal: “Fans? I didn’t go anywhere near those people, the place was crawling with cops. I can’t make bond with only $12.”
Brad Williams: “I had this 500-pound fat chick trying to flirt with me. She likes my yard duck impression.”
Carlos Mencia: “This crazy white woman was promisin’ to blog me.  Woo hoo lucky me, lucky me – dee dee dee!”

And Robbin, God only knows what she told her friends – but she is sure to be famous soon. Hi Robbin – my new BFF.

If Carlos Mencia is coming to a town near you – treat yourself – get tickets and give yourself plenty of time to get there!