He's probably best known as The Daily Show's Middle East correspondent, but Mumbai-born, U.K. and Florida—reared Aasif Mandvi has a lengthy résumé in TV, film and stage. This week, his Indian-restaurant rom-com, Today's Special, opens around the country.
TV Guide Magazine: In Today's Special, which you cowrote, cooking yummy Indian food helps you woo a girl. Is that your technique in real life?
Mandvi: Now my flirt technique is, "Would you like to see a movie where I'm incredibly charismatic and romantic and cook really awesome Indian food for a beautiful woman?"
TV Guide Magazine: You've played doctors in Oz, CSI and The Sopranos. Typecasting?
Mandvi: Sure. In the '90s, [Indian actors] were deli owners or cab drivers. Later, lots of terrorists. Then I got elevated to doctor.
TV Guide Magazine: Let's talk Daily Show. Why is an Indian-American the Middle East correspondent?
Mandvi: Ironic, isn't it? But I've been promoted to cover all things brown, which is great because that's most of the world.
TV Guide Magazine: What's been the response to your Team Mohammed T-shirts?
Mandvi: Even though it's satirical, it's been taken on as sort of a symbol for the millions of moderate Muslims out there — we're proud and we're not dangerous.
TV Guide Magazine: You lived in England, but you don't have an accent like your Daily Show colleague John Oliver.
Mandvi: I'm a much more versatile person than John. He's stuck in that stuffy British persona that he can't break out of. [Laughs] And I can.