Nimesh Patel, one of several Indian-American comedians and writers who has gained renown in the United States, is among the latest recruits to ‘the writer’s guild’ of Saturday Night Live for its upcoming 43rd season. Over the last couple of years, SNL has tried to diversify its cast and now is also adding that diversity behind the scenes.
Vanity Fair called Patel’s hire the most intriguing. The Washington Post noted the criticism SNL faced for not hiring South Asian talent.
Patel gained notoriety with his writing credits for the scathing stand-up roast on President Donald Trump, that comedian Hasan Minhaj delivered during the White House Correspondents Dinner this year.
“In hiring Patel (who jokes about keeping his Hindu papers on him at all times lest he be mistaken for a radical terrorist), S.N.L. is better placed than ever to dig into” the South Asian perspective, particularly in politics. Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson wrote in her article, “Why Saturday Night Live’s Most Intriguing Hire Is Behind The Camera.”
Last year, comedian, writer and actor Aziz Ansari was the show’s first ever South Asian host and his performance was widely acclaimed especially his delicate handling of issues of racism and division in a Donald Trump presidency.
On Oct. 14, Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani-American comedian, writer, and most recently, the actor in the critically acclaimed movie, The Big Sick, will become the show’s second South Asian host.
Patel also has a short and clever stand-up routine on Tinder alleging racism among white women; and a slew of 2016 election jokes among his many accomplishments, for example the one on Comedy Cellar where he is quoted in Vanity Fair saying, “I wanted Bobby Jindal to win. . . he’s the Indian guy, not because I believe in his politics but because I want a career on S.N.L. and that’s the only way that was going to happen.”
Obviously, S.N.L did not want to wait for that possibility to materialize.