Aasif Mandvi on the novelty of playing a guy named Ben

Studio 360

When Aasif Mandvi auditioned for “The Daily Show” in 2006, he considered himself more of a serious actor.

“I was such a cocky guy,” he says. “I went in there and I was sort of like, I’m a real actor. Like I’d done stage and things and I was like I’m not doing this comedy show. And so I went in and Jon Stewart said, ‘Have you ever performed in front of a live audience before?’ And I just remember being like super snarky and looking at him and just being like, ‘Dude. I’ve been on Broadway.’ And he was like, ‘Oh, OK! Mr. Broadway. All right, here we go, smarty pants.’ But then he hired me like right away.”

Aasif Mandvi joins Kurt Andersen to talk about his dramatic beginnings, writing his own roles, the influence of “The Daily Show” and his new show coming out this fall on CBS, called “Evil.”

“I play a guy named Ben,” he says. “His name is Ben and he gets to wear a plaid shirt and work boots and drive a pickup truck, which historically has been a role reserved for white guys. My whole career I was either in a suit or in a doctor’s lab coat.”

Aasif Mandvi begins the interview with a stand-up set.

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