Don’t Call Him Gary (Or Iranian)

Maz Jobrani
Maz Jobrani (

One of the main characters in ABC’s new series The Knights of Prosperity starring Donal Logue is Indian attorney-turned-NYC taxicab driver Gourishankar (“Don’t Call Me Gary”) Subramaniam. The actor/comic who plays this role is Maz Jobrani, a Middle Eastern American of Iranian background. Such cross-cultural casting is not new for Jobrani who once played a Sikh character on Curb Your Enthusiasm, or for ABC, the network that features Naveen Andrews in the role of Sayid Jarrah, a former member of the Iraqi Republican Guard, on TV series Lost. Andrews was born in the UK to parents from Kerala, India.

The pilot for The Knights of Prosperity, which brings together a diverse bunch of outcasts in NYC for the purpose of robbing Mick Jagger, can be viewed on ABC’s Web site. The verdict is wide open on this new show, but I’ll give it points for not using a canned laugh track and for its over-the-top touches like the houseboy character in Mick Jagger’s apartment.

Jobrani on being called Iranian v. Persian: Ever since the hostage crisis of the early 80s, randomly yelling “I’m Iranian” in any crowd not filled with Iranians was considered a no-no. That’s why to this day you’ll find many Iranians insist on being called Persian—it’s not just a fancier name for Iranian, but it sounds nicer and friendlier, and some Americans don’t even know what it means. “No, no, I’m not Iranian, I’m Persian, like the cat … meow! Let’s hug.” — California Magazine.

More information:
The Knights of Prosperity Official Web Site
Maz Jobrani’s Official Web Site

Update: Check out Naina’s post on Jobrani and Andrews: “I Suppose We All Look the Same to ABC.”

January 10, 2007
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