In a comical case of art imitating reality, Parvesh Cheena, who stars in the new NBC sitcom Outsourced—which some critics have frowned upon for perpetuating South Asian stereotypes and being insensitive to the plight of unemployed Americans—survived a telemarketing job by fibbing his way through it.
Interviewed on Film Festival Radio, the funnyman recalls the pre-fame gig.
“Earlier in my career, I worked as a ticket agent who was selling in Chicago,” he tells host Janice Malone.
“Part of our job was working the phones, selling theatre tickets, selling tickets for Shakespeare theatre shows, selling subscriptions and making cold calls.
“There were many times when I called people during their dinner hour! And, of course, I would often bend the truth about what we were selling—as anyone who’s worked the phones has done.
“I would say things like, ‘Oh, yes, I’ve seen this show eight times—and it’s great!’ In actuality I would’ve seen it maybe only once.”
Parvesh, who grew up in suburban Chicago, also addresses allegations of stereotyping in Outsourced, which co-stars Ben Rappaport as a young American salesman of novelty wares who’s reassigned to run an outsourced call center in India.
“We have a very diverse cast. There are some Indian-Americans, such as myself, some British-Indians and one actor is a Canadian-Indian. We are portraying characters who are born and raised in India,” he says.
“We’re all playing just one character. We’re not making a comment about the entire people of a region or about all Indian people.
“My character, Gupta, is just making a comment about one guy in the show who’s a big dork and he talks too much.
“A guy like Gupta can be in an office in New York; Lima, Peru; or Chicago.”
Click here to hear Parvesh Cheena’s full interview.
Click here to check out the pilot episode of Outsourced.