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Friends with privileges: Childhood pals host ‘Brown Privilege’ comedy show

Two can play at this show: Comedian Saurin Choksi, left, and DJ Sareen Patel host the monthly “Brown Privilege” comedy show in Crown Heights.
for Brooklyn Paper
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The comedy show “Brown Privilege,” hosted by comedian Saurin Choksi and DJ Sareen Patel, thrives on the synergy between its co-hosts, who grew up together in Texas. The show, which happens on the third Tuesday of every month, has brought some notable names over the last 12 months to Friends and Lovers in Crown Heights, making a point to showcase comedians of color. We chatted with the hosts about their tag-team approach to creating an intimate setting for diversity and laughter.

What’s the experience of sharing the stage with a DJ?

Saurin Choksi: I think it’s really fun because we’ve known each other so long. At the top of the show either we’ll riff on things together or he might chime in or throw in sound effects to punch up certain jokes. We have a shared background with our family and our parents, so sometimes we’re just casually talking about what’s going on in their lives. Having him as a DJ is what gives the show its personality.

Sareen Patel: The thing we always say is he’s like Letterman and I’m like Paul Shaffer on the side.

SC: That is something you would always say.

What’s the meaning of “Brown Privilege?”

SP: I thought of the name for a music album I put out a couple of years ago. First it was just a name, trying to be funny and provocative and catchy all at the same time without it being too “in your face.” [It was] just kind of a playful jab. After that it became more of an umbrella for our whole vibe.

How would you describe that vibe?

SC: I think it’s representative of the neighborhood and a lot of the discussions that are going on right now in our culture as far as inclusiveness, diversity, and representation. It should be fun and funny, and that’s the number one priority. [The show] is inherently diverse, and I don’t know how much people have to talk about that, but they are [diverse] because of who they are.

Have there been any outlandish sets?

SC: We had Dylan Marron on the show and he had a set that required everyone to get up off their chairs, move their chairs to the side, and dance the hokey-pokey with their phones. The audience was really on board to just go along with it. It’s exciting and fun to see guys like Roy Wood, Jr. or Liza Treyger come and just close out the show and just be hitting it so hard and seeing the audience reacting to that in the moment. It’s cool to see people who perform at big clubs or theaters in this smaller room, just crushing it.

“Brown Privilege” at Friends and Lovers [641 Classon Ave. between Dean and Pacific streets in Crown Heights, (917) 979–3060, www.fnlbk.com]. Next show Dec. 20 at 8 pm. Free.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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