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Rajiv Satyal Calls Himself the "Funny Indian"

UC College of Engineering alumnus disproves old stereotypes — about Procter & Gamble employees, about Indians, about College of Engineering alumni. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Date: 7/25/2005 8:00:00 AM
By: Wendy Beckman
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos By: Dottie Stover
Did you ever hear the one about the five funny Procter & Gamble employees? The other 99,995 are merely full of Cheer®.

When the Go Bananas comedy club was looking for “the funniest person,” they found Rajiv Satyal. When radio station Q102 was looking for the funniest P&G employee, they found Rajiv Satyal — University of Cincinnati, College of Engineering, class of 2000.

At the time he won the Go Bananas contest, Rajiv was collecting material for a book. He decided to try his material out on stage instead — and won. Then Rajiv’s brother saw an article in The Cincinnati Enquirer about the "Funniest Person in Cincinnati" contest. Seven years later, Q102 held an “I love Cincinnati Week” contest. They wanted to pick the funniest P&G person.

“Five people were nominated and I won,” Rajiv says with humility. Ironically, the brother who helped him out now works for Random-House publishing in New York. “So if I still want to write that book, I guess I know where to go.”

Rajiv Satyal is always looking for new material for his stand-up routine. Here, Dan Carruthers helps him lighten up.
Rajiv Satyal is always looking for new material for his stand-up routine. Here, Dan Carruthers helps him lighten up.

Rajiv wasn’t always funny.

“In third grade (at Fairfield Central Elementary), I knew a kid called Ryan Price. I’ll never forget him. He was hysterical,” says Rajiv. “Ryan told me that I wasn’t funny, and if I were funny we could be better friends.”

Rajiv took Ryan’s advice to heart. (Ryan — are you out there? Do you see what you started?)

Rajiv’s mother and father came to the United States in 1970 and 1971, respectively, and became naturalized citizens. Rajiv was born here, as were his two brothers — twins Rakesh and Vikas. After graduating from UC with a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering, Rajiv went to work at P&G. He started in purchasing at P&G but switched to marketing in 2004.

“I love three things,” Rajiv says. “I love marketing and I love humor.” He points out that they are not as disparate as one might think. “There’s a lot of cross-pollination between the two. In comedy, you focus on three things: you have a message, a medium and an audience. The message is the humor, the medium is the stage and the audience is obvious.” What about marketing? Same thing — message, medium, audience.

So what's the third thing?

"Politics," says Rajiv. We know: message, medium, audience. Lots of marketing and not nearly enough humor.

Speaking of message, medium and audience, Rajiv was pleased that UC finally had appointed a woman president. He was able to hear President Zimpher speak at P&G recently.

“She’s an excellent speaker — very dynamic,” he pointed out. “I believe that you can’t be a good leader if you’re not a good speaker. She came across like WOW! Overall, we were definitely impressed.”

Rajiv was also impressed with many of the faculty during his time at UC.

“Dr. Monte Pool was my thermodynamics professor,” Rajiv says fondly. “He took such an interest in the students’ lives. For instance, I went to DC for three months and interned on Capitol Hill for Steve Chabot. Dr. Pool was very supportive even though my internship didn’t directly relate to my major. He told me, ‘Cross-pollination is a good thing. I wish more people would do that.’” Rajiv also liked how Pool brought no notes to class and worked entirely from memory.

Other professors that instantly sprang to mind were Drs. Donglu Shi, Richard Young and Stephen Clarson.

“Dr. Clarson was a huge help,” says Rajiv. “He was great.” Rajiv’s parents were pleased when Les Vuylsteke, the advisor to student government, walked up to them at Rajiv’s graduation and told them what a fine young man they had.

Rajiv loves working for Procter & Gamble.
Rajiv loves working for Procter & Gamble.

So what does Rajiv want to be remembered for?

“I would want to have made as many people laugh as I can,” he says thoughtfully. “It’s important.”

“I want a platform. That’s what we all want,” he adds. “I have all this stuff to say but I need a platform. You have to live your values. It all depends on what platform you choose or what platform chooses you.” And Rajiv’s platform has a microphone on it.


 “Then there’s the one about the Indian guy from Australia….”

You’ll have to see Rajiv for the punchline. Visit his Web page for upcoming club appearances.

Rajiv's Web site: Funny Indian

Read about Rajiv in University of Cincinnati Horizons Online

And in the College of Engineering! The man is all over the place!