Aasif Mandvi Explains Why The RNC Chose Tampa: "We Have the Best Strip Clubs in the World"

Read our full gonzo guide to the RNC: "Fear and Loathing In Tampa"

Screw Geraldo Rivera. Bugger off Wolf Blitzer. When it came time to pick a guide to this year's Republican National Convention in Tampa, we went with Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi. He may play a Middle Eastern correspondent on television, but the Mumbai-born Mandvi actually spent his high school and college years in Tampa. Who better to talk to about the RNC's host and the even more insane state in which it sits?

"You can't ignore that fact, that the Republicans are coming and having their convention in the city that has the best strip clubs in the world," Mandvi tells Riptide. "If they don't take advantage of what Tampa has to offer, then they are missing out"

Here in the Sunshine State, Mandvi is most famous for asking Rick Scott to piss into a cup to prove he wasn't on drugs earlier this year (Scott had passed laws requiring state employees and welfare recipients to do the same).

"When I first came to Florida as a boy, I said to myself: One day I'm going to ask the governor of this state to give me a urine sample in the middle of a press conference," Mandvi tells New Times. "Finally my dream came true, and I can cross it off my bucket list."

In reality, when a 16-year-old Mandvi arrived in Tampa in the 1980s, he used comedy to fit-in to his new surroundings. As a Muslim Indian with a British accent -- he lived in North England for most of his childhood -- Mandvi was triply out of place in Florida. His new neighbors didn't know what to make of him.

"I don't think that in the 1980s Americans knew that there were other countries," he says. "They knew that the oil came from somewhere, but they weren't sure where exactly."

Mandvi gave Riptide a hint about an upcoming Daily Show episode which will feature his return to Tampa. The program got permission to film a skit involving an aging pole dancer inside the famous club The Mons Venus.

"That's where they invented the lap dance," Mandvi says of the Mons. "That's what they claim. With that kind of cultural heritage, you can't go wrong. Tampa is the birthplace of Hooters, for God's sake. It has a lot going for it."

Mandvi spends most of his time in New York City now, but he still has a pretty accurate read on the pulse in his former home state.

"I get the sense that [Florida politics] is the rednecks and the old Jews, and they are just going up against one another," he says.

Don't forget the Cubans.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >