Mathur was born in Ottawa, Canada, to Hindu immigrant parents from India, but grew up in Houston, Texas and attended Albright Middle School in Alief, Texas and Elsik High School. She discovered her comedic side in seventh grade, after a teacher asked her to feed her dog while she was away: "That teacher soon said to me, 'Take my acting class' and I did, and it was amazing. I got to free up my inner weirdo. Once we got to draw masks, and everyone loved the lion I drew. Something was always in me, roaring quietly, ready to be unleashed. (Ha, that was a cool metaphor.) Soon, out poured all the funny voices, silly characters, and hilarious wit that had built up inside me."
After college she moved to Chicago and worked as a copywriter at a large advertising firm, while at night she studied improvisation at The Second City Training Center: "I day-jobbed and had an improv affair with Second City by night. Still have the hickeys to prove it." She also performed with Stir Friday Night!, a Chicago-based Asian American sketch comedy troupe.
After moving to LA to film a pilot that did not get picked up, Mathur faced difficulty:
Now I was living out of the trunk of my car. Mooching. Being broke. I mean broke like, you want to go out to eat late night with friends and you’re holding back tears reading the menu, having to make sure the side of eggs is really $1.49 and not $2.49, ’cause otherwise you just won’t eat. The vine I was trying to swing to wasn’t quite in front of me yet, so sometimes I had to grab a hold of air. To make ends meet I had to cater waitering. Being a children’s party clown or Dora the Explorer with a football-shaped head. Serving whiny, bandaid-on-their-forehead customers at Starbucks at 5 a.m. Graveyard shifts at Dr. Phil’s studios. It was a nightmare. But I also realized that I needed to keep my eyes open to the comedy in all those situations, and back-pocket it to use on stage, like during shows at IO-West, or in improv classes at the Groundlings. That kept me going.
She has recently released her debut musical comedy album, "The Sari (W)rap"; is currently writing new material for Siblings of Doctors, her sketch comedy trio with Danny Pudi and Ranjit Souri; and has recently completed her short film "Nilam Auntie: An International Treasure", which she wrote, produced, and plays several characters http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1443455/
She continues to perform stand-up around the country. She also appears on the show Wild'N Out on MTV2, where she kisses Lauren Flans, who is also on the show. Her influences are Christopher Guest, Chevy Chase, The Three Amigos, Saturday Night Live (the David Spade years) and In Living Color. She also cites Adam Sandler, The Count, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Woody Allen and Diane Keaton.
"The Sari (W)rap"
Mathur's debut musical comedy album, "The Sari (W)rap", was released in November 2010 on Rukus Avenue Records.
|1.||"I Don't Practice Enough"||4:01|
|2.||"The Threading Salon Chronicles"||2:08|
|3.||"Threading Rap -- A Song For Hairy Girls"||1:55|
|4.||"Back That Thing Up"||4:31|
|6.||"Indita Mia (Let Me Lube You)"||6:33|
|7.||"The Indian Irish Drinking Song"||2:54|
|8.||"My Guitar Teacher Is White"||4:51|
|10.||"We Love You England"||4:19|
|14.||"I Think I'm Gonna Kama Sutra"||5:48|
|15.||"Their Satanic Majesties Last Guitar Lesson"||1:38|
|16.||"The Sari (W)rap"||2:27|
Filmography and T.V.
- Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)...Emily's Assistant
- The Taqwacores (2009)...Fatima
- Nilam Auntie: An International Treasure (2008)...Nilam Auntie/Laxmi & other roles
- An Inconvenient Penguin (2008)...Dr. Sumi
- Cloverfield (2008)...PartyGoer
- Deserted: The Webseries (2007)...Sanjina
- Wild 'N Out (2005–2013)
- Weeds (1 episode, "Protection") (2007)...Bank Teller
- Carpoolers (1 episode, "Down for the count") (2007)...Barista
- My Name is Earl (1 episode, "Kept a Guy Locked in a Truck") (2007)...Female Indian Friend
- The L Word (1 episode, "Livin' La Vida Loca") (2007)...Student #1
- BBQ Bill (2006)...Rasika
- Totally Real TV(2006)...Susan
- Free Ride (TV series) (1 episode, "Up The Aunty") (2006)...Deeta the Waitress
- Stacked (1 episode, "Beat the Candidate") (2005)...Sally
- Next! (2002)...Assorted roles
In October 2002, Rasika was a contestant on the GSN Game Show Russian Roulette
- Souri, Ranjit (Jun 15, 2006). Funny Brown Female. India Currents
- Yalamanchili, Pavani (June 2005). One Woman Show. Nirali Magazine
- Leslie, Joey (April 11, 2006). Q&A: Rasika Mathur, Comedian and Co-star of MTV's Wild 'N Out.[permanent dead link] WKU Herald
- Rasika Mathur on IMDb
- Rasika Mathur profile on MTV Desi
- One Woman Show, Nirali Magazine, June 2005
- Rasika Mathur profile on Wild 'N Out
- Precipice Productions
- Rasika Mathur in DESERTED ("Lost" Parody) Webisodes
- "Funny Brown Female": Interview by Ranjit Souri in India Currents magazine
- "International Musical Comedy Icon": Interview by Parimal M. Rohit in 'Buzzine' magazine