NPR

Hollywood Writer's Gongs Still Going Strong

Comedy writer Andrew Borakove left California for Lincoln, Neb., to sell gongs. (Guy Raz)

Andrew Borakove was a television comedy writer in Hollywood when he realized he had to make a life change.

"A vision of a gong appeared before me, and I said a gong? I've never thought of that," he says. "And I started doing research and I said, 'Yep, I could maybe sell gongs for a living.' "

So he moved with his wife and two children to Lincoln, Neb., and opened Gongs Unlimited, an online gong shop. That's where former host of weekends on All Things Considered Guy Raz and producer Brent Baughman found him earlier this year.

Borakove's doors have been open for eight years, somehow surviving the recession. "We've watched the world go up and down, but when you're selling gongs, there's no up or down, it's just round," he says. "We start from the center and radiate out."

Last time we spoke with him, he told us car dealerships were a flourishing customer of his — hitting the gong for every auto sale. We wanted to know, what's going on now?

"We just recently had a gong on [the Fox TV show] The Mindy Project," he says. "It was the centerpiece of a whole scene!"

But that's not all Borakove's been up to. In 2012, gongs went green. Borakove and the rest of his gong gang have been upcycling to make gong stands. "I took roll bars that were left over from some sort of manufacturing for Jeeps, and we made gong stands out of stuff that was going to be thrown away or scraped."

Borakove's message for 2013? "You know how the kids used to say 'peace out'? I'm saying peace in."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

And the last of our year-end check-ins? Well, we thought we'd ring in the New Year with...

(SOUNDBITE OF GONG)

LYDEN: ...a gong. Not bong, though, you know, gongs do bong, kind of. Anyway, in March of this year, our former host, Guy Raz, and producer Brent Baughman took a trip to a Lincoln, Nebraska. There, they found a television comedy writer turned gong salesman, Andrew Borakove.

ANDREW BORAKOVE: A vision of a gong appeared before me. And I said: A gong. I never thought of that. And I started doing research, and I said: Yep, I could maybe sell gongs for a living.

LYDEN: Borakove says he's shipping gongs all over the world. Gongs Unlimited - his business - somehow dodged the recession. He's been in business for eight years.

BORAKOVE: We've watched the world go up and down. But when you're selling gongs, there's no up or down. You know, it's just round. We start from the center and radiate out.

LYDEN: And he does mean out.

BORAKOVE: Each year, we get a new group of buyers into the gong circle. Many years ago, it was the car dealers.

LYDEN: So they could bang the gong slowly at each car sale. That dropped off slightly after the recession. And we asked him what's been gong-ing on since we last spoke? And it turns out that this year, Gongs Unlimited was, of course, on television.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE MINDY PROJECT")

MINDY KALING: (as Mindy Lahiri) Well, well, well.

BORAKOVE: We just recently had a gong on "The Mindy Project."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE MINDY PROJECT")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (as Character) Easy there. That gong was a gift from me to myself after...

LYDEN: In the starring role, Mindy Kaling sweeps across the set wielding the gong mallet.

BORAKOVE: Let me tell you. It was very exciting to have Mindy have my mallet in her hand for that long. And she was waving it around at the folks. And she said she was not going to give their mallet back to them.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE MINDY PROJECT")

KALING: (as Mindy Lahiri) I'm holding onto this mallet. All right? And if you steal another patient, I'm going to come back for this gong.

LYDEN: But that's not all. In 2012, gongs went green. Borakove and the rest of his gong gang have been upcycling to make gong stands.

BORAKOVE: I took roll bars that were leftover from some sort of manufacturing for Jeeps, and we made these gong stands out of stuff that was going to be thrown away or scrapped.

LYDEN: And Andrew Borakove's message for 2013?

BORAKOVE: You know how the kids used to say peace out? I'm saying peace in.

LYDEN: So if you missed the original story, log onto NPR and search gongs.

(SOUNDBITE OF GONG)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LYDEN: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Most Popular