Comedy Chit Chat with Aziz Ansari
Aziz Ansari, what’s not to say about the comedian who successfully landed a role on MTV’s ”Human Giant” and quickly became one of the world’s most beloved comics. In Parks and Recreation as Tom Haverford, he became an instant favorite as he steals the scene with his poor self-trusting actions which would instantly lead him in to heavy financial burdens. And yes, it’s hilarious.
Watching Aziz grow over the years from the beginning of his career he had to start picking up his feet faster than his legs could run. From Upright Citizens Brigade, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Moontower Comedy Festival, and Bayou Music Center Ansari’s stage has grown larger and larger, with his next performance in Houston being at the Toyota Center, which can pack in 20,000. That’s a huge jump since the last time I saw him do a very intimate, unannounced house comedy show called Comedy Living Room to a room of 100 surprised fans as practice for his James Franco Roast in Los Angeles.
You’ve departed from small stages during your Human Giant days, creeping onto larger stages and venues. Now, within a short time frame, you’re performing to thousands a night. How do you wrap your head around this and how do you plan on connecting with your audience on such a larger scale?
When I moved to theaters from comedy clubs, it was definitely a transition and I talked to guys like Louis CK who had done the move for advice and slowly adapted my shows to work in those venues over the course of my last three tours. It’s gonna be the same for these arena shows. I got advice from other people that have done it, both comedians and musicians, and have tried to setup the show in a way where it’ll really be cool, not just like “Oh shit, this venue is huge.” For the screens and stuff, I got the guys that worked on stuff like Daft Punk, Beyonce, Watch the Throne, etc. to make sure what I’m doing is something more interesting than just 2 large screens on my right and left. I don’t think comedy has been done super well in arenas, and I’m hoping when people leave the show, they’ll have a ‘holy shit’ moment like after seeing the Daft Punk pyramid or Watch the Throne.
I’ve noticed recently you’ve been doing research on relationships. How has this worked for your writing and is this new tour a small branch from the Buried Alive tour or will it be random bits such as Dangerously Delicious/Intimate Moments?
The research is related to the book I’m now writing, not the standup shows. As far as the standup, this show has evolved a little. When it was called Modern Romance, it was a whole hour about love and relationships. But, then a few months ago, I wrote a bunch of new stuff that I thought I would use as the basis of the next tour, but I decided to just integrate it into the current show. So now its half romance and the other half is about sexism, how amazing my parents are, and the meat industry. This show I’ve been calling Aziz Ansari Live!
Just as much as you, I love to travel and this summer while in Australia eating in new places I would think to myself, “Wonder if Aziz would like this meal?” or “Has Aziz checked this place out yet?” I get this notion that you’ve eaten in all restaurants of the world. In Parks in Rec in one episode your character, Tom is a “foodie,” but only to the extent of taking photos of the food itself, but that’s Tom’s mission. What’s your mission when you come eat Houston?
Sadly, I don’t have time to eat in Houston cause we have shows the night before and after. (And if I did, I wouldn’t say where in case the Aziz murderer was reading this!) I’m gonna try though. I also want to say, I’m tired of the word “foodie” and the negative connotation. I don’t consider myself a “foodie” and I’m not even sure what it is. If you like good food, you’re just a person of taste. If someone dresses well, they don’t get dubbed a “clothie” or some other dumb, derogatory term. The people that just eat garbage all the time, they’re the ones that need a stupid label. How about food bozos? “Yeah that guy doesn’t care where he eats, he’s a food bozo.”
Exactly, same for “selfies”. Why can’t people just instead called them “selfish?” Thank you for your time and I’d like to end on a wonderful homage to Joan Rivers and what she did for the world. Anything you’d like to share about Rivers to Houston, TX?
Ahhh, the Joan Rivers thing really bums me out. The day before she went to the hospital, she did an hour set in New York. That’s my dream. I always say in interviews that TV, movies, and all that shit means nothing in the grand scheme. What I really want to do, is be 80 or 90 years old and drop into a comedy club and still be able to have a killer set. Joan did that up until the day she died. It’s incredible to me. She’s a real hero.
Aziz Ansari will be performing live this Friday at Toyota Center at 8pm. Tickets from $35-$55.
by Guest Author