News & Politics

Q&A: Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation), Trying Not to Be a Douche


Aziz Ansari is on his morning commute through the Hollywood Hills to his real serious day job — NBC’s Parks and Recreation, with Amy Poehler — and is willing to be a trooper and get through this interview despite L.A. traffic and bad cell phone reception. You see, the in-demand comedian has just agreed to another show at Comix, making a whopping total of eight performances that begin tonight. Even so, and regardless of his current marketing appeal (which includes a three-movie deal with director Judd Apatow, and a Comedy Central special, Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening), Ansari is no diva, and definitely doesn’t want to come across as a douche (unlike his incarnation Raaaaaaaandy, a future feature film title character). We say bring it on, you’ve earned it, man!

Ansari is keeping it real. Though he does admit his buzz since appearing in Flight Of The Conchords, Funny People, and I Love You, Man, he’s committed to helping out the little people, like his chubby tween cousin Harris, who’s become the underdog of Ansari’s standup material by getting him a lot of… well, Ansari can explain it better.

You’re obviously having a lot of success right now. You must be feeling good.

I don’t know, its kind of hard to answer a question like that without sounding like a douche. You know its great. I’m finally been able to buy all the jet-skis I’ve wanted to buy in the past, so yeah it’s pretty awesome.

Is your cousin Harris kissing your ass now?

You know, I don’t know if you can print this but Harris is getting so much pussy right now its crazy. It’s just — it’s ridiculous.

How’s your family taking all of this?

They’re excited. You know I think when you first start out doing stand-up comedy, its kind of like, “What are you doing?” You know, “What is this?” Then if you start showing up in magazines and TV and things like that, then it kind of legitimizes it and makes it exciting. They’re like, that’s all noble and whatever.

What do they think of your material?

Well, my mom saw my stand-up special and was like “that was very dirty,” and I was like, “I can’t disagree with you, ha ha, it is pretty dirty.” They still have yet to see the Randy stuff. That’s why I’m glad I get to do Parks and Recreation, because that’s a show that’s on every week and it’s clean and it’s very funny and they can enjoy it without being like “Oh, my son just talked about titties.”

Can you explain the movie deal with Judd Apatow?

My friend Jason Woliner pitched three movie ideas to Judd, and he wanted to do all three, so we’re working on those three ideas right now. We’re at the early stage of writing those films. They’re all separate entities, and Jason would direct all of them and I would act in all of them.

So what’s your relationship status?

I’ll say I’m — uh — single right now.

Sorry, you’re cutting off, what was that?

Oh sorry, I almost hit a car.

Are you planning on keeping the beard?

Yeah, I mean I’ve kept the beard for a while, I can’t take it off at this point, it would be too drastic a change. The beard’s such a huge part of my appeal. I think most people come to my shows just to see my beard in person. I don’t know if it’s really about the live comedy as much as like, “Wow the beard looks just as good in person as it does on TV.”

So I mean, if I take that off, I mean, why do you think those [Comix] shows are sold out? They’ve seen the beard on Kimmel, the beard on Leno — I mean not on Leno. They’ve seen the beard on Kimmel, the beard on Conan… So if I showed up to one of these shows [without it], they would be very upset.

Speaking of Leno and Conan, what team are you on?

You know, I did Conan’s show a week before all of that started happening, so yeah, I’m a huge fan of Conan and I hope he’s on TV.

Can you share some of the new material you’ll be debuting at Comix?

I’ll tell you some words that were on my set list that I did recently. Let’s see: Doughnut; ping-pong; locksmith; mean dog. That should give you a taste.

You’ve got a lot of back-to-back shows coming up. Is there a certain regimen you do to prepare?

You know, I get asked that question every now and then, and I don’t. And I don’t know if other comedians are like, “Yeah like I, uh, you know start doing squats like thirty minutes before and uh I drink a couple of smoothies, and uh then I do some sit-ups and a pound of muscle milk and then I go onstage.” I just kind of make a set list out and then I go out and do those jokes, and hope for the best.

Through Saturday at Comix 353 West 14th Street, 212-524-2500, $30-$35

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