Why So Serious, Aziz Ansari?By John Wenzel | January 13th, 2011 | 3 comments
Welcome to another “Why So Serious?” — a column where we ask stand-up comedians a handful of questions, and don’t expect anything resembling straight answers.
For this installment we talked to New York-bred stand-up Aziz Ansari, who has shown up seemingly everywhere in the past year or so. From hosting the MTV Movie Awards last June to memorable turns in “Funny People” (as the bro’d-out dick-joker Randy) and NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” Ansari hasn’t wanted for mainstream exposure.
A product of New York’s famed Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre — where he formed the Human Giant sketch troupe with Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer and director Jason Woliner — Ansari also recently released his first full-length Comedy Central special and CD.
When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried, and why?
The hardest I laughed in a long time was that episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” when Larry is falling off the roof and grabs on to the girls midsection. That dude is my hero. I hope I can get old and still kill it as hard as LD does.
Do people who spend their lives on the road (touring musicians, comedians, etc.) ever really get used to traveling, or are they just fooling themselves?
I travel in spurts so it’s pretty manageable. Also the more you tour, the more you get to know cities, and it’s fun to visit the same spots again. For example, I’ve been to Denver a few times, so I know exactly which ecstasy dealer to contact as soon as I get into town (Mongo that hangs outside the Foot Locker).
As a friend of Kanye West’s, what did you think of the universal critical acclaim of his new album?
I think it’s his best album and was the best album of 2010, so I agree with it!
How was hosting the MTV Movie Awards last year? Would you ever do it again?
It was so much fun. It was a lot of work, but I was really happy with how everything turned out. I never thought I would look at an audience I was performing for and see Jackie Chan. If they asked me to do it again, I would definitely consider it if I was available.
How do you find time to do stand-up between shooting for TV and film?
I always have breaks when I’m shooting, so I use that time. My “vacation” time from acting is really just stand-up time, which I’m fine with.
What are you most excited about in 2011 professionally? Personally? On Broadway?!
Professionally, I’m very excited about Season 3 of “Parks and Recreation” on NBC. I really feel it’s the best work we’ve done and I’m really proud of it. The film I shot this past summer, “30 Minutes or Less,” starring myself, Jesse Eisenberg, and Danny McBride, comes out in August. It’s the first movie where I’m in the whole movie as opposed to the smaller parts I’ve done so far, so I’m very excited about that. I also want to continue touring with my stand-up and record a new special sometime in 2011.
Personally, I’m excited to eat more delicious food in 2011 and hopefully not get really chubby.
John Wenzel is an executive editor of Reverb and an award-winning A&E reporter for The Denver Post. He is the author of “Mock Stars: Indie Comedy and the Dangerously Funny” (Speck Press/Fulcrum) and maintains a Twitter feed of completely random song titles and band names.