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A Celebrity Crush on Aziz Ansari

February 9, 2010

Hey Aziz, if you’re reading this, and if you really are a lot lonelier than people think you are, stop by sometime.

Hey people who haven’t heard Aziz Ansari’s new album Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening or seen the Comedy Central special of the same name, you’re not getting my joke and are probably thinking I’m Aziz’s stalker. But that’s totally not true yet!!

But I am loving Aziz Ansari these days, and here’s why:

1. Intimate Moments… contains some of the best comedy I’ve heard in years. It’s a perfect mixture of intelligence and accessibility. The accessibility is a simple matter—he talks about places, people and things everybody knows. Coldstone Creamery, CVS, Facebook, MTV, wasting time on the Internet, etc.

But he does so with great intelligence, which I hear primarily in the stories/scenarios Ansari constructs and in the ways he plays with language. Regarding the latter, he makes jokes that kill out of how he’s never heard two particular words (one of which is “fucking”) in the same sentence before, the best sentence ever said during a comedy show (which is funny because it comes from Kanye West), and how a simile can only be completed by returning to the original thing to be compared, because nothing is worse than that original thing (which involves giving oral pleasure in exchange for goods and services).

Not many comedians can mine for humor the English language itself without coming off like the stuffy pedants that politely chortle at their own clever wordplay every Saturday morning on NPR (I love that shit, by the way. “Says You” is the fuckin’ bomb!). But my boy Aziz does it strikingly well—those punks on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” should take notes.

Speaking of Kanye West, that brings me to Ansari’s way with a story. His bits about Kanye just kill, and they hinge completely on Ansari’s friendship with the famous rapper  and the comedian’s willingness to disclose potentially embarrassing stuff. There are other comedians who take a similar approach fairly well (including everything Kathy Griffin has ever said, ever), but I especially appreciate Ansari’s ability to also tell great stories about people we DON’T know. If you only listen to one bit from Intimate Moments…, it should probably be the sequence about Aziz’s cousin Harris. If you’re like me, you’ll end the bit having a) laughed your ass off, b) realized that the sentence “Fuck Will Smith!” is pretty much always funny, but especially in the context of a well-timed Facebook status comment, and c) drawn a clear mental picture of Aziz’s cousin Harris and started to wish he were your cousin so you could make fun of him on Facebook too. Amateur comedians, listen and take notes, because that’s how you tell a story. It’s right up there with the Family Cookout bit from Eddie Murphy’s Delirious (“And then she said, ‘Goonie goo goo.'”).

2. Ansari plays Tom Haverford, one of the best characters on Parks and Recreation, one of TV’s best comedies. I’ve gushed so much about Aziz’s stand-up that I won’t go on too long here, but I will exhort you to check out this season of Parks and Recreation, especially if you watched the initial six-episode season last summer and decided that it wasn’t for you. I almost did the same thing, but I decided to give Season 2 a chance, and for the love of Ron Swanson, I’m glad I did. The Office is in the tank this year, but Parks and Rec is flying high. One of the biggest reasons for the show’s ability to draw consistent laughs is Tom Haverford, ladies man.

3. I thought Funny People was better than most people wanted to give it credit for. But I’m pretty sure that even many of the people who hated the movie liked Ansari’s bit part as RAAAAAAAANDY, a genius knock-off of those dreadful hack comedians who can only get laughs by telling jokes about their weiners. I love it, and I haven’t even watched Ansari’s short films, in the character of RAAAAAAAANDY (that’s right, eight A’s, ‘cuz RAAAAAAAANDY’s a straight baller), on Funny or Die, so I’ve got those to look forward to. There’s also a great eight-minute RAAAAAAAANDY bit on the new album. But, if you go to watch any of these bits, be warned. You ’bout to get dealt with.

4. As the girls who have received one of his mix CD’s can probably attest (another joke from the album…just go get the damn thing already), Ansari has killer musical taste. As evidenced in his iTunes and AOL playlists, the guy knows his stuff, from Beach House to the Beach Boys, from Ghostface to the Zombies.

So Aziz, next time you’re Googling your own name on your Blackberry while driving, here’s another celebrity crush declaration that I hope pops up.

Or a strong declaration of appreciation for your talent, at least. I’m still figuring out the rest of my feelings. I’m pretty sure I’m still at the point, though, where I can be swayed by mix CDs.

  1. Jay St. Orts permalink
    February 9, 2010 6:25 pm

    He’s really funny and talented. I just saw his current standup special on ComCent last night. I stayed up way too late to see it all. Between his special and the uncensored Sarah Silverman standup special I saw last week, I’ve seen some of the best comedy out there–truly high-water marks. Trust me: I’ve always been wary of Silverman, even once I’d come to like her and her show (I did not at first). But, after seeing her most recent special, I’m on board. Aziz I had liked from the beginning. He’s like the far-less-crispy, Mitch Hedberg of second-gen Indian immigrant comedy or something.

    Thanks for helping give him his due.

  2. T. Stump permalink
    February 10, 2010 1:47 pm

    I loved several moments of Funny People, yet was flummoxed at the lack of RAAAAAAAANDY! He needs a secondary plot where he meets SanDeE* from LA Story. They could join forces with Cody ChesnuTT to create the Superfluous-CapitalizAAAAAAAAtion SuperHerO SQuAd*

  3. T3h F0OL permalink
    February 12, 2010 5:53 am

    “If that was drug deal i would of shot hotel luxery lynin in the face!”


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