When Aziz Ansari hit the the big 30, the funny man decided to share with the entire world his angst about being middle-aged and finding love. He wants our sympathy and laugher. (He’s already received my laughter, because he’s a rich man, earning his bankroll playing Tom Haverford on the NBC hit comedy “Parks and Recreation.”)
For Ansari, growing up is fraught with tempting detours, as he tries to manage his “I’m middle-aged” to-do list. His first chore was finding a suitable life mate. The pursuit of martial bliss made Ansari feel, in two words, “buried alive,” so that’s what he named his new comedy special. “Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive” will debut on Netflix on Nov. 1. You can check out the trailer on YouTube.
Filmed live in Philadelphia, “Buried Alive” is irreverent, sexy, crude and unusually truthful. Ansari pokes fun at adulthood (not a fan), babies (overrated), marriage (the jury is still deliberating) and finding love in the modern age, where texting is preferred over human contact.
Interesting note: He’s also the executive producer of “Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive,” along with powerhouse film producer Scott Rudin—not shabby company!
I got an opportunity to chat with Ansari during a conference call.
The operator said, “I’m going to now turn this conference call over to Lindsay from Netflix. If you would like to ask a question, please press star, then the number one on your telephone keypad. You have a limit of two questions.”
I pushed one, but they didn’t choose me. Another reporter asked, “What is it about stand-up that still does it for you, keeps you doing this?” That wasn’t my question, but it was a good start.
“Stand-up is a very unique artwork; it’s so singular. There, I can really discuss whatever I want, my viewpoints on things. Then I go work it out on stage. That creative process, for me, will never get old,” Ansari said.
Another reporter asked, “This is a big special that you’re partnering with Netflix. Why?”
“Netflix is one of the few outlets we have to release materials, where people that are watching actually get to view them in the way they like to watch their entertainment,” Ansari responded.
“I was struck by how personal …. you’re talking about family and love,” one reporter commented. “Did you really want to explore that side of you, and did you consider treating it this time as … almost therapy? I suppose you were working out some issues on stage?
“Well, it is. It just came about organically,” Ansari said. “I’m kind of like standing above, whatever is kind of going on in my life, whatever is in my head and this time, it was kind of heavier things—dealing with life and the babies and marriage and stuff. And that’s just kind of what happened, and I ended up—well, it was especially mostly about that stuff. And so then, if anything kind of random came up that was funny and didn’t really put in, because I have so much about the other stuff, does that make sense?
No, it didn’t make sense, but the answer made me laugh so deeply that I forgot to push the number one. I was not selected again, but I heard my question from another reporter: “Was your character on ‘Parks and Recreation’ written for you?”
“Yes. It was written for me. You know, If I weren’t a stand-up comic, I would be living in a mediocre town somewhere,” Ansari said.
Indeed, Ansari would be making those mediocre townsfolk laugh.