Aziz Ansari is a comedian with the zeitgeist nipping at his heels. Having found fame and a devoted following first with MTV’s comedy sketch show Human Giant, and then playing the loveable trend-chaser Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation, followed by rapid-fire releases of his comedy specials, Ansari is now tackling contemporary courtship, literally — like in a book. Romance and relationships in a tech-drunk world are at the heart of his upcoming book, Modern Romance, and tour of the same name, which comes to Eugene this Thursday, March 27. Here’s a sneak peak of EW’s Q&A with Ansari; pick up a copy Thursday to find out more about today’s best-dressed comedian.
What do you miss most and least about pre-internet courtship?
I do think the drama added by texting is considerable. The stress of that just didn’t exist before. And yes, I do call people, but some people don’t like calls, so you can’t totally avoid that nonsense. Granted, I dated way more in the texting era, so it’s hard for me personally to say whether it would have been less stressful pre-text, but it seems possible. Then again, though, texting has made it easier to connect with so many people and I may be dwelling too hard on the negative. In a way this is the heart of the whole discussion in my head that led to me wanting to write this book. Are things better or worse? What’s the real effect of all this stuff? It’s not an easy answer at all.
It seems these days that comedians are releasing their specials in innovative ways. Louis CK with his website, Maria Bamford on Chill.com. You released your latest comedy special Buried Alive on Netflix. Why did you decide to go with Netflix?
I just felt like when my older specials went on Netflix, a shit ton of people watched them and it also seemed to be people’s preferred way of watching things — instantly, with no hassle.
What kind of artistic freedom does Netflix allow?
With standup specials, I’ve always had the same artistic freedom and it’s unprecedented. I edit it and turn it in and go “here it is.” No one gives you “notes” on standup. It’s really unique in that way — to be able to deliver content and receive absolutely zero notes and still have it reach a wide audience, it’s a pretty rare thing.