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Aziz Ansari Gets Buried

by Ethan Alter October 28, 2013 8:00 am
Aziz Ansari Gets <I>Buried</i>

One year after Dangerously Delicious, Aziz Ansari returns to satiate his fanbase's appetite for great stand-up comedy with his second special, Buried Alive, shot in Philadelphia during his cross-country tour last spring. While the comedian and Parks and Recreation co-star made Delicious available through a $5 download, he's dropping Buried via Netflix, with the special debuting on the streaming service on Friday. Ansari got on the horn with press to talk about working with Netflix, wooing Tatiana Maslany on Parks and whether he'll go from frequent podcast guest to podcast host.

On the Benefits of Partnering with Netflix
Netflix is one of the few outlets we [comedians] have to release material where people who are watching actually get to watch stuff in the way that they like to. I think people these days like to watch whatever they want whenever they want. I've done every kind of method of releasing stuff -- like I released my previous special for $5 -- and I found that when my material was on Netflix, people seemed to watch it on their time and enjoyed that the most.

On Working on His Issues Through Comedy
My comedy draws on whatever is kind of going on in my life, whatever is in my head. And this time, it was kind of heavier things; you know, babies and marriage and stuff. So that's just kind of what happened and what I ended up with. If anything kind of random came up that was funny, I didn't really put in this special, because I had so much about those topics. I wrote this stuff two years ago, and by the time you write it, film it, edit it and it ends up in the hands of the Netflix people, a lot of time goes by. So my views have definitely changed a little bit here and there. I'm more comfortable with the idea of having a ticking clock because I'm no longer thinking "Oh, at this age, I want to get married and at this age, I want to have kids." We're all constantly evolving based on our life experiences, and that's what's changed for me. I've already written my next show and I'll tour with it and film it and it covers different material.

On How Not to Take a Joke Too Far
I think you have to take it on a case by case basis. Any joke I do -- like the one about child molesters in this special -- I have to see if it makes sense first. Ultimately that joke is about how I'd be scared to have kids, because I would be so scared for the safety of my kids. That's the scary part for me -- how parents let their kids run around in the mall by themselves and things like that. I mean, if you took it out of context you could make me look like a horrible person, but that's ultimately what that joke is about.

On How Parks and Recreation Has Helped His Stand-up Career
I feel like they are separate things, first of all. Whenever I do stand-up, most of the people there know my stand-up. Like, if I mention my cousin Eric or something, I'll get a big response. I don't feel there's too many people who watch Parks and then go, "Let me spend X amount of dollars to watch him do stand-up." I'm sure it's helped -- since you're on TV show, more people know who you are -- but I wouldn't know how to quantify that.

On Romancing Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany on Parks
She's great; I'm a big fan of Orphan Black, so I was really excited that she was on our show. There's one more episode with her in it and then hopefully we'll be able to get her back later this season. In the next one, they're kind of going out, but he's dealing with how she's going away to Rwanda and she's trying to figure out how to deal with that situation. Because he met someone he really likes but she's going to be leaving soon.

On Potentially Reuniting with His Human Giant Collaborators Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel
I'm still in touch with the Human Giant guys and I think I'll do something on The League eventually. But, you know, we're all busy doing our own things. I think Human Giant was a great start for all of us and suited the training that I did. And it was just a lot of fun.

On Whether He'll Ever Host His Own Podcast
I love appearing on podcasts, but I don't think I'll have the time to do one myself. It is a fun medium, though; I like having long conversations with people about what we do. So many TV interviews are so short -- you know: how did you start, what's this new thing, goodbye. You don't really get a conversation going. Podcasts are a great resource because they can answer questions that I've always wanted to ask, you know? When I was coming up as a comic, I'd always read interviews with any comedian I could find, but there's nothing on the level of what you have now, with people talking for like an hour and a half. At the same time, all that stuff -- podcasts, YouTube and Twitter -- can be a distraction for young comics, too. They're like, "Oh, I gotta start making videos and I gotta maintain a Twitter feed." I think that is probably doing more harm than good, because all I really cared about when I was starting out was being really good at stand-up. And I think that's ultimately what got me to where I am. So I hope all these new tools aren't causing people to take their focus away from the basic art of stand-up.

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