Aziz Ansari

September 20, 2012

Hello, its Aziz Ansari again. AMA.

I hope I created the topic properly. This is my third time doing this. Sorry if I did it wrong.


It just happens as you get better and people take notice. Eugene Mirman gave me the best advice early on, he said to just focus on your act and start killing. People are always going to want to give you spots if you're doing great sets. You quickly learn once you focus on being really good, the rest falls in place. I remember seeing people at open mics with headshots and talking about managers, etc. Its all nonsense. The best advice is that of Steve Martin, "be undeniably good."

Hi Aziz! Do you like acting or performing stand-up more? And Human Giant was the funniest show on TV; do you still talk to Rob and Paul? Thanks so much for doing an AMA!

STANDUP IS THE BEST!!!!!!!! But I like acting too. I do talk to those guys still. Thanks for the question.

Hi Aziz! Is it hard to keep coming up with new, fresh, relatable jokes?

Coming up with new jokes is hard, especially ones that are really, really strong but I always just write about whatever's really occupying my head. For my current Buried Alive tour, that's been this kind of fear of settling down and getting married and having children and just how insane that whole process is. It's been by far my most relatable and personal hour of material, and in my opinion, my best.

What is the most interesting thing a fan has ever said to you?

"Hey look its that comedian bozo..."

Who would win in a fight between Darwish and Harris? Why?

Darwish. Dude is JACKED. He works out a lot. Serious.

Do you use any Tom-isms (i.e. chicky chicky parm parm) in real life?

What is your favorite episode of the upcoming season?

Edit: looks like you did it right!

This episode (I think episode 4) where Tom has to stop using the Internet for a week is awesome. I go to Ron's cabin with Ron and try to stay off "screens" for a week. I improvised a thing about Reddit, hopefully it'll make it in. I think you guys will dig it. Offerman, as always, kills it and I got to talk about a LOT of dumb internet stuff. It's like if that Wasting Time on the Internet bit from Dangerously Delicious became a TV episode.

  1. who is your favorite comedian?

  2. have you ever told a joke and had no one laugh at it? how did you recover?

1) I really love Chelsea Peretti and Hannibal Burress.

2) Of course. I mean, nothing terrible happens, its just quiet and then you move on. It's not a huge deal. If that happens like a few jokes in a row, oh man, that sucks hard.

Do you have any new stand up specials coming out any time soon?

I released Dangerously Delicious a few months ago. I'm touring a new show called Buried Alive, I'll probably put that out next year? I think its my best hour.

Have you ever encountered any forms of racism or unexpected discrimination as a minority in Hollywood?

The characters I play always just "happen" to be Indian. So racist.

Has the Governator gotten back to you yet on Twitter. Would love to see you guys in a movie.

YES! I think he's recording a voicemail with T-2 and Kindergarten Cop lines. So nuts.

In the scene where you talked about Apps and Zerts on Parks and Rec, was that scripted? Or did you ad lib all those?

Some written, some improvised.

How is Nick Offerman off set?

Everyone says this about everyone, but he is the nicest, sweetest man. And he always carries me in his arms from the trailer to the sets.

can you tell us a groupie story? either when you had one or were one.

This Indian dude once invited me to go get drinks with him and some other Indian dudes. I said no.

What can we expect from Tom this season on "Parks and Recreation"?

Yesterday we filmed a scene where Jean Ralphio and I sang a song that goes "MAKE! MAKE! MAKE! MAKE! MAKE THOSE BOOTIES CLAP!"

Yo Aziz, can't wait for Parks and Rec Season 5 tonight. Since you come on reddit a bunch of times, do you have any favorite subreddits or memes?

This is my favorite thing. I was looking for an old AMA of mine to see what my username was and I found this AMAZING story where someone said they ran into me on the street and I said something like "GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!!! NO PHOTO. SUCK MY BIG DICK!!!!!"

Yeah, of course, this wasn't me. It must have been some Indian dude with a beard that was tired of being confused with me. But what was hilarious was all the redditors weirdly took Fake Aziz's side like "Yo man, you should give him his privacy." To be clear; it wasn't me and I would never treat someone that came up to me that way. I'll see if I can find it...

This is my favorite thing. I was looking for an old AMA of mine to see what my username was and I found this AMAZING story where someone said they ran into me on the street and I said something like "GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!!! NO PHOTO. SUCK MY BIG DICK!!!!!"

Yeah, of course, this wasn't me. It must have been some Indian dude with a beard that was tired of being confused with me. But what was hilarious was all the redditors weirdly took Fake Aziz's side like "Yo man, you should give him his privacy." To be clear; it wasn't me and I would never treat someone that came up to me that way. I'll see if I can find it...

Its at the top of this:

Its at the top of this:

By the way, that happens A LOT. People tweet me like "Yo I just hi to you in Austin and you were a dick." Meanwhile, I'm in New York. Indian dudes with beards, PLEASE CARRY YOURSELF IN A RESPECTABLE MANNER! I HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE REPERCUSSIONS OF YOUR DOUCHEBAGGERY!!!

forever alone aziz ansari

replies to himself twice


What's your favorite memory from childhood?

If forced to choose: fried chicken or biscuits?


What was your favorite comedy growing up?

Coming to America. Still holds up incredibly well.

Hey Aziz, no bars near me make Gold Rushes. What's your own recipe?

1 1/2 oz Maker's Mark 3/4 oz lemon juice 3/4 oz honey syrup (honey syrup you make with 3:1 ratio of honey to boiling water)

A fantastic cocktail.

What's currently your favorite song? I sure hope it's Pop That by French Montana.

Dude I been blasting that A LOT.

Also "Bands A Make Her Dance" by Juicy J.

Hey Aziz, I saw you perform as part of a killer night at the Comedy Cellar about two months ago, featuring John Mulaney, Mike Birbiglia, among others. My question is who among your peers comedy do you enjoy the most? Not influences, persay, just other young comics who you enjoy.

Honestly, I'll be thrilled if you just acknowledge my existence, even if you don't answer the quesiton. I've tweeted at you enough times that I feel entitled to some acknowledgement, and this would be the easiest form of instant gratification.

Brooks Brothers forever

Chelsea Peretti Hannibal Buress

What would your ideal role in a film be?

The T-1000.

Did you get a chance to film in DC or meet any of the Senators who have cameos in the Parks season opener tonight? I think John McCain could probably use a new swagger coach

Tom stays in Pawnee!! But I saw some of the DC stuff and its hilarious. You'll enjoy the episode.

Blood Oath from Human Giant is my favorite skit of all time. Where the inspiration for that come from?

Jon Glaser, who is going to be on Parks this season (!!!), pitched that idea. He also wrote Let's Go! (which is one of my favorite sketches we did).

This is nothing compared to Obama's AMA in numbers.

Obama answered like 5 questions. How many have I answered? HOW BOUT YOU CHECK THOSE NUMBERS BITCH

be honest; Romney or Obama?

Still holdin out hope for Herman Cain

If you could have any one guest star on parks and Rec, who would you choose?


Is Rashida as cool as she seems?


What's the next movie in theaters that you will be in?

Jingle All the Way 2

What would you be doing if you weren't hilarious?

A fat Indian man that lives at home

What is your favourite "blooper reel moment" from filming Parks & Recreation?

When Aubrey talked as Champion and asked "Anne, why won't you date me? You're the prettiest dog I've ever seen."

Hi, mega stand-up fan here. I have seen Intimate Moments(including the bonus feature), Dangerously Delicious enough times to quote them exactly when they aren't even on. I also came to your Buried Alive Tour in Atlanta, which was fucking hilarious by the way. First, I would like to know when you are expecting your next tour to take place? Also, how do you come up with material? For some reason I imagine you doing it in some badass way.

Next tour, who knows, I'M STILL ON THIS TOUR MAN, WHY DON'T YOU CALM DOWN!!! I'm joking, but man its really hard to keep writing new hours of strong material, especially at the pace people want to see new material.

My process:

I just jot ideas in a notebook and start working them out in small shows that I drop in unannounced to in NYC and LA. I'll record and listen to the sets, make changes based on what works, try to improvise, discuss the topics with the audience, etc. It takes months and months of writing and refining, then eventually you have an hour to tour. It's very challenging, but rewarding.

Hi Aziz!

Here's your "Welcome to IAMA lase!" Click me




what is your favorite movie?

Terminator 2 or Die Hard or Before Sunset

Not kidding.

When I saw you perform in New Jersey in the past year, you performed a completely different set of material than I had recently downloaded from your site.

How often do you come up with new material for your live shows?

It just depends on how much time I have to write a new hour in between acting commitments. I would never do a big tour liked Buried Alive without having new material that I'm super confident in. Did you like Buried Alive? That's my favorite hour I've done.

My favorite tour yet, saw you in Denver. Your new tour includes multiple times throughout the show where you ask the audience to tell a story about a specific topic and you engage a person in conversation for about a minute. How did you conceive of this idea? How have you reacted when an audience member tells you a really mundane story or if they do/say something and you don’t know how to react to it?

I just started talking to people in clubs about marriage, how they met, online dating, etc. when I was writing the material. I quickly realized it'd be great to make it a part of the show. I didn't know if it'd work in theatres without video screens or whatever, but its been great. It's always just fascinating. I've gotten good at dealing with whatever details people give me, I haven't had a problem so far.

My favorite was in New Orleans a dude said he proposed by putting the ring around a puppy on Christmas morning. The audience and I went NUTS. A lil pup running up to a lady with a ring around its neck?? Then he said it was a "stuffed puppy" and all hope in the world was lost.

Hey, where was your first gig as a stand up comic? Also, how old were you when you first started doing what you do best? Thanks for doing the AMA.

Comedy Cellar in New York in the summer of 2001. I was 19. I still drop in the Cellar a lot to work on new material, its my favorite comedy club.

How much of what your character says on Parks and Rec is written by you?

We improvise things that make it in occasionally, but most of what you see is scripted.

Hi Aziz,

Parks and Rec is one of my favourite shows, but since I live in the UK, I'm having to torrent it. Whenever I'm in the US, I try and watch it on NBC, or Netflix, or Hulu though. Should I feel shitty that I'm doing this? How else can I support the show?

HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME!!!!! MY UK RESIDUAL CHECKS!!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I'm kidding. I don't really care. I think its great for people to just see and enjoy the show. Maybe all these companies can catch up and realize they should come up with a way for people in the UK and other parts of the world to watch shows as they come out legally. I firmly believe that people steal/download/etc because the legal methods are usually not as good, convenient, or fairly priced. Thanks for watching our show.

What type of Mac and cheese do you prefer? Standard elbow noodles or shapes?

My favorite mac and cheese is that mac they serve at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, MI. SO DAMN GOOD.

What's your favorite restaurant in Boston?

Gourmet Dumpling House. Get the pork soup dumplings and the szechuan sliced fish. I think about the fish like once a week. Oh my.

Will we actually get a straight to DVD Hitch spinoff? This is not a joke...

I wonder what would happen if I honestly pitched doing a direct to DVD sequel to Hitch or Jingle All the Way. Could I film it? That would be kind of amazing. Who should star in Jingle All the Way 2 with me?

Hey Aziz, what is it like to work with Chris Pratt on Parks and Rec?

i watched the latest blooper reel pretty recently, and Chris had me pissing my pants with what seemingly sounded like him going off script and improving his lines.

I say this about everyone but seriously, Chris is the sweetest, funniest guy. He always also never uses a spit bucket. When you do scenes where a character is eating, you eat and then spit it out into a "spit bucket." Chris just keeps eating. If you see Andy eating a cheeseburger in a scene, you should know Chris Pratt ate like 8 cheeseburgers.

I love that guy and everyone on Parks. Cannot over state this!*

*Does not include Jerry

Hey Aziz, whats your all time favorite scene from parks and rec and why?

Ron eating bacon at the strip club

Your brother, Aniz, is hilarious on twitter. Has he always been the funnier Ansari?

Aniz makes me laugh harder than almost anyone. He and I are very close.

Aniz makes me laugh harder than almost anyone. He and I are very close.

@SouthCackNeez is his twitter name fyi

What is your favorite joke that you tell? Do you write all of your own jokes?

Edit: Thanks for answering my question man. It means a lot to get a reply from a living legend.

I write all my own jokes. From my new Buried Alive tour, I like this joke I do about Black Dudes and Magicians and also this joke I do about this guy meeting his future wife randomly in a Bed Bath and Beyond parking lot. It was a topic I've been trying to figure out for years, but just now nailed down. I know that doesn't necessarily sound funny, but I don't want to type out my jokes, would rather you see them live or on video.

Will you, at any point this season, work "Your Duncan Hines is irrelevant" into Tom's lines?

Oh man. Seriously, I'm gonna try to work that in tomorrow. Thanks for reminding me.

What are your thoughts on the movie Rampart?

Come on man, there hasn't been a new AMA controversy you can reference? That shit been coming up since Aziz AMA #1. Hahha

When are they going to ask you to host SNL?

I don't know! I would love to do it.

When is Jean Ralphio going to make a return? The scenes With him and Tom are straight deloicious

Yep. Filmed some ridiculous stuff with Jean Ralphio yesterday.

Are you a lot like Tom?

We both like clothes and hip hop, but the similarities kind of end there. Also we are both Indian men with beards.

Get. Get. Get that Pay-PUH!!



What's Neil Patrick Harris like in real life?

We've only met a few times, but we both are really into food, Sleep No More (amazing show in NYC), and magic. He's a really nice guy.

Will we get another episode about annual "treat yo' self" day?

I hope so!!

How has your rapid success and fame impacted your life the most?

I get free shoes

Did you know your Bacon Number is 2?


Has 50 Cent ever talked to you about your "Grapefruit" story?

No! Have not run into him anywhere. Hopefully he thinks its funny?

[No question]

Whoa. I lost track of time. I gotta leave shortly, but thanks for all your questions. These are always a lot of fun.

Was the online $5 show a success enough that you are going to put all of them out that way from now on?

Yes, I believe so. It is/was awesome. It'll always be part of the release in some part. Still deciding how exactly I want to release Buried Alive.


No, to make those digital releases work you need to have an established following. Louis and I both tour in theatres, so we confidently know thousands of people in large cities will pay to see us perform, so we can be pretty sure a lot of people will pay $5 to download a special and we can recoup our costs. If you are young and starting out, who cares about making money on your special? Just get your material out there and get people to realize you're funny. I didn't make any real money off Intimate Moments, but a shit ton of people watched clips on YouTube and then watched me when I came to tour Dangerously Delicious and now Buried Alive. This whole $5 thing is great, but young comics shouldn't be out there plotting how to make a shit ton of money from a special. That's the wrong game to play.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Aziz Ansari conducted on Reddit on 2012-09-20. The Reddit AMA can be found here.