Aziz Ansari is making his return to the televised comedy scene this week with the release of his fifth stand up special, Aziz Ansari Right Now. The one-hour event dropped today and on Monday, Netflix released a full-length clip from the show where Aziz touches on the new uptick of diverse representation in media, the popularity of Crazy Rich Asians and how white people are really trying their best not to offend anyone.
“Interesting times for white people,” he opens. “I’ve been observing you. I see what’s going on; you’re trying really hard to be nice to minorities in a way I’ve never seen before—putting in the time, putting in the effort, getting out there, watching Crazy Rich Asians.”
He goes on to poke fun at a woman in the audience who says she liked the film but would give it a score of 85 per cent rather than the 97 it had on Rotten Tomatoes at the time (it’s now down to—gasp—91 per cent). Aziz adds good-naturedly that it doesn’t matter whether people like the movie, “it’s just fun to make white people feel bad.”
He finishes the bit by explaining that people are also “getting weird” about the whole thing and relaying a story that was told to him by someone who didn’t like the film originally, but later changed their mind because they saw how much it meant to their Asian friend to be represented on screen. Aziz illustrated the ridiculousness of that assessment by comparing it to the 2009 Kevin James comedy, Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
“Could you imagine if I watched Paul Blart: Mall Cop and I didn’t really like it and then I watched it again with one of my chubby white friends—really changed my perspective,” he quipped.
Aziz Ansari Right Now is the comedian’s second special to air exclusively on Netflix after his 2015 special Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden. The new show was directed by Spike Jonze (you know, the Academy Award-winning director of Her, Where the Wild Things Are and Being John Malkovich) and was filmed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York as part of Ansari’s Road to Nowhere tour. It was nearly sold out completely and travelled across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Oceania.
Addressing Me Too
The kickoff of the Road to Nowhere tour in February marked Ansari’s return to the public eye after he was accused of sexual misconduct by an unnamed Brooklyn-based photographer in January 2018. The comedian spent a year out of the spotlight after the backlash unfolded and he discusses the Me Too Movement and the allegations against him in the new special.
“I’m sure that some of you are curious how I feel about that whole situation. It’s a tricky thing for me to answer, cause I’ve felt so many things in the last year or so,” he says. “There’s times I’ve felt scared. There’s times I’ve felt humiliated. There’s times I’ve felt embarrassed. And ultimately, I just felt terrible that this person felt this way.”
He added that the calling-out caused him to reevaluate the way he approaches and interprets certain interactions and says that he’s grateful his experience has encouraged others to also be more thoughtful in how they date and communicate.
“I hope I’ve become a better person, and I always think about a conversation I had with one of my friends,” he continues. “He was like, ‘You know what man? That whole thing made me think of every date I’ve ever been on.’ And I thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty incredible—it’s made not just me, but other people be more thoughtful and that’s a good thing.'”