Aziz Ansari is an American actor and comedian. He stars as Tom Haverford on the NBC show Parks and Recreation. Ansari began his career performing standup comedy in New York City during the summer of 2000 while attending New York University. In 2007, he created and starred in the critically acclaimed MTV sketch comedy show Human Giant, which ran for two seasons. This led to acting roles in feature films, including Funny People, I Love You, Man, Observe and Report, and 30 Minutes or Less. In addition to his acting work, Ansari has continued to work as a standup comedian. He released his debut CD/DVD, entitled Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening, in January 2010 on Comedy Central Records, and still tours nationally between acting commitments. In 2010 and 2011, he performed his Dangerously Delicious tour. This tour was self-released for download on his website in March 2012 and debuted on Comedy Central in May 2012. He completed his third major tour of new material, Buried Alive, in the summer of 2013.
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Hey everybody, Aziz Ansari here for my reddit AMA.
I've just put out a book called Modern Romance, it's essentially a big research project that studies love and how technology and modern times have affected the way we all interact. The whole thing was more than a year and a half a research, and big part of that study was through the subreddit we made called /r/modernromantics. I wanted to do this AMA as a thank you and as a follow up to all of the people who participated in the /modernromantics subreddit for the book.
Anyways, if this sounds interesting to you, you should check out the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Romance-Aziz-Ansari/dp/1594206279 or http://book.azizansari.com. AMA!
BYE: Thanks so much for your questions. I'm very sorry we started late. I'm filming something and the shoot ran late. Maybe I can do another one soon since I bungled up the timing today. Hope you enjoy Modern Romance and get a chance to check out.
Can you give us an update on Harris? Also, what new music are you into?
I just texted him. He said he's watching Bloodline and to leave him alone.
Since Chris Pratt is now a super hero, what super hero do you want to play?
I want to play Bishop in the X-Men. I just love how frustrated he gets in the Fox X-Men Animated Series when he ends up in the wrong time.
I thought your dad only made "shit" movies?
Damn that's a DEEP reference! I barely remember that bit, what was that on??
What are you most excited about with your new Netflix show?
My dad plays my dad and he's pretty amazing.
If a building with Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt and Lil Sebastian was burning down and you only had time to save one of them, which one would you save?
Easy. I'd go in to try to save them all but realize I couldn't, and then Lil Sebastian would save us all.
Chris Pratt could play Cable and you guys could have a good Time Off.
DUDE LET'S DUDE THIS. ARE YOU DIRECTING X-MEN MOVIES BY CHANCE?
Ok, here we go:
Adam Scott as Gambit...
Nick Offerman as Wolverine....
Retta as Storm...
I'll let you guys take the rest.
Hey Aziz, what's the most disgusting thing you can catch a new roommate doing?
What's crazy is this is a joke of mine you're quoting and I forgot the answer.
This happens a lot. Sometimes people say random things to me on the street, that are kind of obscure Aziz references, and I have no idea why they said it.
Stranger: "Hey off to go sell baby tuxedos?"
Stranger: "I said, are you off to go sell baby tuxedos!?"
Stranger: "Dude you said that in Parks and Rec."
Me: "Oh shit, I'm sorry. I forgot."
Stranger walks off confused and disappointed.
What was the craziest thing that has ever happened during a stand-up performance of yours?
One time at some old theatre somewhere I was holding a dude's phone to read his text messages and it slipped from my hand and fell through a crack in the floor and went into some deep, deep basement and broke. (I bought him a new phone).
I saw you live in Chicago and you read a girl's texts about a guy trying to hook up with her and it was hilarious. What was the most absurd texts someone had when they came up to show you during the show?
That one was pretty amazing. Is that the "texty" introduce yourself person? Cause that's in the book. If someone has the book, post the pic of that page up, that one is pretty ridiculous.
Hi Aziz, favorite story from the set of Parks and Rec?
One time we had Panera Bread Co for lunch and I was curious why of all the places someone chose Panera. It was Jim O'Heir aka Jerry. He kept begging for Panera even though the rest of the cast did not want it. They got the Panera for him. He ended up wrapping early that day and didn't get to eat it.
I saw on Twitter that you're wrapping up filming your netflix show. Is that a comedy special or a sitcom? What are its themes?
New TV series. 10 eps. You'll dig it.
Hi Aziz, what would you change about the modern dating routine?
Less time in front of screens, more time in front of people.
Just finished Modern Romance--fantastic, eye opening read!
You talk a lot about texting and “the game.” I am definitely one of those game players who “does not play the game.” Your book made me take a step back. One of the “options” in my phone texted me back 20 minutes after I texted him, so I waited 30. Then he waited 2 hours, so I waited 3. THEN HE WAITED A DAY. He just texted me back. AFTER A DAY. I DON’T WANNA LIVE MY LIFE LIKE THIS, AZIZ. (note: I actually like this guy...I think)
So my actual question: when do we decide when it’s game playing vs. he’s just not that into you?
I have been thinking a lot about the Japanese men, and how a common complaint amongst me and my fellow NYC 20-something single ladies is that men want us all to sit around stroking their egos. I don’t need my ego to be stroked, but when I like someone I don’t want to have to question whether or not they like me. Maybe this is a companionate love vs. passionate love thing. What do you make of all this? Will you be my therapist? Your book changed my life.
PS-I live in NYC but i’m from Monroe, NY(ish). Holla!!!
Well, one thing I wanted to do with this book was not make it a "how to get laid" book for guys or a "this how you lock a man down" book for women. It's really trying to go for more of an attitude of - this is what EVERYONE is sort of dealing with. As far as how to decide when it's game playing or not, I feel at a certain extent you just call it a loss and move on OR do that thing I know some people do where they just try to be honest and find out what's really going on. Side note: I'm going to eat pizza later and I can't wait to eat it.
First off, got through two chapters of your book so far! Loving the content and the narrative voice you use.
My Questions: Sometimes when I see the cover of Modern Romance, it has a slight pink tint to it. Other times, I see white. What color is it Aziz?!
Slight pink tint.
Aziz, if I'm planning a romantic evening with a lady, what is an absolutely essential song to put on a slow-jam playlist?
Mario - Let Me Love You
What was the most interesting story/person you came across when researching for your book?
Talking to the women in the retirement homes was really interesting. A lot of them talked about living at home with their parents when they were 20 and having no options as far as their lifestyle. They couldn't go to college, have their own careers, etc. So they basically said they got married to get out of the house and have basic adult freedoms. It made me think about how lucky all of us are to now have the "emerging adulthood" phase where you basically just have a chunk of time to dick around and have fun as an adult and not live at home. That kind of independence was something a lot of these women yearned for and didn't get.
Aziz! I met my girlfriend using an online dating service. I still get embarrassed when I tell people how we met. I need a super-cool funny response for when people ask how I met my girlfriend. Can you hook me up??
This is in the book man! Check it:
Hey Aziz, I saw you do standup in Nashville and it was hilarious! One of the best parts was you reading texts from peoples phones, what's one of the best conversations you've read while doing those?
Once this girl had a convo that had her really booty calling a dude late night saying all this sexual stuff, but her icon was Channing Tatum, so it made it really hilarious to see on her phone. It looked like Channing Tatum was texting and saying "When are you going to come over and feel my titties."
Hey Aziz, huge fan! (Like everyone else here I guess)
Thanks for all the laughs you've given, you've truly helped me and many others through some less than stellar times.
What in your opinion is the most underrated thing you've done? Or what is something you've done that you feel deserves a bigger spotlight? Any regrets?
Some white kid from Michigan.
Thank you for your kind words. As far as underrated, etc. I try not to get into that mindset, it just leads you to coming off bitter and grumpy. I try to make new things that people will get excited about, right now it'd be the Netflix show i'm working on, which I think might my favorite thing I've worked on.
Some brown guy from South Carolina
I'm a huge fan. 2 questions. Whats it like working with Chris Pratt?
In your standup you sometimes you act like Tom, my question is how much did you effect the creation of that character
Pratt is just as awesome as you'd hope. As far as my input into Tom, they took elements of all our real personalities and amped em up on Parks. Nick Offerman really does woodwork. I do like suits, silly rap music, etc. That said everyone is "different" from their characters of course.
Hey, Aziz, I'm a huge fan of your work and thanks for doing this AMA! What is your favorite "job"? Do you prefer live movies and TV, voice acting, stand-up, or book writing?
This new Netflix show I'm working on has been a dream. I've never written and directed and acted in something. It's hard but it's also so rewarding and great for telling really personal stories and ideas.
The other job I'd like is "pasta opinion coordinator," this is where I eat pasta and share my opinions on it with whoever I'm around.
Hey Aziz, I love you stand up as well as Parks and Rec but I have to assume that all of the questions about the show will be taken here so mine is about something else: Harris. How's your cousin, man? Haven't heard much of him in your newer stuff.
Also, if you could speak about this video, I'd be interested to know some background on said dubsmash. Are you a fan of That's So Raven?
Anyways, enjoy your day and thanks for the AMA
Harris is good, much older now. He's also JACKED. He got really into the Indian dude gym scene (this is a thing for real).
I became really familiar with the That's So Raven theme song because of my friend Fabrice Fabrice who'd always use it as his intro music when we did shows.
Hey Aziz I don’t think I’m unique in my experience but I just wanted to let you know that Parks and Rec really helped get me though a tough time in my life so thank you for that.
as for an actual question is doing Bob’s Burgers as much fun as it seems? They really squeeze the whininess out of you for Daryl. Also please come to Hawaii. Well, and hopefully do a show, you could also just come to chill out I guess.
That's great to hear. I'm glad you enjoyed Parks. We loved making it. And yes, Bob's Burgers is fun. I've known Jon Benjamin, Schaal, Eugene, etc. for a long time so it's fun working with them. And the team at Bob's are so kind to Darryl and give me great stuff to work with. I was so psyched when we did that T2 homage.
Some of my favorite moments in P&R involve Ron Swanson carrying you out of harms way in his arms. What is it like to be cradled in Nick Offerman's arms? What does he smell like?
Also, in your post about your friend Harris Wittels you mentioned he sent an email in reply to sexual harassment seminars. What was the reaction to that email?
Thanks. I'm a big fan. I'm sorry if the second question is insensitive, I'm sorry for your loss.
For some reason, Nick carrying me was a fun go to. I miss him and being in his arms very much. If you're into that, in my new show, Eric Wareheim (Arnold) lifts me up a lot.
The reaction to the Harris email was everyone thought it was funny and a few people had to sit him down and have a chat with him, but they thought it was funny too.
It's all good. I miss Harris a lot.
Aziz, I'm trying to convince a coworker to try online dating, but he's wary that the city we live in (midwestern college town) is "too small" for online dating. What's the best counterargument for this?
Just turn on the sites/app and you'll probably see a shit ton of people or you won't. Either way - argument over.
Hello Aziz! Thank you so much for hosting this AMA! I loved your character in Parks and Rec and I’m a huge fan of the show! I have to thank you so much for increasing positive visibility for Indians and other POC. That being said, did you have any improved lines on Parks and Rec? Also, what is your fast food?
Most of what's on Parks is written but occasionally we improvised stuff. I improvised some of the stuff in that chicky chicky parm parm run. Some of Tom's business ideas maybe? Jean Ralphio and I improvised stuff too. What is my fast food? I own Long John Silver's.
Hey Aziz. You seem pretty busy lately with the book press and the new netflix show. Do you plan on doing another a stand up tour in the future? BTW I saw you when you did a random appearance at the Comedy Cellar in NYC. I really dig your evolution as a comedian and an entertainer. Keep it up man.
Thanks so much! I want to work on standup again after I finish editing the show. It's also helpful for coming up with storylines for the show so definitely will continue the standup.
Waffles or pancakes?
Hey, Aziz. Want to go to a wedding in September where you would know absolutely nobody and like 2/5ths of the people there would be like "Aw shit! Thats 'Aziz' or 'That indian guy from Parks and Rec' and you would probably be uncomfortable but get free food?
Nah, that's okay. Plus, wedding food is usually bad. This is a bad offer on many levels.
2 of my friends went to school with you in Bennettsville, SC. i'm also from nearby in Florence. they said you were really quiet haha
what was the craziest thing that ever happened to you during high school?
I am pretty quiet!
This was elementary school, but once I fell from a swing when I was a little kid cause some bigger kid named Forrest was pushing me too hard. He had me going way too high and the chains got loose and I fell, and I landed on my head really hard. Forrest came up and said, "Are you okay?" and I said, "WHAT DO YOU THINK ASSHOLE?" But it wasn't Forrest, it was a nice teacher named Mrs. O'Tuel. Cause I was a kid, I was dumb, and never even cleared that up with her. Oh well.
How's lil sebastian doing? Have you seen him lately?
Oh my. I have bad news. You may want to sit down and just listen to this song friend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-PUW6y4F6c
Who's your favorite Wrestler of all time? Why?
He's not my favorite but my brother is super into wrestling and a lot of times I get bored and just randomly send him photos of GLACIER from the WCW.
Cake or pie?
Pasta or pasta? Be honest