NBC star and hot comic brings latest ‘act’ to Borgata for four shows July 13-14
Aziz Ansari is currently in the midst of his third major U.S. tour. The comedian and actor has dubbed the tour “Buried Alive” because, he tells Atlantic City Weekly, “I wanted the poster to look like these old-timey magician posters. And I thought ‘Buried Alive.’ It sounds like the title of a magician show. It also kind of fits with the theme of the show.”
Over the past decade, Ansari, born in North Carolina and a 2004 graduate of New York University, has been far from buried from the spotlight. He has appeared in numerous films (Funny People; Get Him to the Greek; I Love You, Man) and even more television series, including Scrubs and Reno 911. Since 2009, he’s starred on the hit NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. Ansari performs his stand-up at the Borgata in Atlantic City, for four shows on Friday and Saturday, July 13 & 14. He recently spoke from a Chicago tour stop with Atlantic City Weekly.
Your character on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, Tom Haverford, was the first to be cast and you have received a plethora of accolades for the character, must feel pretty cool?
Yeah, I mean it’s such a blessing to be on that show. Everyone that works on it is so great and it’s a really sweet gig so I’m very happy to be able to do that show, for sure.
How close is your character to the real Aziz? Any characteristics you share?
We both like hip-hop music and suits, and then after that it’s kind of different people.
When will you start shooting the next season?
[We just finished the fourth season] and we’re going back in to start the fifth in August.
And that will premiere in the fall?
Yes, I believe so.
You’ve done a lot of film work, and have done your own video stuff. You appeared on several episodes of Scrubs. Did that kind of give you, as a young comic-actor, a taste of what is was like to do a sitcom and be on a prime time, big-time show? Is it what you imagined, prior to starting to work on these kinds of projects?
Doing that little arc on Scrubs was definitely a good prep for Parks and Rec because that was the first time I’d been on a sitcom-type show and it was a good kind of prep for Parks and Rec. I didn’t know what to imagine. I mean I had an idea of what it would be like, but it’s a much different thing than a sketch comedy show. Obviously. I’m very comfortable in that world.
Do the actors have input on the scripts and anything like that?
Yeah, occasionally. It’s pretty much what you see is scripted but we’ll improvise stuff on occasion, or if we have any ideas we’ll pitch them out or if we think like ‘Oh, maybe this line doesn’t work,’ then we’ll try something else and all that stuff.
You have an amazing cast working with you on Parks and Rec. Any funny stories from the set that stand out? Or jokes played on each other?
People always ask stuff like that and it’s not really a thing to like play pranks on people and stuff. Like I’ve never like walked in my trailer and a bucket of water fell on my head or something like that. It’s not a thing, so I’m gonna say no. No one does that.
But it must be fun to go to work with that cast?
Yeah, we all get along super well and whatever, but there are no stories like ‘Oh, and then Nick Offerman slashed everyone’s tires.’ Ya know? Like, this is not a thing. It’s just not like everyone’s pulling pranks and doing goofy stuff all the time. Like, we have fun and joke around, but it’s just like any other place where, you know, I’m sure you joke around with people at work and have all these jokes and things like that, but it’s not like you’re going around like throwing pies in people’s face.
What made you first step into the stand-up spotlight in 2001?
I was just in college and I just had like a few friends that were like, ‘Hey you should try to do stand-up,’ or whatever, and so I just did and I really enjoyed it so I kept doing it.
No hesitation or anxiety at all? You just felt totally comfortable up there for the first time?
I mean I was a little bit nervous, but you know, I did it and I was really comfortable on stage and my jokes weren’t formed or anything, but I felt like I could get better at it, so I just kept doing it.
During the spring of 2006, three months before Lucky Louie premiered on HBO, it was obvious that Louis C.K. was on his way to becoming the hardest working man in show business.
'I was at a [New York] Knicks game recently and saw a guy use a new T-shirt gun at that game. He was shooting about 20 shirts in the crowd in five seconds. It was crazy. Some celebrities are for stricter gun control laws. I’m for looser T-shirt gun control laws. I would love to drive around the city and just shoot T-shirts into the streets and see what people would do.'
Exclusive, long-term deals are pretty much a relic today. Although there are a handful of artists whose value to a casino is worth a multiple-play contract, the vast majority of showroom bookings are one-and-done one-night-stands.
A comprehensive listing of entertainment coming to the Atlantic City casinos, Boardwalk Hall and Bader Field.
Two years ago, the mere suggestion that she would simultaneously be executive producing network sitcoms — and starring in one of them — would have probably gotten a bigger laugh than any of Whitney Cummings’ stand-up material.
"When that piece of thing was falling out of the sky I said that I was going to try to go outside and try to get hit by that thing and try to commit suicide, but nobody would see it as a suicide though, so I was going to try to take advantage of it."
“This show is completely scripted. This show is meant to look more like a movie than a TV show. And my comedy is very different than Larry David’s comedy. We have different sensibilities.”
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With one Emmy and four nominations under his belt for comedy writing (Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Chris Rock Show), a strong and steady stand up career, plus the completion of the first season of his new sitcom on HBO, comedian Louis C.K. is feeling kinda "lucky." With both Lucky Louie and his stand up act, Louis C.K. brings us a raw look at family life, marriage and relationships in a way that is real, sometimes ugly, and always laugh-out-loud funny. I recently spoke with this writer, producer, stand-up comedian and actor about his road to success, his future plans, and his need for a little free time. Dave Peña: Congratulations on the first season of Lucky Louie on HBO. What has the show done for your career? Louis C.K.: Well, it's definitely noticeable in the clubs. When I go out to do stand-up I pretty much sell out every show, and people recognize me in the street and stuff, so it's fun. If it stays on TV it'll be even better. DP: Are you planning to produce more episodes? LCK: We're hoping so. They hired us to write eight more scripts, but they haven't pulled the...
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