Prior to his two shows Saturday night (March 5) in Atlantic City, the actor-comic talks about his microwave fast rise to stardom as well as his TV role in the hit sitcom 'Parks and Recreation.'
Aziz Ansari’s rise in the world of comedy has been microwave fast.
Just five years after graduating from New York University with a marketing degree, Ansari co-stars in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, and has a three-picture deal with Hollywood comic genius Judd Apatow (Funny People, Knocked Up). The host of the 2010 MTV Movie awards will perform two shows (8pm & 11pm) Saturday, March 5, at the Borgata Music Box.
Ansari, 27, talks about his rapid rise to fame, why he is intimidated by Jaden Smith and why he would rather be part of Parks and Recreation than The Mentalist.
Your next film, 30 minutes or Less, sounds about how long it took you to launch your career.
[Laughs] It might be five years since I left school but I’ve been doing stand-up for 10 years. I was going to school, but I did it on the side since I enjoyed it. I’ve been doing this longer than people think, but I have been very serious about this for about five years.
What did your dad, a doctor, who was born in India, think of your career choice?
He was fine with it because there was never a moment in which I was dropping out of school to become a comic. My parents thought stand-up was a hobby for me, which in a way it was. I worked on stand-up like some people practice guitar. I was doing well right from when I got out of school.
Was there ever a possibility that you would go to Wall Street, like some of your classmates?
I went to business school, but I wasn’t cut out for that. The guys I went to school with wanted to become investment bankers or work at Goldman Sachs. That wasn’t for me, but my parents were fine with what I wanted to do since I was working in comedy from the time I was out of school.
You formed the comedy troupe Human Giant right out of school. Your bit on the guy who shoots the T-shirt gun at sporting events killed at South By Southwest three years ago.
I loved doing that. 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.
Why did you keep looking at Jackie Chan from the podium at the MTV movie awards?
It was just where I was looking. I would look either at Jaden Smith since he cracked up at everything or at Jackie Chan, who looked puzzled by everything I said. I was nice to Jaden Smith because I think he could have anyone killed. I didn’t want to offend him. He’s young but he’s a powerful guy.
"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."
“I became obsessed [with comedy],” she adds. ”What is a joke? What makes people laugh? What’s the persona? How do you develop a routine?”
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.
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