» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

October 5, 2006
If you've ever watched a video on YouTube.com or are an indie rock fan, chances are that you've probably witnessed the work of Aziz Ansari. A young Indian comedian from New York by way of South Carolina, Ansari has garnered some interest recently through his work with video comedy team Human Giant, and his star has been rising on the gusts of recent press from the likes of Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Variety, and TimeOut New York.

In the past, Ansari has appeared on VH1's "Best Week Ever," Comedy Central's "Premium Blend," and has been performing his standup routine in clubs across the United States alongside well known "indie" comics like David Cross and Todd Barry.

Without further Wikipedia-esque bullshit ado, 15 Minutes with Aziz Ansari.

How did you come up with the idea to make the Pitchfork/Tapes 'n Tapes video? What has been the general reception as far as you can tell?

XL, Tapes 'n Tapes record label, approached my director Jason and I about doing a funny short about Tapes 'n Tapes. They said we could do anything we wanted. Jason and I knew a big criticism of Tapes 'n Tapes was that they were blogger darlings, so we just came up with the idea that the reason they were blogger darlings was something sinister. We eventually came up with the Clell character and wrote up the beats we wanted to hit.

The reception as far as I can tell has been great. We were very surprised that it became so popular on YouTube, considering its so indie rock, but I guess violence and yelling at people is kind of universal.

Who or what inspires you to do the comedy that you do?

My standup is really just inspired by whatever is going on in my life and trying to vent whatever thoughts, ideas, and frustrations are occupying my head. For the shorts, it's really just what makes the rest of the group laugh and trying to push ourselves to have original ideas.

I'm really inspired by these comedians right now: Daniel Kitson, Dave Chappelle, Todd Barry, David Cross, and Andy Blitz. I'm generally inspired by most of the great comics I get to work with/see perform in NY and LA. For the shorts, it's way harder than standup sometimes, but the guys in Human Giant [a comedy team Ansari is part of with Jason Woliner, Rob Huebel, and Paul Scheer] are unbelievably talented and fun to work with, so it's more collaborative.

How did it come about that you became associated with the "indie" scene?

As far as comedy, I guess I just kind of gravitated towards the comics that performed in that scene and I wanted to perform with them at the venues they performed at. It just seemed like a better vibe for me than the whole cover charge/2 drink minimum scene. With indie rock, I listen to a lot of music and as that came through in my act I guess more people in that world heard about me.
I perform a lot with many of the comics that are already somewhat associated with the indie scene like Todd Barry, Eugene Mirman, and David Cross. My standup sometimes has referenced the fact that I have listened to indie music, such as the MIA bit. I made this video about this indie music record store called Other Music for this awards show I hosted and that got passed around amongst the indie rock set too.

Do you think being Indian makes a difference in the way people receive you and your jokes?

I dunno, I think sometimes people expect me to do ethnic humor or be ready to do an Indian accent for a part. This is true - I auditioned for a part in the Michael Bay "Transformers" movie, and, I did it because the idea of goofball Aziz on the set of "Transformers" is hilarious to me. I improvised all this stuff and Bay supposedly liked it, but wanted me to come in for a different role where I'd have a thick Indian accent. I was like, "Really? So you want me to come in and audition as a caricature of my ethnicity?" I turned him down, it was pretty cool. All my buddies thought it was a badass move to turn Michael Bay down. But, I'm sure he couldn't care less.

Who's the funniest person alive? Dead?

I think Jon Glaser is the funniest person alive. He's a former writer on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and performs around New York occasionally. Jason - the director I work with - and I consider him our hero.

If you could pick, what's the best band in the world right now?

As cliched an answer, I guess I'd have to say Radiohead. They are just so f'n unreal live. It's hard to believe they are just 5 dudes, and they produce this incredible, unparalleled sound on stage.

Do you sometimes wish you were up on stage playing music instead of telling jokes?

Ha, well I used to be real into playing guitar and of course the thought crossed my mind. I'm better at telling jokes, though.

What are your plans for the future?

I am very, very excited by the current TV and film projects I'm working on with Human Giant. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to get into the details, but hopefully it'll be announced soon. I'll be back in New York in October and will be doing Crash Test, my weekly show at the UCB [Upright Citizens Brigade] Theatre.

SEE ALSO: www.azizisbored.com
SEE ALSO: www.thehumangiant.com

Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other articles by Josh Zanger.



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