Aziz Ansari at Riverside Theater
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Few comedians, if any, are riding higher than Aziz Ansari is right now. The Parks And Recreation regular has seen his film credits and commercial offers grow, as the success of his new, self-released downloadable special, Dangerously Delicious, has also seen his PayPal balance quickly increase in $5 increments. With such a recent and rapid ascent, Ansari could’ve just recycled bits about his cousin Harris, R. Kelly, and RAAAAAAAANDY!!! en route to an effortless-yet-crowd-pleasing evening of greatest hits. Instead, he treated a sellout early-show audience at the Riverside Theater to a Friday night of boisterous, crass, and never-before-recorded comedy.
Following a great set, complete with a hilarious origin story myth of milk (or “boob-dick juice”), by opener Joe Mande, a suit-clad Ansari bounded out to Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” After staging fake, mid-joke photo ops to discourage future camera use (the only part taken from Dangerously Delicious), the 29-year-old Ansari launched into a diatribe against birth announcement e-mails and videos of first steps. Looking back on his own childhood as a self-described cute kid, Ansari brazenly pondered the lack of abuse in his own childhood.
“I should’ve been getting molested all the time as a kid,” he said with feigned conviction. “Not even once! For child molesters, I must’ve been like the hot chick at the bar. They’d see me and be like, ‘That’s Aziz we’re talking about. He could fuck any grown man he wants!’”
He took the edge off with a string of bits regarding Internet dating and a thorough dissection of marriage, including the concept of proposals. Expecting to hear an Applebee’s proposal tale, Ansari bolted offstage in disbelief when an audience member said he’d asked for his wife’s hand in a gazebo off the coast of Honolulu. Returning to the spotlight, Ansari said, “We’re going to need security to escort this man out... because every girl in here is about to suck his dick.”
Though the jokes were new, much of the set touched on expected topics of modern technology, such as iPhone’s gay hookup app called Grindr (“Why do gay people care so much about getting married? They created Grindr. They beat the system!”) and the modern male’s affinity for texting penis pictures to women instead of courting them.
Of course, there were a few less-anticipated turns in Ansari’s performance. He railed against night-club music, backwards baseball hats, and button-down shirts before wishing we’d all treat one another with the reverence with which black people treat magicians.
Still, Ansari came back to his wheelhouse of unashamed physical comedy, singing, and chasing dropped names (President Obama, The Roots, Seal) with sidesplitting insider anecdotes before putting the brakes on an hour-long tour of one of modern comedy’s most promising young minds.