Aziz Ansari

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Aziz Ansari

Ansari at the 2012 Time 100 gala
Born(1983-02-23) February 23, 1983 (age 29)
Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.
MediumStand-up, television, film
Years active2004–present
GenresObservational comedy, improvisational comedy
Subject(s)Everyday life, self-deprecation, American culture, pop culture
InfluencesMitch Hedberg
Notable works and rolesRandy Springs in Funny People
Various in Human Giant
Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation
Host of the 2010 MTV Movie Awards
Chet in 30 Minutes or Less
WebsiteAzizIsBored.com
 
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Aziz Ansari

Ansari at the 2012 Time 100 gala
Born(1983-02-23) February 23, 1983 (age 29)
Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.
MediumStand-up, television, film
Years active2004–present
GenresObservational comedy, improvisational comedy
Subject(s)Everyday life, self-deprecation, American culture, pop culture
InfluencesMitch Hedberg
Notable works and rolesRandy Springs in Funny People
Various in Human Giant
Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation
Host of the 2010 MTV Movie Awards
Chet in 30 Minutes or Less
WebsiteAzizIsBored.com

Aziz Ansari (born February 23, 1983) is an American actor, writer, and stand-up 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 2001 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 of 2012 and debuted on Comedy Central in May of 2012. He is currently performing his third major tour of new material titled, Buried Alive.

Contents

Early life

Aziz Ansari was born in Columbia, South Carolina to immigrants from Tamil Nadu in southern India.[1][2][3] His mother, Fatima, works in a medical office, and his father, Shoukath, is a gastroenterologist.[4] Ansari grew up in Bennettsville, South Carolina,[5] where he attended Marlboro Academy as well as the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics.[6] He graduated from New York University with a major in marketing.[1] Ansari has described himself as being an atheist.[7]

Career

Early career

He frequently performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, as well as weekly shows such as Invite Them Up. In 2005, Rolling Stone included him in their annual "Hot List" as their choice for the "Hot Standup",[8] and he won the Jury Award for "Best Standup" at HBO's 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado.[9][10]

Human Giant

From left to right, Human Giant's Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel, Jason Woliner and Paul Scheer in May 2007

Around the summer of 2005, Ansari began collaborating with fellow comedians Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer (both of the famed improv troupe Respecto Montalban), as well as director Jason Woliner to make short films. The first series created by the group was Shutterbugs, which followed Huebel and Ansari as cutthroat child talent agents. This was followed up by the Illusionators, which starred Ansari and Scheer as Criss Angel–style goth magicians. In mid-2006, MTV greenlit a sketch series from the group which debuted April 5, 2007. The critically acclaimed show completed two seasons. The group was offered a third season, but opted to pass in order to pursue other opportunities.

Parks and Recreation

In June 2008, Ansari was announced as the first cast hire for NBC's new comedy from producers of The Office.[11] The show, Parks and Recreation, debuted in April 2009 with Ansari portraying government employee Tom Haverford. Ansari's performance has received notable praise from critics, including Entertainment Weekly naming him one of 2009's "Breakout TV Stars", TV Guide naming him a "Scene Stealer" and Yahoo! TV placing him in the number one spot on their list of "TV MVPS".[12]

MTV Movie Awards

On June 6, 2010, Ansari hosted the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. The show opened with a spoof of the film Precious with Ansari appearing as Aziz "Precious" Ansari. Ansari also created the short film Stunt Kidz which reunited him with his Human Giant castmates. A second short film was also made with actor Zach Galifianakis in which Ansari portrayed Taavon, Galfianakis' "swagger coach". He accepted Galifianakis' award for Best Comedic Performance in character as Taavon. Ansari also performed a musical tribute to the film Avatar in the style of singer R. Kelly.

Other notable television work

Aziz Ansari at the 71st Annual Peabody Awards Luncheon 2012

In addition to his work on Parks and Recreation, Ansari appeared on the HBO series Flight of the Conchords[11] as a xenophobic fruit vendor who had difficulty telling the difference between Australians and New Zealanders. He had a recurring role in season eight of the ABC sitcom Scrubs as Ed, a new intern to the hospital. Ansari's character was written off the show to allow him to film Parks and Recreation.

In August 2011, Ansari made a cameo appearance in the music video for "Otis" by Jay-Z and Kanye West from their collaborated album, Watch the Throne (2011).

Film career

Ansari has made appearances in several films, including Get Him to the Greek, I Love You, Man, and Observe and Report. In the summer of 2009, Ansari appeared in the Judd Apatow film Funny People with Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen. Apatow liked Ansari's character, "Randy", and commissioned him and Human Giant collaborator Jason Woliner to create online shorts centered around his character, to promote the film. These shorts proved successful and the character became the subject of one of the film ideas Ansari and Woliner are currently developing for Apatow Productions. Two other ideas in development are Let's Do This, a road movie about two motivational speakers, and an untitled film about two disgraced astronauts who must return to space to clear their names.[13] Ansari is also attached to star in another film with Danny McBride based on an idea from Ansari and 30 Rock writer Matt Hubbard. Parks and Recreation writer Harris Wittels is currently scripting the project.[14] In April 2010, it was announced that Ansari would star in the film 30 Minutes or Less. The film was directed by Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and co-starred Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride. The film was released on August 12, 2011.

Stand-up comedy

Ansari in September 2008

Even amongst various acting commitments, Ansari has continued performing and touring as a standup comedian. In 2006 and 2007, he toured with the Comedians of Comedy and Flight of the Conchords. In the fall of 2008 and early 2009, Ansari headlined his own comedy tour, the Glow in the Dark Tour. The material on this tour became the basis for a DVD/CD special for Comedy Central. The set, titled Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening, aired January 17, 2010, with a CD/LP/DVD release on January 19.[15]

In June 2010, Ansari began a new tour, Dangerously Delicious, which was in theaters across the US; stops included the Bonnaroo Music Festival and Carnegie Hall in New York City. The tour wrapped with a filming for a special at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC in June 2011. This special was released on his website in March of 2012 for download or stream. In March 2012, Ansari announced a new tour, Buried Alive, with dates for spring and summer 2012.[16]

Ansari's comedy style has always shied away from ethnic humor and more focused on aspects of his personal life. "I like talking about things that are going on in my life, because that's always going to be different and original," he says. "No one else is gonna be talking about my personal experiences."[17]

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
2006School for ScoundrelsClassmate
2008The RockerAziz
2009Funny PeopleRandy Springs
Observe and ReportSaddamn
I Love You, ManEugene
2010Get Him to the GreekMatty Briggs
201130 Minutes or LessChet
What's Your Number?JayVoice only
2012Ice Age: Continental DriftSquintVoice only
2012Cruel SummerShort
2013EpicMubFilming; voice only
End of the WorldHimselfFilming

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
2007Flight of the ConchordsSinjayEpisode "Drive By"
Human GiantCast MemberWriter, co-creator (2007–2008)
2008Worst WeekMorgue Employee
2009Reno 911!Insurance Representative(3 episodes)
ScrubsEd Dhandapani(4 episodes)
Parks and RecreationTom HaverfordMain cast (2009–present)
2012Bob's BurgersDRL(1 episode)

Music videos

YearArtistSongRole
2011Jay-Z and Kanye West"Otis"Himself

Discography

References

  1. ^ a b Itzkoff, Dave. "Feeding the Comedy Beast Without Serving Leftovers", The New York Times, 3 June 2010.
  2. ^ "Aziz Ansari Biography". AskMen.com. http://www.askmen.com/celebs/men/entertainment/aziz-ansari/#famous. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ "I could do a Tamil film: Aziz Ansari". The Times Of India. September 18, 2011. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-09-18/news-interviews/30171706_1_tamil-film-tamil-nadu-indian-films. 
  4. ^ Gamerman, Ellen (March 27, 2009). "The Rise of the Likable Jerk". The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123810831170052517.html. 
  5. ^ [1]: "Ansari says his parents, Shoukath and Fatima Ansari of Bennettsville, are 'freaked out that I'm on TV.'"
  6. ^ Turnage, Jeremy. "NBC's Parks and Recreation star has SC ties". WISTV.com. http://www.wistv.com/global/story.asp?s=10161542. 
  7. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/04/arts/television/04aziz.html
  8. ^ "Hot Standup", Rolling Stone
  9. ^ HBO's Comedy Fest announces winners, HBO press release, festivalfocus.org, 12 March 2006.
  10. ^ B, Pat. "Biography for Aziz Ansari". Biography. IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2106637/bio. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  11. ^ a b Schneider, Michael. Aziz Ansari hired for 'Office' spinoff, Variety, 12 June 2008.
  12. ^ Aziz Ansari Artist Bio, Artist Bio from Bonnaroo
  13. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (November 23, 2009). "Apatow, Universal pick up pitches. Ansari, Woliner score with trio of comedy concepts". Variety. Archived from the original on 18 March 2010. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118011777.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&ref=bd_film. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike. (2010-05-10) Mandate Pictures Mounts Laugher Starring Aziz Ansari And Danny McBride –. Deadline.com. Retrieved on 2010-11-05.
  15. ^ "Aziz Ansari Preps Stand-Up Album". Pitchfork. http://pitchfork.com/news/37085-aziz-ansari-preps-stand-up-album/. 
  16. ^ [2], GQ, 21 March 2012.
  17. ^ Aziz Ansari, Venuszine.com, 1 June 2006.

External links

Preceded by
Andy Samberg
MTV Movie Awards host
2010
Succeeded by
Jason Sudeikis