Aziz Ansari returned to New York City this week to promote the second season of NBC's Parks and Recreation, and also dropped back into the comedy scene for a few shows. One of his stops was "Whiplash," the Monday late-night stand-up showcase that replaced Ansari's "Crash Test" at the UCB Theatre when he moved out to Los Angeles.
This is a funny moment that photographer Mindy Tucker captured when Ansari invited four guys from the front row onstage to try to recreate their synchronized fist/clap reaction to one of his punchlines. See more of Tucker's work at With Reservation. Ansari was working on new material, but he also asked the UCB audience (and did this elsewhere) for requests. Turns out they wanted to hear a bit from his Funny People alter-ego, Randy. He skipped over that, but did indulge fans at multiple shows with stories about Kanye West. Ansari already has told one story in his headlining act about going to West's home for an afterparty, catching West rock out to his own music and perform an impromptu stand-up set for West and his friends. More timely, however, was Ansari's revelation that he tried to reach out to West twice after his talked-about MTV Video Music Awards incident. Ansari said he emailed West and "didn't hear anything back." Then, when Ansari watched the mash-up video of West with Congressman Joe Wilson's "You Lie" on YouTube, he said he texted West to say "this is the greatest video ever!" Only later did he find out that his text probably reached West about the time that Jay Leno was reducing him to tears on TV. Oops. "I didn't hear anything back," Ansari said. After Monday's show, Ansari told me that he hasn't had to deal with too many people wanting to hear from Raaaaaaaandy. If he does make that movie with Judd Apatow, though, look out. In more important news (to me, because I missed it), Padma Lakshmi was at Ansari's comedy show on Tuesday (Punch Up Your Life?).
Related: NPR interviewed Aziz Ansari this week. Nice headline?!
And here is his brief appearance on Today: