After starting as a stand-up and one third of sketch group Human Giant, Aziz Ansari is killing it. He turned his small role as the comedian Raaaaaaandy (eight "A's", FYI) in Funny People into a viral sensation, and he currently stars in NBC's hit sitcom, Parks and Recreation. On January 17, Comedy Central will air his stand-up special, Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening.
The web shorts you made about your Funny People character, Randy, became viral hits in their own right. Was that unexpected?
I sound like I'm saying this because we're plugging the DVD, but the Randy documentaries that [Human Giant director] Jason Woliner and I wrote and he directed, I think they're are some of the best stuff I've done. We were really happy with how they turned out and they were so fun to make. I asked Judd, "Hey man, I had a really fun time doing this Randy character. What if me and this guy Jason did little documentaries about him, and put it on the DVD?" And he said, "Yeah, go for it."
Those were great. I was actually a little disappointed that there wasn't more Randy in the movie.
People would say, "Man there's so much Randy online, you must be in the movie as much as Adam Sandler." But there are some cool Randy deleted scenes.
Randy, one could almost argue, started off as a parody of hack comedians, but he's actually pretty funny all on his own.
Yeah, it is kind of fun in a weird way. I could never talk about the stuff Randy talks about, but it's fun to act like that. I think those jokes do work, there's a lot of jumping and yelling and stuff, but they're funny jokes. People just wouldn't laugh if I just jumped up and was like, "I'm holding my dick." Although though that does sound like it would be hilarious.
In your own stand-up, you've gone from jokes about DVD players to jokes about hanging with Kanye West. Do you ever worry about alienating people?
I always just try to talk about what is going on in my life and whatever stories and things are happening. And every now and then something crazy happens and I'll talk about that. [The Kanye story], that's just the way I told that crazy story to my friends. To me, it's a story about what happened on a great night.
How did you end up meeting a guy like Kanye West?
I did a tour called the Glow in the Dark Tour and I had to get that cleared with him. [Kanye did a tour with the same name.] And he was totally cool about it and I was like, "Whenever I do a show out in L.A. you should come out." And he was like, "Yeah, all right."
You're currently on the second season of Parks and Recreation, which makes this show the longest you've ever played a single character.
You know, that's one thing I always thought would be cool. In Human Giant I was always a character in a sketch. But I always thought to play someone that's kind of real would be fun. And it has been
The show seemed on the verge of cancellation for much of the first season. Do you feel like it's proven itself by now?
We were picked up for another season and things are looking good. Critically the response been crazy, we've really been flattered by all of the nice things people have said about the show. I always did have faith in Greg and Mike and knew the show was going to be very good, and it is. Our first season, I think people were just looking to take us down. We only did six episodes and that's a short time to kind of really figure out a show. When we came back for the second season it was going to be a lot stronger season because we had time to figure out the show, figure out the characters, etc.