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.

You're currently balancing stand-up, movies, and a hit television show – do you think anything suffers because of that?

Since I'm doing Parks and Rec I can't really do much movie stuff. But I'm happy to make that sacrifice, I really enjoy working on the show. It's such an opportunity to do something that I think is really funny.

Do you think you'll continue to produce content for the web?

The Randy stuff, we were going to put it on TV at one point and then Ted was like, "You know if you put it online you can really do whatever you want. And so many people just watch stuff online anyway." And he was right – we were able to make that as great as we wanted to. We had final say over everything. It was really fun to do.

Your first web series, Shutterbugs, premiered at New York's Channel 102. Did you produce those shorts specifically for that venue, or was it a happy coincidence?

I found out about that and asked Rob Hubel, "What if we did the Shutterbugs characters for that?" And that's how we met with Jason Woliner, our director. And the second one was with Paul [Scheer]; that was kind of the first Human Giant thing in a way.

I remember the shorts looking a notch above other web content at your point. Did you have to spend money to get that production value?  

No, that was all Jason. And really there wasn't much production value. Jason just had a good camera and we had a sound guy. And that was pretty much it. You know, we shot it in the old CollegeHumor offices, actually.

Really? I did not know that.

Yeah, it just looked really good because Jason's really good. We didn't spend any money, he's able to use a little bit of stuff and make it look that good.