Last night, my husband and I took some of our kids to see Aziz Ansari perform live in Atlanta at the Fox Theater.
I didn’t know much about his comedy, aside from watching one episode of Parks and Rec, watching a few Youtube clips, listening to a few stand up bits on Spotify while on roads trips. After last night, I’m a huge fan.
Okay, before you crush me for liking him – yes, I do know about the allegations of sexual misconduct against him last year. I’ll get there.
He made jokes about dating a white European woman who is just learning about the context of racism he has always lived in. He made jokes about growing up the only white kid in his school in South Carolina, where kids assumed he would date the only Asian girl, because – well – what other choices did they have? His craft is powerful enough to illuminate our shortcomings on racism – especially us white folks’ – and make us laugh about them before we even know what has happened.
He also made R. Kelly jokes, jokes about his girlfriend’s IUD attacks on his penis, and made fun of his grandmother. There were some poop jokes, too. The men of all races liked those.
At the end, he addressed the elephant in the room – the allegations of sexual misconduct against him. He expressed his regret and shame, and that he strives to be a better person now. And he thanked the audience for sticking with him and attending his show.
In my dream life, I’m going to meet him and find out the story behind the laughs. I want to know how an Indian kid with physician parents in the deep South grew the cajones to become a comedian and actor – to crush stereotypes by holding up a mirror for the rest of us to laugh at ourselves. And how he could hold up the mirror to himself in front of the world, as well?
In the meantime, while I wait for pigs to fly him to my house for a cookout, I’m going to download some more of his material and listen while I’m at the gym, and pray I don’t fall off the treadmill laughing.