Aziz Ansari Keeps It Real
Selling out Madison Square Garden isn’t easy.
From the very beginning of the Netflix-sponsored video special, you can tell things have changed quite a bit for Aziz Ansari: he sits at the top of the comedy world. From his all black suit and bow tie to the quiet hum of eager fans as they wait for the comedian’s arrival on stage, it’s clear that Aziz is in his prime and people are on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what he has to say.
Even if he’s not as funny as he once was.
Let me clarify that statement (I have to do that a lot). Aziz Ansari is a great comedian and actor. He brings a unique twist to a type of comedy that has grown stale due to over-saturation the last few years. When hearing someone re-tell an Aziz joke a lot of us immediately know what is being referenced due to the intonation in that person's voice or the content of the joke. Kind of like:
(If you’re an Aziz fan you know exactly what I’m talking about)
Aziz’s trademark style and enthusiasm are present throughout his latest special. But, something has changed.
If you watched the special it’s easy to notice that Aziz is growing up. Everything he talks about comes from the mindstate of someone who is growing more self-aware of their place in the world and beginning to understand the motivations behind peoples’ actions. Aziz is talking about more adult shit, and that’s awesome.
The only downside to this is HE’S NOT THAT FUNNY ANYMORE.
Don’t get me wrong, his jokes are relevant and have great punch lines combined with interesting ideas. I just didn’t laugh as hard as I once did. Maybe that has to do with growing up myself, but we’re not talking about me here. It’s either really easy or really hard to get me to laugh (don’t ask, it’s complicated). As I sat through this special that I’d been waiting to watch for weeks I found myself agreeing with the jokes, chuckling, but never laughing out loud. Most people will disagree with me and say that it was just as funny, or funnier than ever, which I wouldn’t argue against.
The reason behind my reaction is the topics that Aziz decided to touch on and how everything he’s saying is relevant in our world today. It’s important we recognize this because sometimes laughing makes us forget how serious a certain subject can be. Such as the following:
1) Hard Work
Aziz tells the story of his parents coming to the United States and struggling to make it in a new country where they didn’t know a single person. Aziz responds by saying he has no idea what his parents are talking about when they mention their “struggle”. As a child of the late 20th century, Aziz and I grew up in a world where everything was at our fingertips. Which means we didn’t have to struggle for much, if anything, at all.
Today’s struggle is also very different to 40 or 50 years ago. “Poor” people didn’t have iPhones and flat screens back then. They were actually poor. Not I-have-no-money-but-check-out-my-brand-new-shoes-clothes-car-and-computer poor. Like Aziz says, if you drop me somewhere with nothing but $20 in my pocket I’d end up sleeping on a park bench faster than I'd be able to actually find shelter and food. I’d be too scared to talk to strangers to even attempt to find a job.
Is it because it’s harder to survive these days? It is different, but it’s not impossible. We’re a generation that has been coddled and handed so many things we can’t even begin to comprehend what real hard work means, and that goes for me as well. So, take some time to leave your computer and go walk around the real world before you lose your basic survival instinct.
Aziz puts our likely dilemma in a beautiful and simple fashion.
2) Being Single
Remember being single in the good ol' days? I don’t either. Our parents do. You know, the days when you would spend every moment of every day obsessing over one person and once you got that person you stayed with them as long as possible because they were all you ever wanted.
Well, now you spend every moment of every day thinking about millions of different people and obsessing over them. You get fleeting happiness as you might make a connection with one, but the sadness ensues when you remember it means you weren’t able to meet another.
If you do find someone and enjoy their company, you could fall victim to something that has been lacking lately: basic human decency. Like someone telling you they’re hanging out somewhere and you go to meet up with them but they've already left.
Seriously? Are you going to 8 parties in one night? In 4 hours? How do you expect to have fun at any single party when you’re not there long enough to finish your drink? But you did post it on social media and it looks like you were having an amazing time in that one picture so I’m sure it was worth it.
People don’t even allow themselves the opportunity to be happy because they’re constantly in fear of missing out or comparing their daily lives to the highlights others share of their own. Stop taking pictures, stop trying to tweet about it, and enjoy the moment.
You don’t look at the 2389470239487 pictures you took during the concert anyway. I know I don’t. Why waste those precious moments when the artist is pouring their soul out for you? I’m confused, was this a post about being single or using the Internet too much? Fuck.
3) Creepy Dudes
If none of the previous material resonated with you then I hope you at least have something to think about when you click away after this last part. This is something that is way too common and people joke about too often. These types of things need to stop and we as a society need to stop turning a blind eye and acting like everything is ok when we witness or hear about such events.
I used pictures to sum it up in case too much text was making it hard to concentrate.
I really think Aziz has a point, but those are just my 2cents.