Then and Now: “Aziz Ansari Live at Madison Square Garden”

Annotations by Kristin Sheaffer


In the city that never sleeps, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues lays the magnificent Madison Square Garden (MSG). For the past 130 years MSG has been host to thousands of events ranging from sports to concerts to political rallies. In 1962, JFK held his 45th birthday celebration at MSG and was sung Happy Birthday, Mr. President by Marilyn Monroe. Elvis Presley made his only appearances in New York City at the Garden, and Destiny’s Child preformed their last concert together at MSG during their farewell tour in 2005. Madison Square Garden is not just an entertainment complex, but also an arena that has showcased some of the most interesting, diverse and historical performances throughout time. Recently, Aziz Ansari joined the list of entertainers on his newest tour, Modern Romance, selling out MSG. Only six other comedians have obtained this level of popularity, including Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and Kevin Hart.

As an entertainer who began his career doing stand-up in Greenwich Village back in 2001, Aziz has come far. At the time he did his first open-mic routine Aziz was an 18-year-old freshman attending NYU. Four years later, after frequently preforming at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and being put on the Rolling Stone’s 2005 annual “Hot List” for “Hot Stand Up,” he graduated with a degree in marketing from NYU. After gaining recognition as a comedian, in the summer of 2005 Aziz formed “Human Giant,” a sketch group with friends and fellow comedians Paul Scheer and Rob Heubal. Together, the group had their own MTV series, which aired for two seasons and was offered a third, but the group opted out to pursue other opportunities.

In 2008, Ansari was announced to be joining the cast of NBC’s Parks and Recreation to play the confident, sarcastic and underachieving government employee, Tom Haverford. Throughout the past seven seasons of Parks and Recreation, Aziz has received a lot of praise from critics; Entertainment Weekly named him one of 2009's “Breakout TV Stars,” TV Guide named him a “Scene Stealer” and Yahoo! TV placed him in the number one spot on their list of “TV MVPS.” In addition to doing 7 seasons of a critically acclaimed TV show, Aziz has made multiple guest appearances, done voice overs and put out four stand-up comedy specials on Netflix from his tours.

Over the past five years, since his first stand-up special, Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening, fans have been able to see Aziz’s humor ripen and grow with time. In each of his specials, Aziz uses his personal life as the basis for his jokes, but the way he chooses to engage his audience has slowly changed over the years. In the first two specials, Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening and Dangerously Delicious, Aziz is a youthful, relatable, rising star that seems to still be coming to terms with his newfound fame. The younger version of Aziz jumps from joke topic to joke topic, from an awkward New Years’ Eve with Jay-Z, to his cousin Harris, to racism, to travelling, Aziz seems to have a story for everything. Slowly, this version of Aziz changes as he grows and settles into his fame. In his third stand-up special, Buried Alive, Aziz has just turned 30 and changes the scope of his jokes to topics that are still relatable, yet deeper, such as love, relationships, marriage and parenting. Aziz’s new set of jokes reflects where he is in his life: watching friends get engaged, married and having kids, while he still isn’t pursuing serious relationships.

Fast forward to a year and a half later, Aziz is the opposite of his spinster Buried Alive self. Aziz has grown up with the audience and has finally reached the point where he has begun to settle down; he’s been in a serious relationship for over a year — the complete opposite side of the spectrum from where he was in the summer of 2013. Ansari uses his new perspective of relationships and his developing worldviews for his newest stand-up special, Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden, unveiled on March 6, 2015. This time, he digs deeper to talk about his family roots, the meat industry, feminism, and the world of relationships today; Aziz brings a more mature stand-up than before and highlights our societal differences between 20–30 years ago and current times.


[shows billboard outside of Madison Square Garden]

[indistinct chatter]

[billboard flashes ‘SOLD OUT’ repeatedly]

[western music plays as an elevator opens]

[Aziz steps out in an all black suit]

[cuts to people coming into Madison Square Garden]

[“October 9th, 2014” flashes on screen]

[audience cheering]

[Aziz steps onto stage]

[cheering continues]

Thank you so much. Thank you very much, New York, holy shit. This is Madison Square Garden. Oh, my God. Bring the house lights up for a second. Lets just see everybody here for a second. Bring the house lights up.

[applause]

Thank you. Thank you so much to all 12,000 of you predominantly white people that showed up tonight. I really — No, there’s minorities in the mix. I’m just kidding. Yeah.

[cheering]

Um, I’m a minority and I am yeah — I am the first generation of my family born in America. Anybody else first-generation people? Yeah? Clap, yeah?

[scattered clapping]

The Ansari’s with Beyonce and Jay-Z
Pretty amazing thing our parents did, right? They came to this country, they maybe didn’t even know anyone. Maybe didn’t even speak the language, and they figured it out. Very brave, courageous thing. And I feel like we never sit down and thank them for it. And we should, cause that’s such an amazing thing for someone in your family to at some point, to just be like,

[raises hands in disgust]

“You know what? Fuck China! Lets get out of here. Lets go. Let get out of here. I’m tired of living in this village. Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s move to America. I’ve seen photos online, it looks dope. Let’s go. Let’s go.”

‘Cause you know they had friends that were dicks that were like, “What? You can’t move to America. You don’t know any one there. You don’t speak the language. What are you gonna do for work?”

“I don’t know man we’ll figure it out. Worst-case scenario, we’ll cook food and we’ll sell it to white people, okay?”
“You got a Master’s degree in Chemistry. You don’t know how to cook.”

“They don’t know what Chinese food tastes like! I’ll but some chicken in a box with some orange sauce and serve it to them.”

[jumps back in surprise]

“Ooh! What are you gonna call that dish? Orange chicken?”

“Yeah! Maybe I will call it orange chicken! Maybe I’ll call it number 36. We’ll see!”

Pretty amazing though right? Like, all those stories, they’re amazing to me. Amazing stories. I hear immigrants say stories like, “I came to Brooklyn with $20 in my pocket.”

That’s incredible. Is our generation that amazing? I don’t think we are. I don’t think we’re as amazing as our parents are. I don’t think we could pull that kinda shit off. Like, you could imagine if you sent me to Brooklyn with $20 in my pocket? I’d get there the first day and be like, “Oh, man, I’m out of money!

[as if surprised]

I just bought too much fresh pressed juice!

[in nasal voice]

“Hey, Dad. Yeah, I’m coming back to India, huh. Things didn’t work out here. Uh, I made a bad investment in juice.”

My parents told be a little bit about their struggles. They moved to South Carolina.

[audience whooping]

That’s where they chose — Yeah! ‘Cause they were trying to find a place that combined racism…and horrible public schools like oooh South Carolina!

[draws circle with hand repeatedly]

Aziz’s dance class in South Carolina

You’re right in the middle of this very unnecessary Venn diagram. Let’s do this!”

And, you know they told me a little bit about it.And, you know, my mom told me her first day in America was the scariest day of her life.

And I was like, “Wow, why do you say that?” She’s like, “I got here and I didn’t know anyone. I was so far away from my friends and family. Uh, I barely even knew your father.”

Aziz’s mother throughout the years

They had an arranged marriage and she’d known him for like a week at that point. This is serious. And she said she got here and she’s in this small apartment, and its empty and she didn’t know what to do and she felt so scared.

I was like, “What did you do that first day?”

She’s like, “I didn’t know what to do. I was all alone. Your dad was at work the whole day. And I just sat on the couch and cried.”

And I was like, “Oh, that’s so sad. How did you get through that?”

And she was like, “It was just one of those moments where I just knew I had to be brave and figure it out.
You ever had moments like that, Aziz, where you were so scared, you didn’t know what you were gonna do but you had to be brave and figure it out?”
And I was like…
[looks confused but then grins widely]
“No! My life is super easy ‘cause you did all the struggling. So, my shit’s really easy.”

I’m not gonna have nay struggles to tell my kids about. What’s my story gonna be like?

“Oh, son, once when I was flying from New York to LA…

[looks away winces, sniffles]

my iPad died.”

My kid will be like, “Fuck you, Dad. We’re teleporting to Mars!”

[imitates teleporting and runs across the stage]

Aziz and his father in the ‘80s

My dad told me a little bit about his struggles. My dad’s a doctor. And he said when he first got here, it was very hard ‘cause the head of the hospital was very racist and would never send him patients. He’d always send patients to another doctor that lived three hours away.

And I was like, “Oh, that stinks. How did you figure that out?”

And he said, “Well, what eventually happened was the head of the hospital and got very sick. He had a stomach problem.”

My dad is a stomach doctor.

And so he called my dad, “Oh, send that Indian guy. I don’t want to go to the guy three hours away.”

And my mom was like, “You shouldn’t go. That guy is racist and he never sends you patients. Why should you go?”

My dad was like, “No I’m gonna go. ‘Cause I think we need to be the bigger people here.”

So my dad goes and he starts treating the guy…and then my dad poisons him and kills him. And then my dad became the head of the hospital. And that’s what you gotta do when you’re an immigrant. Handle your shit! Kill some racist motherfuckers if you need to!

How many of you guys here don’t eat meat? Anyone here not eat meat? Clap if you don’t eat meat.

[some applause]

Okay. Now, clap if you don’t eat meat ‘cause, um, you saw a documentary or you read a book that freaked you about the meat industry. Clap if you’re in that situation.

[scattered clapping]

A few people.

[pauses]

Now, clap if you’ve just seen that stuff in general. Like, video of a factory farm or read something that freaked you out about the food industry. Clap if you’ve seen this stuff.

[audience claps]

That’s a lot of people. Now, clap if you saw that stuff and you’re like, “Oh, my God that’s disgusting. It’s cruel. It’s inhumane. The government definitely needs to properly regulate the meat industry. There’s no excuse for this.

[more seriously]

The government definitely needs to properly regulate the meat industry. But, in the meantime…

[groans]

I kinda still gotta eat meat ‘cause I don’t want to feel weird and hungry all the time.”

[audience cheers]

[groans]

Isn’t that so frustrating? ‘Cause no one wants to support that stuff. But you know what the problem is?

[clicks tongue]

Salads need to step up their game up, okay? Like, salads aren’t bringing it up hard enough. Vegetables aren’t bringing it hard enough. If food is a basketball game, meat is killing it Meat is just like…

[runs around, makes explosion noise]

“Ribs! Fried chicken! Steak!”

Meanwhile vegetables are like…

[in a nasal voice]

“Uh, does anyone want any cauliflower? What about some snow peas? Does anyone like Brussel Sprouts?”

[enthusiastically]

“Yeah, I’ll take those Brussel sprouts and I’ll wrap ‘em in some bacon!”

[does a slam dunk]

That’s how powerful meat is, right? You go into a kitchen, you smell bacon and go,

[gasps]

“Are you cooking bacon right now? Is that bacon you’re making right-Is there any way you have a second piece of bacon that I could eat as well?”

No one’s ever walked into a kitchen like,
[gasps]
“Are you steaming carrots right now? Are you steaming carrots? I can smell the steam from the other room. Is that some broccoli and cauliflower? Are you making a medley right now? Are you making a motherfucking steamed vegetable medley right now? Oh, don’t tell me that’s brown rice in that bowl! Don’t tell me that’s brown rice.
[becomes demanding]
You better fix me a plate now!”

Even if you don’t eat meat, even if you’re just eating vegetables? Do you know everything that goes into the vegetables? There’s all this messed-up stuff with vegetables, too, like child labor and all these issues. Like, how come every vegetable’s always in season, right?

You never go to the grocery store and hear, “We don’t have asparagus right at the moment. They’re just not growing.”

No, no, no. They have everything all the time. ‘Cause if its not growing here, they just go to South America, and there’s some guy with a sword going up to little kids like,

[pretends to be wielding a sword]

“Digame, digame! Pick the asparagus! Pick it! Pick it! Pick it!”

[pauses between every other word for dramatic affect]

The people in America need to eat it and see if it really makes their pee smell weird!”

Just never google how anything you consume is created. Just never google it, ‘cause its always gonna bum you out. I used to buy this orange juice called “Simply OJ” ‘cause I’m dumb and I see words like “simple” and “natural,” and I’m like, “Mmm, okay, well, clearly, there must be a grandma squeezing oranges into a bucket,

[squeezing motion]

and, you know then she pours that into a little bottle.”

[shakes head]

No, no, no, no, no. That’s what was happening for like three months, then Coca-Cola bought the company. They slit the grandma’s throat..
[slicing motion]
and now a bunch of little Asian kids just jizz into a banana peel, and that’s Simply OJ. Something like that. I can’t quite remember he specifics, but…something like that.

Everything, man! Eggs! You know how they make eggs? This is how they make eggs okay. They genetically engineer two different types of chicken. One type of chicken is called the layer chick. It just lays eggs. And they have another type of chick called a broiler chick. This is the chicken they, like, pump up with a bunch of hormones. So it has, like huge breasts and legs and that’s the only just for the meat.

And I’m reading this, I’m like, “Well, what happens to the male layer chicks?”

They serve no purpose, right? They can’t lay eggs. They can’t be used for meat. What happens? They just get murdered! In insane ways. Like, they’ll take all the male layer chicks and they’ll throw ‘em into a big chicken woodchipper.Um, another thing they’ll so is they’ll put ‘em in a big plastic vat and just put a lid on it and suffocate ‘em to death. And, yeah, it’s a bummer. Like, none of us is into that. Like, we’d all check “No” on that box.

But the problem is, this kind of information, this kind of footage, it just hasn’t been seen in the right context to elicit the kind of mass outrage that would actually result in some changes, you know. Right now, it’s in these obscure documentaries or books or whatever. But what if it was in a different context?

Rapper Ja Rule

Like, what if there was a CNN camera crew that did a raid at rapper Ja Rule’s house? And they saw he had a big plastic vat where he was just suffocating chickens to death. We’d all be like,

“Ja, you monster! What are you doing?”

And he’d be like,

[scuttles across stage]

“I’m sorry, I just wanted some eggs!

I had to make ethical compromises in order to achieve economies of scale!

[prances on the stage]

♪It’s murda!♪”

I’ll admit, when I first wrote that joke, I was like, “But will people remember Ja Rule?”

[audience laughing]

Pfft! Oh, how foolish I was! If you’re not familiar with Ja, um…he had a strange string of hits a few years ago, where…every song followed this very strange formula where they’d have a woman, with a very beautiful voice, like Jennier Lopez or Ashanti, and they would sing the hook. And then Ja would come in and sound like someone that was getting stabbed in the stomach through their ulcer. Like, every single song was just like,

[melodically]

♪R-U-L-E♪

[hoarsely]

♪What’s my motherfucking name?♪

[looks around confused]

[melodically]

♪R-U-L-E♪

[hoarsely]

♪And what am I doing here?♪

I feel like I gotta do that whole bit on a talk show or something. ‘Cause whenever you do a bit like that on a talk show, the person always gets in touch with you. So I feel like I have to do it, Just so I can get that amazing phone call one day, where it’s just like, “Aziz?”

“Yeah. Who is this?”

[aggressively]

“Ja Rule, baby! Saw the way you integrated me into that bit about factory farming in the egg industry! I never knew that shit! I’m never eatin’ meat again! You know where I can get some more literature on this subject? Maybe a pamphlet on how to adjust to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle?

♪Put it on me!”♪

Soon, Ja starts getting really passionate about the cause. He starts filming his own PSAs.

[as Ja Rule] “Every day, millions of chickens are living in tiny cages the size of a piece of paper. They’re shittin’ all over each other in these disease ridden factory farms. This is the meat we’re putting in our mouths! This is the meat we’re puttin’ in our children’s mouths! If you think the government should probably regulate the meat industry,

♪Holla, holla!”♪

Guys, if only you knew how long it’s taken me to find the perfect stand-up bit to showcase my frustrations with the meat industry…
[pauses]
and my flawless Ja Rule impersonation…
[pauses]
then you’d know my struggle.
[audience cheering]

You know what I’ve realized recently? Creepy dudes are everywhere…and they’re so much more prevalent than I ever realized. And it really sucks, ‘cause women have to worry about creepy dudes all the time. And it’s very unfair because men never worry about creepy women. Like, men never are concerned about creepy women. That’s not a thing. There’s never been two dudes, walking alone, late night in a park like…

[shakes head, looks scared]

“Hey, man, I think we should speed up.”

“Why, what’s going on?”

[points in fear]

“I’m pretty sure that woman behind the tree is masturbating to us!”

“Oh, God!

[jumps away]

Oh, God! Should we get a cab? Should we just keep running? Ahh!”

No two dudes have ever faced that dilemma There’s never been a dude who’s told a story like this,

“Yeah, so I’m at the club, like, minding my own business right? And then this creepy woman comes up to me and is like, ‘Hey, can I buy you a drink?’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m fine.’ ‘Let me buy you a drink.’ ‘No, I’m fine.’

[aggressively]

‘LET ME BUY YOU A DRINK’ I’m like ‘Okay, okay, okay.’ And so, you know, she buys me a drink and I take a sip to be polite, and then she’s just like…‘Mmm…that’s a nice set of balls you got down there. What do you think about me sucking on one of those bad boys later?’ And I was like, ‘Uh, that’s quite alright.’ And she’s like, ‘Oh, but you’ll drink the drink, though! You’ll drink the drink, though! To be clear, I can’t suck the balls,But you’ll drink the drink though! You’ll drink the drink, though!

[walks away]

You’re twisted! Ladies, let’s get out of this club! Dudes here are busted!’”

No dude has that story. No dude’s ever barged up into his friend’s apartment in a panic, like, “Oh, my God! Dude, I’m so sorry! I didn’t know where else to go! Oh my God this is so crazy! I’m so freaked out right now! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! I was walking down Third Avenue, and this woman just came and whipped her pussy out at me

[pretends to flash crowd]

and she just started chasing me like, ‘Ahhh! Do you wanna touch it?’”

[pauses]

No guy here has any story like that. Every woman in here has at least
[raises three fingers]
three stories like that. I promise you, they do.

[audience cheering]

Creepy dudes are everywhere man. They’re on the Internet. Oh, they love the Internet so much! Such a great showcase for them. It’s really startling if you look at the difference between the way men are treated on the Internet and women are treated on the Internet.

You know, me as a guy, let’s say I tweet something like, “Hey guys, I’m doing a show in Phoenix, get tickets!” I might get a mean tweet, where some guy’s like, “Oh, yeah? I’m never coming to Phoenix, ‘cause you suck!

[pretends to be cheering]

Yeah, I got him. I did it, yeah!”

If a woman tweets that, though, her mean tweet will be different. Like, if a woman tweets, “Hey, I’m doing a show in Phoenix. Get tickets!” Her mean tweet will be like, “Oh, yeah? Instead of going to Phoenix, why don’t you come to Buffalo and suck my dick?

[starts cheering]

Yeah! I got her! I did it, yeah! Let’s go watch Transformers again! Pshh!”

No women are harassing me like that. Women just don’t harass dudes in that way. I never get tweets like that. No women are ever writing me stuff like, “Oh, hey, Aziz, I bet you give good head!

[excited hand gestures]

Yeah! Suck my pussy, Aziz! Suck my pussy, Aziz!”

No women are out there writing me like, “Oh, hey, Aziz, I wanna take your head and squeeze it in between my titties till your beard pops off. Yeah!”

No women are saying that. No women are out there like, “Oh, Aziz, you’re putting out a new stand-up special? Why don’t you put your fingers in my pussy instead?

[chanting]

Finger me, Aziz! Finger me, Aziz Let’s go watch Dirty Dancing on Blue-ray!”

Pshhh! No women are saying that ‘cause, in general, women don’t do dumb shit like that. That’s not a thing they do really. Men do this shit all the time, and it’s so dumb.

I did a show with a female comedian once. She got on stage and the first thing that happened is some idiot in the front just yells,

[shouts]

“Take it off!”

[pauses]

If you’re a dude, never yell, “Take it off.” Unless a women has placed a tarantula or a scorpion on one of your shoulders, there’s no reason for you to yell,“Take it off!” I’ve seen dudes yell “Take it off” in a strip club!
[grunts in annoyance]
She has a routine planned. She’s trying to tease you, you dumb motherfucker. What would you rather her do? Just, like, walk out there completely naked?

[awkwardly struts forward]

[audience laughs]

[Looks uncomfortably around]

Another thing, another thing creepy dudes do…they’ll just follow women. You know what I’m talking about? Like, they’ll just see a woman

[pretends to spot a women, points, and goes that direction]

and be like, “Okay!”

[pretends to follow the woman]

And just follow ‘em around for, like, a really long time. Terrifying.

Raise your hand if you’re a woman and you’ve ever been followed around by a creepy dude. Raise your hand high! Raise it really fucking high!

[women raise hands]

Everyone just look around and see how many hangs are raised right now. Yeah, that’s way too many people. That should not be happening. One woman told me, she eventually got rid of a guy by walking into a pet store where you needed to get buzzed in. I’m not sure why this pet store had such intense security…but um… she said she went in there and said, “Hey, there’s a creepy guy following me. Don’t buzz him in.”

They’re like, “Okay.”

And she said she just waited there until he left. And I was like, “Wow, how long did you have to wait?”

And she was like, “Mmm, 45 minutes.”

[shocked]

Forty-five minutes of her day gone ‘cause this creepy decided to follow her. God! But I get it man you gotta be safe. These guys are crazy. You never know, they may follow you to your home or your apartment where you live.

And if you’re a creepy dude doing that, what’s your dream scenario at that point? Like, what’s your best-case situation? Like, what do you think’s really gonna happen? Like, the woman’s just gonna get to her door and just turn around, just like,

[whips head around intensely]

“So…are you just gonna stand there…or are you gonna come up and

[shouts]

FUCK ME!?”

That’s never happening. That’s never happening! There’s a greater chance of a tornado

[makes circular motion with hand as if a tornado]

grabbing a woman and blowing her into your penis

[clutches penis]

than there is of you somehow seducing a woman that way, you fucking creeps.

[pauses]

What can you do for real, though, man?

[sighs]

She said, one time, she had a creepy guy following her and, uh, she saw another dude that she thought was like a good dude, and said, “Hey, can you pretend to be my boyfriend? I think there’s, like, a creepy guy following me. Can you pretend to be my boyfriend?”

And the guy did it. And it helped her out and the creepy guy went away. And I was like, “Oh man that’s really cool.”

She had faith that this other guy would be a decent human being. And he was, and he rose to the challenge and it helped her out, you know? I would do that. If any woman in here was like, “Hey, Aziz, could you pretend to be my boyfriend?”

I would do that shit, I would get into it. I’d be like,

[gets intense]

“I got this! What’s the situation?”

[as girl] “There’s a creepy guy following me.”

“Where is he?!”

[as girl] “He’s right behind us.”

“Oh fuck!

[pretends to start running]

He’s really creepy. He’s rather large as well. Are you sure we shouldn’t be seeing other people? Just kidding, I got this.”

[as girl]“What are you gonna do, Aziz?”

“Oh, I’m gonna beat the shit out of this guy!”

[as girl] “Really?”

“Yeah. But first, I need to run a quick errand.”

[as girl] “What is it?”

“I gotta buy a dog. Let’s go in this pet store and wait about 45 minutes.”

[pauses dramatically]

Clap if you’re in a relationship right now. Relationship folks.

[clapping]

You know what I love about relationship people? I love how they tell the story of how they met their person. You know what I’m talking about? It’s a very specific type of storytelling where it’s like,

“Oh…

[scatting/mumbles as he tells the story]

[smiles]

…and we’ve been together ever since.”

[pauses]

That’s like a fun way to tell a story, right? But I don’t think it’s fair that frustrated single people can’t share their stories in the same manner, right? Like, those are more relatable stories. Like, I would love to hear a woman tell a story like this,

“So, Rachel’s like,

[reaches out hand playfully]

‘Come get a drink.

[“ “]

Come get a drink.

[“ “]

Come get a drink.’ She’s like, ‘You never come out. How are you gonna meet someone if you never come out?’ So I’m like, “Fine!” So, we go to the bar and there’s this really cute guy. He’s sitting by himself and he’s drinking a whiskey. And Rachel’s like,

[reaches out hand playfully]

‘Go talk to him. Go talk to him.’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m not saying anything.’ And she’s like, ‘You go talk to him or I’m gonna talk to him for you.’ So, I’m like, ‘Fine.’ So, I walk over…

[walking happily across stage]

and I go, ‘Hey, are you waiting on someone?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, I’m waiting on my girlfriend.’ So, I sat back down…

[happily walks back]

and I haven’t seen him ever since!”

[pauses]

That’s a story we can all relate to, right? Or what about a story like this,“So Bryan’s like, ‘Come on, man. Let’s go to one more bar. Let’s go to one more spot.’ I’m like, ‘I’m pretty beat. I’m gonna call it. It’s like 3:45 in the morning. I’m gonna go home.’ He’s like, ‘No, no, no, no. This is a late night spot. There’s always girls there.

[high pitched convincing voice]

You never know, you never know, you never know.’ So, I’m like, ‘Fuck it.’ So, we head to the bar and, uh, it was closed. Guess it was a slow night, so, uh, that was that.”

Or what about a story like this? “So, me and her, we’ve always been really close, but, you know, nothing’s ever happened, never hooked up or anything, just been friends. And we’re out this one night, she’s just broken up with her boyfriend and we’re having a couple of drinks, and it starts getting a little flirty. Then it starts getting a little touchy-feely. Next thing you know, we’re back at my place and we’re having sex. And this is, like, amazing sex. It’s been, like, pent-up for years. And it’s one of those things that just felt right, you know? And at one point, she just looks me right in the eyes and she just says,

[whiny voice]

‘I don’t think we should do this!’

So…

[clicks tongue]

I pulled my penis out…

[grunts]

we went to sleep, and it’s been an awkward situation for…

[clicks tongue]

it’ll be a year in August!”

Those are the stories we can relate to. Being in a relationship, it’s tough. It’s a lot of work. But I think being single is even harder, especially right now. Very odd, frustrating time to be a single person.

And I like the idea of being single in theory. But what does that mean? You meet a bunch of different people, you get to know ‘em, you find someone you really connect with, hmm, maybe pursue something more serious. That sounds good, I would sign up for that. But that’s not what being single is anymore, right? This is what being single is now.

[Person One] “Hey, it was great meeting you. We should get together sometime.”

[Person Two] “Yeah, that’d be great. Be in touch.”

[Person One] “Alright, cool.”

[Person Two] “Bye!”

[pauses]

[another conversation]

[Person One] “Hey, what’s up? You wanna grab some drinks tonight?”

[Person Two] “Yeah, yeah, I’m with some friends in this neighborhood.”

[Person One] “Oh cool. We’ll be down there soon.”

[Person Two] “Can’t wait to see you. Cool.”

[Person One] “Alright. Bye!”

[pauses]

[Person One] “Hey what’s up, we’re almost there.”

[Person Two] “Shit, we just left.”

[angrily]

Why? Why’d you just leave? Isn’t that a rude, shitty thing to do? You invited me somewhere and then you left before I got there.

[Person Two] “Maybe we’ll meet up tomorrow.”

[Person One] “Tomorrow is perfect. Text you later and make a plan.”

[Person Two] “Alright. Bye.”

[Person One] “Cool.”

[later]

[Person One] “Hey, what’s up? Should we grab those drinks tonight?”

[Person Two] “Oh, drank way too much last night. Gonna stay in today.”

That’s not what was discussed yesterday! Would you like a transcript of our conversation?

[massive scrolling motion]

You may scroll up on your phone.

[pauses, moves across stage]

[Person One] “Maybe we can meet up on Thursday.”

[Person Two]“Thursday’s perfect. Text you later and make a plan.”

[Person One] “Alright. Bye.”

[Person Two] “Cool.”

[on Thursday]

[Person One] “Hey, what’s up? It’s Thursday. Should we get together tonight?”

[pauses uncomfortably as he waits for a response]

And that’s what being single is now!

[audience clapping]

All that garbage. That’s what it is a lot of times. It’s pretty much like you’re a secretary for this really shoddy organization…trying to schedule the dumbest shit with the flakiest people.

And I’ve realized this flakiness, it doesn’t even have to do with dating or anything. It’s actually a symptom of a bigger problem we all have. You know, we’re all part of the rudest, flakiest group of people ever. Like, if you’re alive right now and you have a phone, you’re a rude, shitty person. You just are.

Like, has anyone here tried to make plans with anyone in the past couple of years? Has anyone tried to make plans with anyone? It’s the most frustrating experience. ‘Cause what happens anytime you ask someone to do something nowadays?

It’s like,

[Person One] “Hey, you wanna do this fun thing?”

[Person Two] “Maybe. Maybe, I could try. We could see about…

[whiny]

maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe.”

[seriously]

No one want to commit to shit. ‘Cause they’re terrified that something better is gonna come along. It is so rude. Why do we do this? I think it’s ‘cause we’re also part of the least lonely generation, the least isolated generation, you know?

It used to be a big deal when you finally got to see your friends in person, right? Nowadays, it’s not as much, ‘cause you’re always connected with your friends, you’re always — wherever you are, work, school, whatever, you’re always texting, emailing, joking around. So, when you see them in person, it’s not as big a deal as it used to be.

You know, now it’s like, “Oh, man, it’s so good to see you. I just went on this crazy vacation!”

[Person Two] “I know, I saw all the pictures. Leave me alone.”

It used to not be like that. It used to be a big deal when you saw your friends, right?

Think about what you’d be doing, like, 40 years ago, you know. Think about what that’d be that. What you’d be doing, like, one a Thursday night. You know, you’re just sitting in your house, by yourself…you’re in a wooden chair…

[pauses]

eating a can of beans. You have nothing. You’re not connected to anyone. No entertainment.

“Oh, uh, maybe I’ll listen to some music.”

Alright, just the music you own, or you can sit around and hope a song you like comes on the radio, and then grab a cassette and run over like a little bitch.

[exaggerated shouting]

“Oh, I missed the beginning!”

Maybe you’ll stay in and watch a movie. Alright, what’s it gonna be? Home Alone, Jurassic Park, or Mrs. Doubtfire? That’s all you have! You have nothing! And then, in the corner of the room, you have your one outlet to the outside world, right? Your landline. And if you were lucky, at some point it would ring and you’d be like, “Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

[distant and drawn out voice]

Hello! Who is this? Phil, thank you so much for calling. What would you like to do?

[clicks tongue]

That sounds great! I’ll see you there are 8:00.”

And you would be there at 8:00.

[with emphasis]

And Phil would be there at 8:00. And if Phil wasn’t there by 8:15, you’d be like, “Oh, my God! Phil is dead. Phil has died!

[sobbing]

We were supposed to see Police Academy and now he’s dead!”

‘Cause that was the only polite way to cancel on people back in the day.You had to die. Now what do your shitty friends do? They’ll call you like an hour before.

“Hey, you know, I’m feeling kind of tired. So, I think I’m just gonna stay in tonight.”

“Oh you’re tired? What, were you doing a bunch of manual labor? Were you, uh, building a habitat for humanity or…”

[clicks tongue]

“No, I just did one of those online surveys that tells you what character you are from a particular TV show. And I’ve done, like, seven of them, so I’m feeling kind of tired. And, you know, I’m just so tired, I don’t feel like driving and everything.”

Hold up! You’re too tired to drive? The car moves. You don’t do shit, you just sit there. How is this a valid excuse? Did you recently purchase a Flintstones-type vehicle where you need to run along? I don’t believe you did.

So now, when you make plans, you got to remember how flaky every is, right? You got to factor that in. You got to change your approach. You know, you look at my phone on a Sunday, when I’m trying to find someone to get brunch with. I look like a psychopath.

It’s just like, “Hey, you wanna get brunch? Hey, you wanna get — Hey, you wanna — Hey, you wanna — Hey, you wanna — Hey, you wanna — “

And it’s this weird list of my best friend, to the shittiest person I’d eat pancakes with. But I get it! I get it, man. I understand why we’re like this. We all have the same nightmare. You know the nightmare. The nightmare is you do commit to doing the thing with Phil, right? And you get there, like,

“This is fun, Phil. I’m glad I came. We’re getting to catch up and stuff. It’s good.”

Adam Mars’ “Once Upon a Time, We Weren’t Stalkers” gallery featured at the Gusford Gallery in LA

[chuckles]

Then you get that phone call.

[excitedly on the phone]

“Dude, where are you?! Biggie and Tupac faked their deaths. They’re doing a show right now. I have an extra ticket. Where are you?”

[panting excitedly]

“I’m upstate picking apples with Phil!”

We all have that nightmare, and I do think there’s a new thing, where we always want the best, you know? Whatever we’re doing, we wanna do the best, funnest thing. Whatever we’re buying, we want the best. We have all these options, and we have all this information at our fingertips to research it. And we always want the best. Why not have the best? And a lot of times it’s very useful, right? I made some more educated decisions in my life.

But, at a certain point, doesn’t that stuff become debilitating? Like, now it’s gotten to the point, where before I make any choice or decision in my life, I have to google something to make sure I’m not fucking it up. You know what I mean? Like, the other day, I had to get a toothbrush.

Before I left my house, without even thinking about it, I googled, ‘Best toothbrush.’ That’s right, I’m about to get the best toothbrush. Why? Why do I need the best toothbrush? Every other toothbrush I bought on a hunch has been fine. Like, what is the big fear now? Have you ever run into someone with no teeth, and be like, “What happened?”

“Bought the wrong toothbrush. Should’ve done more research!”

And when you take these kind of mentalities and you throw ‘em in the dating world, things get crazy, man. Things get really weird, you know. You people that are married, been in long relationships, you have no idea what it’s like out there right now. Everything has changed.

Take your most basic problem as a single person. What is it? You like someone, they don’t like you back. Or the reverse, someone likes you,you don’t like them back.

Okay, at one point in time, that used to be kind of a weird thing. It was awkward, it was a conversation, it was something you had to deal with, right? Now, what do people do?

Someone likes you, you don’t like ‘em back? Just pretend to be busy

[exaggerated motion]

FOREVER!

That’s what people do now. They pretend to be busy forever, and then they conduct this strange psychological experiment, where it’s like, “Mmm, how much hope does this person have? How many times do I need to pretend to be busy before they realize this many scheduling conflicts is statistically impossible…and something else is going on?”

Now, look, I don’t think it’s coming from a bad place. I think you’re trying not to hurt someone’s feelings, right? What are your other options? Um, you could say nothing and give people silence. Or you could just be honest with them. Those are your big three options, right? Clap if what you do is pretend to be busy. Clap if that’s your move.

[scattered clapping]

Okay. I’d say that’s my move as well, okay. Clap if what you do is, you say nothing. You give people silence.

[more scattered clapping]

Okay, and finally, clap if you’re just honest with people.

[less scattered clapping]

Okay, now let’s say the situation is reversed and someone else is dealing with you. How do you prefer they handle the situation? Clap if you prefer that they pretend to be busy.

[very light clapping]

[Aziz looks scared]

[audience laughs]

Alright. Clap if you prefer that they say nothing, that they give you silence.

[some clapping]

[Aziz has a strange look on his face]

Why the fuck would you prefer that? This is a hypothetical thing. That’s your preference? You’re into confusion? Sorry, this isn’t a good way to do polls. I shouldn’t shit on people after certain responses. I apologize.

[chuckles]

And finally, clap if you prefer that they’re just honest with you.

[audience cheers]

I’d say I’m in that camp as well. Well, well, well, I think our finding are pretty clear right? We’re all really shitty people. Whenever we’re dealing with others, we’re like,

[whiny voice]

“I’m gonna pretend to be busy. I don’t want to say anything.” When other people are dealing with us, we’re like,

[philosophical voice]

“Why must we play all these games? Can’t we all just be honest with one another?” And the other thing is, we all say we prefer honesty, myself included, but can we really handle honesty, you know? I talked to a woman once, she’s like,

“Oh, I’m just honest with people. I don’t mess around. I’m just honest with people.”

I was like, “Really? Alright. I’m a guy, I ask you out for dinner, you don’t wanna go, what would you say?”

She said, “I would say, ‘I’m not interested in getting dinner with you.’”

And on one hand, that’s really nice, right? There’s no games there, you know exactly where you stand, you’re not wasting your time. On the other hand, though, could you imagine actually receiving a text like that?

“Hey, you wanna get dinner sometime?”

[angry voice]

“I’m not interesting in getting dinner with you.”

God damn! What are you, a demon? That’s the meanest, coldest shit anyone’s ever said to me, okay? I’m a person. I have feelings, okay? I’m just a fellow human being that wanted to break bread with you and get to know you a little better. Is that such a horrifying situation?

I was basically like, “Hey, you want some free food?”

You’re like, “Not if your presence is involved. You got a gift certificate? I’ll go with my friend.”

I don’t know what the best way to deal with it is, man. I do think it’s tough. I do think silence might be the worst, though. Silence to me, seems like the rudest, most cowardly way to handle a situation. And it’s also the one that hurts the other person the most, right? We’ve all been on the other end of that. That’s the worst man. The worst is when you meet someone you’re really into and you feel that connection. You know what I’m talking about? When you meet that person…

[gaps]

“Oh, my God. We both felt that. No games this time, deep connection. No games, deep connection. No games…

[pauses]

deep connection.”

You send the first text, you’re all confidence.

“Forget about it. It’s done Wrap it up, put it in a bag, write my name on it…‘cause it’s done.”

Twenty minutes later, no response.

[hurried, whiny voice]

“Okay, well, I’m sure she’s just busy with a couple of things, and any minute now…”

Three hours later,

[yells angrily in frustration]

#58–70 on BuzzFeed’s list of “101 Completely Logical Reasons Why Your Crush Hasn’t Texted You Back”
“Fuck!!!!!!! I put too many exclamation points in my text! What was I thinking? I should have said ‘Hey’ with two ‘Y’s,’ not three ‘Y’s.’ I’M SO STUPID!”
Three hours earlier. You’re looking up vacation packages on Orbitz, you’re planning birthdays, holidays, a whole life together. And now it’s all gone away, and you have no idea why.

And this is when people start going crazy. ‘Cause in the past, let’s say you’re in a situation like this, someone doesn’t call or write you back, you get over it with time, right? Out of sight, out of mind. The problem now is, we don’t give ourselves the luxury of out of sight, out of mind. ‘Cause what happens now when you get into one of these situations? We all become detectives. We start opening up tabs:

[pretends to be on a computer typing]

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

“Alright, let’s see every single thing this motherfucker’s doing INSTEAD of texting me back! GPS on screen two! Instagram on screen three! Let’s see what they’re looking at right now!”

[audience laughing]

And it’s a brutal thing to do to yourself. You should not do it because, ah, you’re in the most vulnerable position, right? You put yourself out there. You’re like…

♪I like you, baby. You like me♪

[vocalizing]

Any guy or girl in that situation, that’s what they’re feeling. And you’re just waiting for something to put your heart at ease, but instead you’re getting nothing. Then you go on the Internet, you’re reading stuff like, “Mmm, eating ice cream and watching Dexter. Hash mark, I really need a man.”

[imitates explosion]

“What? I just asked you out! You know I follow you! You know I’m reading this. What kind of evil is inside of you?”

And it seems like an area where we could all be a little bit more thoughtful, right? Uh, ‘cause, look, anytime someone asks you out, whether it’s a guy asking a girl or girl asking a guy, whatever the scenario, the person is paying you a huge compliment, right? They’re basically saying,

“Hey, out of the infinite number of things I could do with my time, what I’d like to do is spend some time with you, ‘cause I think there’s something special about you, and I’d like to get to know you better and see if there’s a connection there.”

That’s a very nice thing for someone to say. I feel like you should respect that a little bit. So, maybe don’t post your dumb photos and stuff up. Like, you wouldn’t treat people that way 20, 30 years ago.

Twenty, 30 years ago, if someone asked you out and you weren’t interested, you wouldn’t send a package to their house, “Here’s some photos of me and my friends at the beach. Here’s a photo of a puppy I saw on the street. Here’s a bunch of photos of me and some other guy. Am I fucking him? Maybe.

[smiles deviously]

Why don’t you think about that for a few hours? So that’s it man.

Anyone here that’s single, they have some version of that nonsense in their phone, right?

[pauses]

Clap if you’re single and you met someone in the past few days, past week or so, and you’ve been texting back and forth. Clap if that’s your situation. Clap right now.

[scattered applause]

Okay…If you’re in that situation, do me a favor right now. Pull out your phone, and scroll to the very, very first message that you have with this person. And when you get to the very, very, very first message, come on to the front stage over here [points] through this aisle here. So, go ahead, pull out your phone, scroll to the very first message, when you get to the first message, come to the front, right here, in front of this gentleman here. Miss, you at the top message? Yeah?Alright, so how long ago did you meet this person?

[Woman] “Uh, September 2nd.”

September 2nd. Okay, so let’s see what happened okay?

[he begins scrolling through her phone]

So…he sends the first message. He sends it Tuesday, September 2nd at 11:26 pm. Odd time to send a first message.

[audience laughing]

He says,“Hey, Ashley, dot-dot-dot, it’s Chris” He said his last name but I don’t wanna repeat it in case he gets murdered. “Hey, Ashley, dot-dot-dot.” I like that, “dot-dot-dot.” “Hey, Ashley…”

[devious smile]

Mmm-hmm…“It’s Chris. It was nice to hang — It was — ”

[chuckling]

It started so smooth. “Hey, Ashley, dot-dot-dot, it’s Chris.” And then he does,

[nasal voice]

“It was nice to hanging with you…” Chris, NO! PROOFREAD!

[nasaly voice again]

“it was nice to — ” His voice changes for the rest of the bit now, after that. Earlier it was,

[husky voice]

“Hey, Ashley, it’s Chris.” Now it’s,

[nasal voice]

“Hey, Ashley, it’s Chris. It was nice to hanging with you at BM. Hope you’re recovering well. Let’s grab a coffee sometime.” And then you send a text back the next day at 1:05pm.

You say, “Hey, exclamation. Glad you made it out alive. Headed to Soho House with Erica now. I’m also around after 6:00 tomorrow or in the afternoon Friday.”

Whoa! You must really like this guy!

[laughing]

Who the fuck…

[Ashley is laughing hysterically]

Who the fuck opens up their schedule that much?

[Aziz giggles on stage]

If the Dalai Lama was like, “I really wanna get tea with you sometime, Aziz,” I’d be like, “Uh, let’s just check in next week, Dalai Lama.”

And so then, he sends a message, Thursday at 11:55am and he goes, “I thought I’d see you at Marquee last night.”

[chuckling]

And then, he tries to send…Sorry, all these places sound kind of douchey. I’m really sorry.

[audience laughing]

No judgements here, but,

[philosophically]

It’s not like, “I thought I’d see you at that MoMA exhibit.” It’s like,

[intense voice]

“Why weren’t you at the club? There was a foam party!”

[Aziz laughs]

And then…you guys text back and forth, you get the coffee. Did you guys get the coffee?

[Ashley] “Uh, yeah.”

And how was the coffee? Did you have fun?

[Ashley]

It was okay.

[Aziz]

It was just okay?

[Ashley shrugs]

Alright, so let’s see where things are right now, okay? Yesterday, 9:44pm.

[rolls eyes while reading]

“So, what did we miss at Marquee last night?” God damn it, Ashley, go to some better places. Quit wasting your life in these shitty clubs. No, no, no, it’s fine. And then he says, “Is that what you’re up to tonight?”

And then you say, “I’m on my way to the Aziz show at MSG.”
[audience cheering] [Aziz laughs]
And he goes, “Oh, okay, dot-dot-dot. Enjoy.” [pauses] Ashley, I think I speak for everyone here when I say, fuck this guy.
[audience cheering] [laughing]
Thank you very much for sharing that with us, Ashley.

So that’s it, man. That’s what everyone has to deal with now. When they meet someone, they have to engage in that kind of stuff. And I was in that world for a long time. And it can be fun, but it can get frustrating. And now I’m in a different world, now I’m in a relationship, and the rela —

[audience clapping]

Aziz Ansari and his girlfriend, Courtney McBroom

Don’t do that shit. Don’t clap. That is so rude to all the single people here. I used to do stand-up where I said I was single, no one ever clapped, no one said shit.

No one was like, “Get it, Aziz! Fuck everybody! Now is your time!”

Both things are very fun. It’s fun being single, it’s fun being in a relationship. They’re both fun, alright? But I’m in the relationship right now and the relationship’s going great. But it’s also fairly new, it’s about a year and a few months.

I feel like whenever you talk to people in longer relationships, there always like, “Oh, my God. Those first few years are such a magical time. You have to enjoy that. It’s so amazing.”

And it’s weird being in the magical zone, and knowing that the magic is gonna change soon. You know what I mean? Like, right now, things are crazy. Like, right now, um, you know, last time I was in New York, there was a bad snowstorm, and I stepped in this huge puddle of sludge and my foot got soaked. And the first thing I did was I sent her text.

I said, “You know how you feel days like today, when you step in a puddle of sludge and your foot gets soaked? Every second with you feels like the opposite of that.”

[audience]

Aw! And yes, that’s a little cheesy or whatever, but I’m just sharing that so you know, that’s where my heart is, right? But what’s weird is knowing that that text will eventually change, right? Like, people in long relationships, doesn’t that text eventually change? Doesn’t that text eventually become like, “Fuck! I stepped in some sludge.

[groans]

Do we have to get dinner with you friends? Can you tell them I died in a hovercraft accident? I never wanna see ‘em again. Why do we always hang out with my friends?

[with emphasis]

‘Cause they’re better people!”

But I hope we’re able to maintain some version of that love as things go on, ‘cause it’s an amazing thing. It’s so beautiful to get messages like that.

She sent me a message one time, she said, “You feel like home to me. Even if we’re in a hotel or something, I feel like I’m home, ‘cause I’m with you. And when I wake up and I see your face, I remember that I’m home. That’s one of the reasons I love you so much.”

[pauses]

She sent me that when I went away for five minutes to take a shit. You realize how awesome it is to be shitting and to read a message like that? It was like waste was leaving my body and love was coming in. It was…an amazing feeling.

Did you guys know there’s actually two different types of love? There is, it’s true. There’s two different types of love. There’s passionate love and there’s companion love. Passionate love is like the crazy love you feel when you first meet someone and you’re going crazy, you’re just like,

[hands in the air excited]

“Ahh!”

But that eventually calms down into something different called companion love, which is not worse, it’s just different, less intense. And, you know, it’s kind of a bummer, but I get it. I understand why we have the two different types of love. You couldn’t just have the crazy love your whole life, ‘cause then society wouldn’t function, right? We’d all just be in our homes, just staring at each other like…

[laughing maniacally, rocking back and forth while standing]

And the streets would just be filled with homeless children eating garbage, riding large animals. I get it. So that’s why we have two different types of love. But when I first heard about that, I was like, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to just have the crazy stuff for a while?”

Like, what would that be like? Maybe, instead of having one long relationship, you have a bunch of shorter relationships. Your graph of love and happiness is just like,

[up and down motion, like a graph]

boom, boom, boom!

But, you know, I don’t think you can do that graph. I’ve tried to do that graph, I’ve seen friends try to do that graph. And, yes, it can be a lot of fun for a while, but eventually that graph gets weird. You know, eventually that graph becomes something like this. You know, it’s like,

[excited, masculine voice]

“Oh shit!

[hang motions of a climbing graph]

Me and the boys, we’re going out tonight. This bar’s gonna be crazy. This bar’s gonna be crazy. This bar’s gonna be crazy. This bar’s gonna be crazy. This bar’s gonna be crazy. This bar’s gonna be crazy.

[graph stays at the high points]

Oh, my God, there’s so many hot girls here. Yeah, this one girl is really into me. Yeah, we’re going home together.

[hand slowly starts to decline as if a new, negative line on the graph]

Yeah, we’re having sex. Yeah, I’m coming! I’m coming! I’m coming! I’m coming! I’m coming! I’m coming! I’m coming!

[shoots hand up higher so the graph is positive again]

I came!

[graph then descends negatively again A LOT]

[graph flatlines]

This feels empty, this feels empty, this feels empty. I gotta get out of here! I gotta get out of here! This feels empty, this feels empty, this feels empty. Okay, okay, okay!

[graph starts slowly climbing positively again]

I got out of there. I got out of there.

[continues climbing]

I just got some brunch. I just got some brunch.

[stays at the same place]

I’m drinking some water, I’m drinking some coconut water. I’m getting hyyyyydrated. That’s right, I’m getting hyyyyyrated. I’m ready to run it back! That’s right!

[graph starts climbing again]

Night two, me and the boys, we’re going out tonight! This bar’s gonna be crazy. This bar’s gonna be crazy. This bar’s gonna be crazy. This bar’s gonna be crazy. This bar’s gonna be —

[graph drops suddenly]

Okay, no one’s really out tonight. Okay, so, uh…More of a low-key type situation. Okay, me and the boys will just get drunk by ourselves. No shame there.

[graph keeps dropping]

[scowls]

Okay, it’s getting little bit weird, uh…

[graph jumps up again]

We’ll just get some tacos. Tacos are delicious.”

You wake up the next morning,

[lowers graph]

“Oh, my God! Why did I eat three quesadillas then a bowl of cereal? That was really unnecessary. Okay, well…

[gets really personal, soft inflection in his voice]

I’m just gonna go back to bed. I feel like garbage, and uh…God, you know, this is fun, hooking up with these hot girls or whatever, but frankly, I wish…I just had someone I really cared about, that I could hold. But I don’t’ have that person, so…

[graph jumps up again]

I’m just gonna jerk off

[graph lowers again]

and go to bed.”

[audience applauding]

So now, I’m trying the relationship graph. But the relationship graph is fucked up too. Like, if you take the traditional definition of a successful relationship, and you put it in that graph, that graph is fucked up too. This is that graph, okay? You meet the person…

[graph shoots up super high, above his head]

“Oh, my God, all these experiences are amazing! All these experiences are amazing! All these experiences are amazing! All these experiences are amazing!

[graph starts to slowly decline]

All these — Okay. Some of the experiences are getting repetitive. Some of the experiences are getting repetitive. But you know what? I love this person so much.

[graph starts slowly moving up again (not as high as originally)]

We’re getting married! Yeah! We’re getting married! Oh, my God, we have a wedding! All our friends came! This is so fun! I can’t believe it! I’m a a husband. I have a wife. Oh, my God, this is the great —

[graph drops to his hip level, freaks out]

Oh, my God, we just had a kid! Oh, my God, we just had a kid!

[graph bounces up and down a little]

Oh, my God, we just had a kid! Oh, my God, we just had a kid! Oh, my God, this is so hard! Oh, my God, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Oh, my God! Oh, my God!

[graph starts to slowly raise up to original point]

Okay, okay, okay! The kid’s walking around and talking and saying stuff. This is amazing. I’ve never felt so proud of anything in my entire lifeeeeeeee.

[graph drops down knee-level]

Oh, my God, we just had another kid!

[graph bounces up and down]

Oh, my God, we just had another kid! Oh, my God, we just had another kid! Oh, my God, we just had another kid! Why did we stop using the birth control? That was so stupid! And why did we think it would be easier the second time around? This is not analogous at all! There is now two goddamn people at the same goddamn time! It’s so much harder!

We gotta — Oh, my God, we gotta pay for all the stuff! How does anyone afford children? We gotta get them into a good kindergarten. What the fuck’s a good kindergarten? They just sing songs! Who is fucking that up?! Okay, okay, okay, okay,

[graph begins rising again]

we got them into the good kindergarten. We got them into the good kindergarten. We got them in. Now they’re in elementary school. They’re drawing pictures and stuff, this is pretty cool. Okay, now they’re in adolescence.

[drops down again to chest level]

Oh, these kids are fucking pricks! I fucking hate these kids! I want them to die! I want them to die! I want my whole family to die! I don’t’ really want them to die. I just wanna feel what if would feel like

[intensely]

to murder every single person I live with. Okay, I can’t do that. I can’t do that.

[graph begins climbing again slowly]

Okay, now they’re in high school. They’re in high school now. This is good, they’re in high school, a little bit older. I can hang out with them. Oh, God.

[graph drops slightly, Aziz looks scared]

One of the kids might be having sex. Yeah, he might be doing drugs. I gotta put spyware on his phone to make sure he’s not messing around. This is my life now. I gotta read this mess whenever I get home from work.

‘Hey, what’s going on?’

‘Nothing. You wanna come hang out later?’

‘Maybe.’

‘Alright.’

‘Well — ’

[flips out]

Will you fucking buy some weed already so I can justify this use of my time?

[graph climbs a little]

[Aziz sounds relieved]

Okay, okay! One of the kids is going to college. He’s gone, he’s gone. Oh, shit, the other kid’s gone. They’re both gone. It’s just us in the house together again. We’re spending time together again.

[sings as the graph reaches the top point again]

We’ve refound our passionate love! Finally, we can travel the world!

[graph sinks again]

I’m too tired to travel the world. Let’s just take it easy. Let’s just take it easy. Let’s just take it easy in the house. It’s fine.

[graph raises again]

We got the house to ourselves. This is good. You know, it’s okay. It’s kind of boring, but it’s good. We don’t’ have to work and stuff. It’s okay. It’s fine, the kids come to visit every now and then, it’s okay. Okay.

[graph starts declining]

[his voice becomes soft and saddened]

Oh, God. Oh, God, my wife is sick. Oh, no, my wife’s sick. Oh, no, my wife just passed. Oh, God, I’m all by myself. I’m so alone. Oh, God, I’m sick now too. I’m sick now too. I can’t even walk. I can’t even walk. I’ve walked my entire life, and now I can’t even walk.

[graph jumps to above his head again]

[excitedly]

But now I get to get one of those Rascal scooters! I’m gonna drive that mtoherfucker everywhere!”

New York, thank you so much!

[audience cheering]

[Aziz waves]

Thank you again for coming out, I really do appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you.

[audience stands and continues to applause]

You guys can sit down. Thank you so much.

Um, serious question here. Has anyone here ever seen a ghost? I love ghost stories. Someone once told me and my girlfriend this really scary ghost story about a little boy. And it was so scary, and she gets really scared of ghosts. So, I started doing this thing where every now and then we’re asleep, I’ll just wake her up in the middle of the night and I’ll just be like,

[knocking motion]

“Hey. Hey, hey, hey. Hey, boo…

[deviously points]

what’s that little boy doing over there?”

And she hates it! And I love it! And I do it all the time. What I’d really like to do, though, one day, is… And this is like something, I don’t know if it might be too messed up to do, but, um…She’s, like, the nicest, sweetest person. Anytime I need a drink in the middle of the night, she’s always like, “Oh, I’ll go down and get it.”

I’m always like, “No, no, it’s fine. I’ll get it.” But what if, one night, I was like,

[smiles]

“Yeah, can you go down and get it?” And then she goes downstairs, and there, unbeknownst to her…

[smiles deviously]

I’ve hired a little boy.

[audience laughing]

And he’s wearing, like, old-timey clothes. And as soon as she gets downstairs, he’s just like,

[whiny kid voice]

“Mommy, where have you been?”

[grunts]

I wanna do it so bad! But I can’t! I’ve thought it through, there’s three reasons why I can’t do it. One, I would never wanna scare anyone that bad, right? That’s a terrifying thing. Two, if I did pull it off, I’d live in eternal fear over what the fuck she was gonna do to get back at me. ‘Cause I’m pretty sure she’s not gonan let that one slide. And three, this is probably the biggest reason not to do it,

[intensely]

she would murder the little boy. Like, the little boy’s dead. So, I don’t think I can do it. I’m a good boyfriend though. She’s never really been upset with me about anything, that I can think of. The only time I remember she was kind of mad was once, when I was flying from New York to New Zealand. I was gonna be gone for a while to go to a wedding. I was calling her when I was on the plane to talk to her before we took off, and I got her voicemail, so I texted her.

I was, like, “Hey, it’s me. Just wanted to talk before the flight took off.” And she texts me back and says, “I called you four hours ago.” And I could tell she was upset, ‘cause she also included the emoji of the Indian guy with the gun beside his head.

[shakes finger]

This tipped me off. So I called her back and I was like, “What’s up with that? Why you gotta say that? What did I do?”

She’s like, “I called you four hours ago.”

I was like, “I know. I was busy packing and everything. I knew I’d have time to call you when I got on the plane. That’s why I waited.”

She’s like, “Oh, you were busy? You were busy. Well, I looked on your friend’s Instagram

[audience laughs]

and he posted a photo of you hanging out by the pool, snapping Polaroids. So, I feel like, if you have time to hang out by the pool nd play with your Polaroid camera, I think you have time to call me back.”

And I was like, “Okay, I’m sorry.”

Cut to a week later. It’s Valentine’s Day, I’ve done all this romantic stuff, and it’s time for us to exchange gifts.

[pretends to be holding a present]

I have her gift, it’s all wrapped up, and I’m just like, uh…“So, hey, remember, like, a week ago, you were upset that…I didn’t call you back and I was hanging out by the pool, playing with a Polaroid camera?Well, the reason I was doing that is, I bought you this nice vintage Polaroid camera and I just wanted to make sure it worked before I gave it to you.

[giving motion]

So, here’s your gift.”

[swoops hand back]

Fuck you!

And she felt horrible, which is the greatest Valentine’s Day gift I’ve ever received.

New York, thank you again!

[Aziz waves, audience cheers]

This was awesome. Thank you guys again so much for coming out.

[French pop music playing]

Thank you very, very much.

[more cheering, Aziz continues to wave]

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. This was fucking awesome. Thanks.

[bows]

Good night.

[Aziz makes a waving motion]

[confetti falls from ceiling]

[man comes out on stage followed by a woman]

These are my parents.

Aziz with his parents

[audience cheers]

[Aziz hugs his parents]

[They all wave]

Thank you again. Good night.

[pans out to the people and the falling confetti]

[credits play]

Harris Wittels (April 20th, 1984-February 19th, 2015) was a writer and executive producer for Parks and Recreation

Over a decade has passed since Aziz started out his career in comedy. Gone are the years of preforming in Greenwich Village to a tiny crowd or to small theatres that seat 1,000 people. On his fame, Aziz remarks that he attributes so much to his parents. Aziz says, “it’s all because 35, 40 years ago, my dad was like ‘I want to move to America,’ and my mom was like ‘O.K.’ I don’t think a lot of kids think about that or thank their parents for that sacrifice.” In Indian culture there is an overwhelming respect for the elderly, but specifically, parents. Due to this huge amount of respect for them, Aziz wants his parents to be part of his stand-up as a small tribute to everything they’ve given up for him; which is why Aziz mentioned them in the beginning and brought them out on stage at the very end. Watching the shock and happiness on their faces as they stepped out to greet the crowd and receive a huge from their son was a heartwarming moment for all as they took in the 12,000 person crowd.

Many have asked: by preforming at MSG, has Aziz reached a new level of achievement? In a New York Times interview, Aziz remarked on preforming at MSG, “a comedian may perform in bigger and bigger spaces, but none of these things mean you’re great.” Aziz argues that no matter where you preform or how many seats have been sold, the only thing that a comedian should be focusing on is the jokes. Chris Rock, when mentoring Aziz for this performance agreed and said, “Balloons inflate. That doesn’t mean they’re skyscrapers. I always tell guys: ‘Don’t get too caught up on how many seats you’re playing. Think about the jokes.’”

Therefore, according to both Aziz and Chris Rock on his greatness, yes and no — yes, Aziz is successful, but success is based on how much work you put into your product, not where it’s sold. Across the board, reception of Aziz’s performance at the Garden was very positive. David Sims of The Atlantic said, “The quality of his comedy is actually starting to catch up with the level of his fame,” while on Netflix, Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden has received an rating on 3.6/5 stars since being released in early March. In the coming months, more reviews and articles will be produced from different viewer’s perspectives, which will challenge Aziz as a stand-up comedian and perhaps even give him more heartfelt and relatable material for his next works.

Sources

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  2. Aziz Ansari. “RIP Harris Wittels. 1984–2015.” http://azizisbored.tumblr.com Tumblr. February 20th, 2015. March 29th, 2015.
  3. Aziz Ansari. http://instagram.com/azizansari Instagram. March 29th, 2015.
  4. Dan Charles. “The Making of Meat Eating America.” http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/06/26/155720538/the-making-of-meat-eating-america NPR. NPR. June 26th, 2012. March 17th, 2014.
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  6. Samantha Grossman. “Aziz Ansari Explains Why He’s a Feminist and Why We Don’t Need to Be Scared of That Word” http://time.com/3478159/aziz-ansari-feminism-jay-z-beyonce/ Time Magazine. October 7th, 2014. March 18th, 2015.
  7. George Gurley. “Comedy Issue: Why Aziz Ansari Can Headline Madison Square Garden.” http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/6091825/aziz-ansari-comedy-issue-video Billboard. May 16th, 2014. March 16th, 2015.
  8. Dave Itzkoff. “A Young Comic Joins and Exclusive Club.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/arts/television/aziz-ansari-prepares-for-madison-square-garden.html?_r=0 The New York Times. October 3rd, 2014. March 29th, 2015.
  9. Alexis Kleinman. “26 Percent of Young Women Report That They have Been Stalked Online.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/22/women-harassed-online_n_6028642.html The Huffington Post. October 22nd, 2014. March 17th, 2015.
  10. Adam Mars. “Once Upon A Time, We Weren’t Stalkers.” http://www.gusfordgallery.com/exhibitions/16/installation_shots/ Gusford Gallery. November 7th, 2014. March 17th, 2015.
  11. Xiao-Li Meng. “A (Hopefully) Well Accepted Statistical Theory of Rejection.” http://www.stat.harvard.edu/Site_Content/TheoryFoRejection.pdf Harvard. March 26th, 2015.
  12. Darla Murray. “A Heart-to-Heart About Feminism With Aziz Ansari.” http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/q-and-a/a37545/aziz-ansari-feminism-interview/ Cosmopolitan. March 10th, 2015. March 21st, 2015.
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  15. User: doug_not_funny. “Aziz Ansari’s vegetarian stand-up comedy bit in his new Netflix special. Is the first step of overcoming cognitive dissonance to realize the dissonance exists in the first place?” https://www.reddit.com/r/vegan/comments/2y9gf7/aziz_ansaris_vegetarian_standup_comedy_bit_in_his/ Reddit. March 12th, 2015. March 18th, 2015.
  16. Olivia Wilson. “10 Male Comedians Who Think Sexist Jokes Are Funny.” http://www.crushable.com/2014/03/12/entertainment/sexism-in-comedy-misogyny/ Crushable. March 21st, 2015.
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