With the advent of social media and the ubiquitous nature of cell phones, comedians have found it more difficult to try out new jokes and push the envelope with their stand-up material.
In an age where political correctness occasionally reigns supreme, some entertainers walk a fine line when it comes to trying out new material. Some comedians have made a conscious decision to try out controversial jokes, which has occasionally backfired. Others have opted for more politically correct routines, which sometimes draws criticism from long-time fans.
Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor Aziz Ansari recently decided to address a semi-recent scandal, and by some accounts, Ansari’s sense of professionalism allowed him to address a somewhat touchy subject.
As reported by Vulture, Ansari recently announced that he would be performing at a “pop-up” show in New York, with only 200 guests in attendance. Similar to shows he recently performed in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., this more low-key affair was designed to allow the comedian to try out new material and figure out how to combine it into a workable set. As Vulture notes, this series of informal shows will likely be his last for some time, as he is set to begin an extensive tour in the coming months.
During his recent set at the Village Underground, Ansari brought up sexual misconduct allegations brought against him, using a joke centered around someone mistaking him for comedian Hasan Minhaj and his show, Patriot Act.
During a show Monday night, Aziz Ansari addressed the sexual-misconduct allegation made against him last year: "It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person" https://t.co/UiPSQ6jOXY
— Vulture (@vulture) February 16, 2019
Shortly after, the comedian’s tone changed, as he brought up the aforementioned allegations. He explained that he had avoided bringing it up in the past because he wanted to take the time to figure out what he wanted to say. Secondly, he confessed that it was a scary thing to talk about.
“There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way,” Ansari explained. “But you know, after a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person.”
Ansari recalled a conversation in which a friend told him it made him rethink every date he’s been on.
“If that has made not just me but other guys think about this, and just be more thoughtful and aware and willing to go that extra mile, and make sure someone else is comfortable in that moment, that’s a good thing.”
Ansari added that he was grateful for the opportunities he has to perform comedy. He also confessed that while he used to offhandedly thank his audience at the end of shows, his show of gratitude resonates with him more now. He thanked the audience for taking the time to come listen to him perform and also referenced the Yondr pouches that some comedians mandate when they perform. As previously reported on by PBS, some comedians — Ansari included — use lockable pouches at their shows, requiring audience members to lock up their own cell phones.
“There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way,” Ansari said at a “pop-up” show in New York on Monday night. https://t.co/i6bv04FlnP
— Vox (@voxdotcom) February 14, 2019
Other outlets — Vox, for instance — also reported on Ansari’s recent performances, and how he did an admirable job addressing the aforementioned sexual misconduct allegations.