In Aziz Ansari’s new comedy special he exudes the humility of someone who has taken a long hard look at themselves. Spike Jonze directed the special, and it shows, the picture has gritty personality in an age of crisp, clean, high-def presentations. It’s everything you could want from a stand-up performance from start to finish.
Aziz opens by addressing the claim of “sexual misconduct” from 2018. Being that the story has already been given too much attention there’s no need to rehash every detail but if you’re unfamiliar, the so-called “misconduct” was an anonymous account of a cringey bad date and sexual encounter that the accuser had with Ansari. The woman and others tried to attach her experience to the valid, necessary #MeToo movement and in solidarity with survivors, many people “canceled” Ansari. What’s more important is the tone Aziz adopts when speaking of the unfortunate misunderstanding at the start of the outstandingly funny, culturally astute hour-long special. Instead of being defensive he pointed out how it made him examine his behavior and said he felt bad that the accuser felt the way she did.
With that out of the way, he proceeds into the most affable ribbing of 2019 culture in America. In an audience of mixed races, Ansari pokes fun at white people but states that “This edition of white people is trying the hardest”. He’s not mean or alienating, rather, he just clarifies that white over-compensation to support People of Color feels like a weird game being played trying to gain points for basic human decency and awareness of racial disparity. All of his jokes are not aimed at one specific group though, everyone is fair game, himself included. It’s refreshing to watch a comedian point out past jokes that were problematic, as Aziz does when he talks about fat-shaming his little cousin Harris or a specific scene from his time on “Parks and Rec”. He points out how past standards for what was okay and what was funny aren’t okay when you look at them through “2019 eyes”.While a cynic might say that he’s just trying to get out in front of any other issue that could arise, another person will see this attempt as encouraging the general public not to judge harshly about something that was acceptable 5 or 10 years ago. To that point, he hilariously clarifies that there are some things that are never acceptable, even if everyone looked the other way at the time.
The phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” is incredibly true for the captivating special due to Ansari’s pacing and just how a talented comedian he really is. Aziz still maintains his unique rhythm but he now has a greater emotional range that includes depth and sincerity melodically arranged with observations of the absurd. The special is heartfelt and mature, displaying a dimension that he previously seemed to lack. It’s nice to see him come out on the other side of what could have been career-ending appearing expanded as a performer rather than diminished or embittered. “Aziz Ansari Right Now” is debuted on Netflix on July, 9 and was filmed that the Brooklyn dates of his sold-out “Road to Nowhere” tour. This is must-see comedy entertainment – I’m not just saying that for white people points.