Aziz Ansari avoids lashing out like Louis C.K. in new tour
Stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari kicked off his first tour since facing sexual assault allegations in early 2018 in Boston this week.
A little over a year after he was accused of sexual assault, Aziz Ansari is embarking on a new stand-up comedy tour.
The Parks and Recreation and Master of None star hasn't entirely avoided performing since the accusations first broke in January 2018, as reports of pop-up shows in New York have been commonplace. As these and other accounts of his new sets have indicated, however, he isn't lashing out like fellow disgraced comic Louis C.K. In fact, it sounds like Ansari is taking the matter seriously and actually addressing it.
That's precisely what the 35-year-old comedian did during Wednesday's show at the Chevalier Theatre in Medford, Massachusetts, just north of Boston.
"I was walking around earlier in the day and I was recognized by a guy," Ansari told the packed house. "He said, 'I love your show on Netflix!' And I was like, 'Thanks.' Then he said, 'Yeah, I loved the episode you did on Supreme.'"
Of course, none of the episodes in Ansari's two seasons of Master of None are specifically about the popular streetwear brand. Former Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj's topic show Patriot Act, however, does include an episode entirely devoted to the label.
As Ansari recalls the story, the fan quickly realized his mistake and tried to backtrack by listing all of the things that the comedian was actually known for. The "performative wokeness" that followed served as another example of the topic and its failings, which the comedian spent much of the set discussing.
It's a subject that, as The New Yorker observed in October, Ansari has been grappling with for the past few months in his pop-up performances. Considering the nature of the allegations that were levied against him in January 2018, and the debates about #MeToo and journalistic ethics that soon followed, it comes as no surprise that Ansari would be interested in these particular themes.
Yet to his credit, he never pulled a C.K. and simply brought up these topics in order to "destroy" them with his platform. Instead, Ansari seems to have actually spent a good deal of time grappling with what the woman who identified herself as "Grace" had claimed about him. After all, his story about being mistaken for Hasan Minhaj ends with the nervous fan including "sexual assault" among Ansari's list of accolades and the comedian comically shriveling up in response.
"I've been thinking a lot about this stuff over the past year, and I'm really thankful that you're all here tonight because there was a time when I didn't think I'd be able to do this anymore," Ansari told the Chevalier Theatre audience. "But a friend told me that since this happened, he'd been re-thinking every single date he'd ever been on. I don't think that's a bad thing."
The first of four shows scheduled for the venue, Wednesday's performance was also the first official stop for Ansari's Road to Nowhere tour. His first official tour since last year's accusations, it boasts dates up and down the east and west coasts, throughout middle America and parts of Canada between now and late April.
Tour dates and tickets for Aziz Ansari's Road to Nowhere tour are available here.