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Aziz Ansari: 'The sense of humour here is pretty similar to the States'

The Conversation

By Sally Newall

The 32-year-old Parks and Recreation star on his new series, not being a dating guru and the wonders of Netflix.

Q: So your new comedy Master of None is based on a New York actor (Dev) who's not particularly great at life - how autobiographical is it?

A: Any comedian, when they take their viewpoint and work it into a narrative, uses things based on their experiences and that's what helped the research. There are so many things that are based on things that happened to me. I don't know if there's any point listing things that did happen to me and didn't happen to me, that would be very long and might not mean anything to anyone. Any comedian, whether they're are Chris Rock in Top Five or Woody Allen in Annie Hall or Amy Schumer in Train Wreck, are all characters that are somewhat similar to the comedians and have story points that are influenced by their real lives.

Q: Do you anticipate that people will confuse you with Dev?

A: That's always the thing, whenever you do a comedy thing people just yell things at you to do with the TV show, so I'll be curious to see what people choose to yell. I hope people don't just randomly yell Dev, that's just kind of weird.

Q: Your character's love life has its ups and downs. Since writing your book Modern Romance: An Investigation, do your single friends ask you dating advice?

A: I don't think people consider me a dating guru. I think everybody dealing with dating will ask their friends "what should I write?", "what do you think about this?" You're all kind of confused and you have no one to ask but your friends to help you make sense of it all.

Q: You wrote a lot about dating apps, are you ever a Tinder tourist these days?

A: No.

Q: Not even a cheeky look to see what this 'superlike' stuff is all about?

A: When we did the book we looked at that stuff. I haven't looked at it since.

Q: Do you miss Jon Stewart on The Daily Show (Ansari interned on the show and has appeared on it several times)?

A: That's really very random and absolutely nothing to do with my work. I see clips here and there but I'm not like a daily viewer or anything.

Q: Thanks to Parks and Recreation, you have lots of UK fans. Any plans to do more stand-up over in the UK?

A: I'd like to tour again. I hope people over there like the show. What's kinda cool about Netflix is that things premiere at the same time, so it will go out in the UK on the same day.

Q: You've done some big shows in the UK. How do you find British audiences compared to those across the pond?

A: It's the same. I mean you guys have the same… stuff, over there. You guys have a pretty similar sense of humour. I don't know, here I feel like there's so much overlap in the entertainment we watch, our sense of humours are pretty similar. You spend more time in London, and I spend more time in America, I'm not informed enough to properly answer.

Q: Your parents appear in the show. Did you give them lots of advice to prepare them for life on set?

A: Sure yeah, they had never acted before. My dad's in a few episodes, you can see how he gets more comfortable and got to be more comfortable as we went along.

Q: Have you planned what's going to happen to Dev in the future?

A: No. We have just finished the first season, so we'll just wait and see what happens when it comes out. I just hope people like it. I'll see whether we're going to do a second season and I'll think about it then. I wrote this season based on things I was thinking about in the last year or so. So whenever we do a second season, I'll base it on what's happening then, I can't really think about the next seven years or anything like that.

The Plug

Aziz Ansari began his career in comedy performing as a stand-up in New York in 2000. He is best-known for appearing alongside Amy Poehler as a regular character in the US sitcom Parks and Recreation and released his first book ‘Modern Romance: An Investigation’ about dating in the modern world earlier this year. Master of None, his new series, premiered yesterday on Netflix

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