Aziz Ansari

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Aziz Ansari
Aziz Ansari 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Ansari at the 2012 Time 100 gala
Born (1983-02-23) February 23, 1983 (age 32)
Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, television, film
Alma mater New York University
Years active 2004–present
Genres Observational comedy, improvisational comedy
Subject(s) Everyday life, self-deprecation, American culture, pop culture
Notable works and roles Randy Springs in Funny People
Various in Human Giant
Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation
Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening
Host of the 2010 MTV Movie Awards
Chet in 30 Minutes or Less

Aziz Ishmael Ansari (born February 23, 1983) is an American actor and comedian. He stars as Tom Haverford on the NBC show Parks and Recreation.

Ansari began his career performing standup comedy in New York City during the summer of 2000 while attending New York University. In 2007, he created and starred in the critically acclaimed MTV sketch comedy show Human Giant, which ran for two seasons. This led to acting roles in feature films, including Funny People, I Love You, Man, Observe and Report, and 30 Minutes or Less.

In addition to his acting work, Ansari has continued to work as a standup comedian. He released his debut CD/DVD, entitled Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening, in January 2010 on Comedy Central Records, and still tours nationally between acting commitments. In 2010 and 2011, he performed his Dangerously Delicious tour. This tour was self-released for download on his website in March 2012 and debuted on Comedy Central in May 2012. He completed his third major tour of new material, Buried Alive, in the summer of 2013.

Early life[edit]

Aziz Ansari was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to a Tamil Muslim family from Tamil Nadu, India.[1][2][3] His mother, Fatima, works in a medical office, and his father, Shoukath, is a gastroenterologist.[4] Ansari grew up in Bennettsville, South Carolina.[5] where he attended Marlboro Academy as well as the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics.[6] He graduated from New York University with a major in marketing.[1] Ansari has described himself as an atheist.[7]


Early career[edit]

He frequently performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, as well as weekly shows such as Invite Them Up. In 2005, Rolling Stone included him in their annual "Hot List" as their choice for the "Hot Standup",[8] and he won the Jury Award for "Best Standup" at HBO's 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado.[9][10]

Human Giant[edit]

From left to right, Human Giant '​s Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel, Jason Woliner, and Paul Scheer in May 2007

Around the summer of 2005, Ansari began collaborating with fellow comedians Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer (both from the improv troupe Respecto Montalban), as well as director Jason Woliner to make short films. The first series created by the group was Shutterbugs, which followed Huebel and Ansari as cutthroat child talent agents. This was followed up by the Illusionators, which starred Ansari and Scheer as Criss Angel–style goth magicians. In mid-2006, MTV greenlit a sketch series from the group, which debuted April 5, 2007. The critically acclaimed show completed two seasons and the group was offered a third season, but it opted to pursue other opportunities.

Parks and Recreation[edit]

In June 2008, Ansari was announced as the first cast hire for NBC's new comedy from producers of The Office.[11] The show, Parks and Recreation, debuted in April 2009 with Ansari portraying government employee Tom Haverford. Ansari's performance has received notable praise from critics, including Entertainment Weekly naming him one of 2009's "Breakout TV Stars", TV Guide naming him a "Scene Stealer" and Yahoo! TV placing him in the number one spot on their list of "TV MVPS".[12]

MTV Movie Awards[edit]

On June 6, 2010, Ansari hosted the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. The show opened with a spoof of the film Precious with Ansari appearing as Aziz "Precious" Ansari. Ansari also created the short film Stunt Kidz, which reunited him with his Human Giant castmates. A second short film was also made with actor Zach Galifianakis in which Ansari portrayed Taavon, Galfianakis' "swagger coach". He accepted Galifianakis' award for Best Comedic Performance in character as Taavon. Ansari also performed a musical tribute to the film Avatar in the style of singer R. Kelly.

Other notable television work[edit]

Aziz Ansari at the 71st Annual Peabody Awards Luncheon 2012

In addition to his work on Parks and Recreation, Ansari appeared on the HBO series Flight of the Conchords[11] as a xenophobic fruit vendor who had difficulty telling the difference between Australians and New Zealanders. He had a recurring role in season eight of the ABC sitcom Scrubs as Ed, a new intern at the hospital. Ansari's character was written off the show so he could work on Parks and Recreation.

In August 2011, Ansari made a cameo appearance in the music video for "Otis" by Jay-Z and Kanye West from their collaborated album, Watch the Throne.

Film career[edit]

Ansari has made appearances in several films, including Get Him to the Greek, I Love You, Man, 30 Minutes or Less, and Observe and Report. In the summer of 2009, Ansari appeared in the Judd Apatow film Funny People with Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen. Apatow liked Ansari's character, "Randy", and commissioned him and Human Giant collaborator Jason Woliner to create online shorts centered around his character, to promote the film. These shorts proved successful and the character became the subject of one of the film ideas Ansari and Woliner are currently developing for Apatow Productions. Two other ideas in development are Let's Do This, a road movie about two motivational speakers, and an untitled film about two disgraced astronauts who must return to space to clear their names.[13] Ansari is also attached to star in another film with Danny McBride based on an idea from Ansari and 30 Rock writer Matt Hubbard. Parks and Recreation writer Harris Wittels is currently scripting the project.[14] In April 2010, it was announced that Ansari would star in the film 30 Minutes or Less. The film was directed by Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and co-starred Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride. The film was released on August 12, 2011.

Stand-up comedy[edit]

Ansari in September 2008

Even amongst various acting commitments, Ansari has continued performing and touring as a standup comedian. In 2006 and 2007, he toured with the Comedians of Comedy and Flight of the Conchords. In the fall of 2008 and early 2009, Ansari headlined his own comedy tour, the Glow in the Dark Tour. The material on this tour became the basis for a DVD/CD special for Comedy Central. The set, titled Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening, aired January 17, 2010, with a CD/LP/DVD release on January 19.[15]

Ansari's comedy style tends to focus on aspects of his personal life. "I like talking about things that are going on in my life, because that's always going to be different and original", he says. "No one else is gonna be talking about my personal experiences".[16]

In July 2010, Ansari began a new tour, Dangerously Delicious, which was in theaters across the United States; stops included the Bonnaroo Music Festival and Carnegie Hall in New York City. The tour wrapped with a filming for a special at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., in June 2011. This special was released on his website in March 2012 for download or stream.[17]

In March 2012, Ansari announced a new tour entitled Buried Alive, with dates scheduled for spring and summer 2012.[17] A third stand-up special was filmed during the tour at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and premiered on Netflix on November 1, 2013.[18]

Charity work[edit]

In 2012, Ansari played a talking goat in an animated video for Oxfam America to encourage donations.[19]

Following the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, Ansari performed a benefit for the victims at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, Massachusetts. All ticket proceeds benefited The One Fund & The Officer Richard Donohue Fund.[20]

Personal life[edit]

In 2014, it was reported that Ansari was in a relationship with food industry professional Courtney McBroom.[21]

He has self-identified as a feminist.[22]



Year Title Role Notes
2006 School for Scoundrels Classmate
2008 The Rocker Aziz
2009 Funny People Randy Springs
Observe and Report Saddamn
I Love You, Man Eugene
2010 Get Him to the Greek Matty Briggs
2011 30 Minutes or Less Chet
What's Your Number? Jay
2012 Ice Age: Continental Drift Squint Voice
Cruel Summer Short
2013 Epic Mub Voice
This Is the End Aziz Ansari
2014 Date and Switch Marcus


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Uncle Morty's Dub Shack MC Bricklayer Episode: "Didja Listen to My Demo?"
2007 Flight of the Conchords Sinjay Episode "Drive By"
2007–2008 Human Giant Various roles 14 episodes; also co-creator, writer, executive producer
2008 Worst Week Morgue Employee Episode: "Pilot"
2009 Reno 911! Insurance Representative 3 episodes
Scrubs Ed Dhandapani 4 episodes
2009–2015 Parks and Recreation Tom Haverford Main cast
2010 Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening Himself Comedy Central special[15]
The Life & Times of Tim Gabe Episode "Nagging Blonde/Tim & the Elephant"
2012 Dangerously Delicious Himself Comedy Central special[15]
NTSF:SD:SUV The Toucher Episode: "Prairie Dog Companion"
2012–present Bob's Burgers Darryl Voice
4 episodes
2013 Ben 10: Omniverse Billy Billions Voice
Episode "Arrested Development" "The Vengers"
Adventure Time DMO Voice
Episode: "Be More"
The Venture Bros. Martin Voice
Episode: "What Color Is Your Cleansuit?"
The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco Roaster (himself) TV special
The Getaway Host Episode: "Aziz Ansari in Hong Kong"
Buried Alive Himself Netflix Special
The League Dr. Hector Rocha Episode: "The 8 Defensive Points of Hanukkah"
Wander Over Yonder Westley Voice
Episode: "The Little Guy"

Music videos[edit]

Year Artist Song Role
2011 Jay-Z and Kanye West "Otis" Himself[23]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Nominated work Result
2009 Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Acting Ensemble I Love You, Man Nominated
2010 Teen Choice Award for Choice Comedian Nominated
2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Parks and Recreation Nominated
2014 American Comedy Award for Best Comedy Supporting Actor – TV[24] Parks and Recreation Nominated
2014 Young Hollywood Award for Cuz You're Funny[25] Nominated
2014 Variety's Power of Comedy Award[26] Won


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Itzkoff, Dave. "Feeding the Comedy Beast Without Serving Leftovers", New York Times, 3 June 2010.
  2. ^ "Aziz Ansari Biography". Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ "I could do a Tamil film: Aziz Ansari". The Times Of India. September 18, 2011. 
  4. ^ Gamerman, Ellen (March 27, 2009). "The Rise of the Likable Jerk". Wall Street Journal. 
  5. ^ [1]: "Ansari says his parents, Shoukath and Fatima Ansari of Bennettsville, are 'freaked out that I'm on TV.'"
  6. ^ Turnage, Jeremy. "NBC's Parks and Recreation star has SC ties". 
  7. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (June 4, 2010). "Feeding the Comedy Beast Without Serving Leftovers". New York Times. 
  8. ^ "Hot Standup", Rolling Stone
  9. ^ "HBO's Comedy Fest announces winners", HBO press release,, 12 March 2006.
  10. ^ B, Pat. "Biography for Aziz Ansari". Biography. IMDB. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  11. ^ a b Schneider, Michael. "Aziz Ansari hired for 'Office' spinoff", Variety, 12 June 2008.
  12. ^ "Aziz Ansari: Artist Bio", Artist Bio from Bonnaroo
  13. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (November 23, 2009). "Apatow, Universal pick up pitches. Ansari, Woliner score with trio of comedy concepts". Variety. Archived from the original on 18 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike. (2010-05-10) "Mandate Pictures Mounts Laugher Starring Aziz Ansari And Danny McBride". Retrieved on 2010-11-05.
  15. ^ a b c Breihan, Tom (November 12, 2009). "Aziz Ansari Preps Stand-Up Album". Pitchfork Media. 
  16. ^ Drea, Amber (June 1, 2006). "Aziz Ansari". Venus Zine (28). Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. 
  17. ^ a b Breihan, Tom (March 21, 2012). "The GQ&A: Aziz Ansari on His New, Web-Only Comedy Special, Hearing From R. Kelly, and the Future of Parks and Recreation". The Stream – GQ on Culture (GQ). 
  18. ^ Respers France, Lisa (October 31, 2013). "Aziz Ansari gets 'Buried Alive'". CNN (Cable News Network, Inc.). Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  19. ^ Oxfam America Unwrapped: "Be a goat with Aziz Ansari"
  20. ^ Aziz Ansari performing at Wilbur Theater
  21. ^ Mcrady, Rachel (August 17, 2014). "Aziz Ansari Dating Courtney McBroom: Exclusive Details". US Weekly. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Aziz Ansari Talks ‘Otis’ Vid Cameo". 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  24. ^ "Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen win American Comedy Awards". Entertainment Weekly. May 9, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  25. ^ Douglas Cobb. "2014 Young Hollywood Awards Show Nominees". Guardian Liberty Voice. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  26. ^ Variety. November 25, 2014 Retrieved November 26, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Andy Samberg
MTV Movie Awards host
Succeeded by
Jason Sudeikis