Aziz Ansari Turns the Baleful Gaze of Skynet Upon Comedy
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Aziz Ansari Turns the Baleful Gaze of Skynet Upon Comedy

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | July 1, 2013 | Comments ()


I saw Aziz Ansari once, and I don't mean I went to one of his stand-up shows. I was sitting in the Madison airport, waiting for a six AM flight on three whole hours of sleep. It's a nice enough little airport, though its slogan of "Twelve Gates, One Quiznos, No Starbucks" is disheartening when you're so tired that you want to die. And then a guy who looked just like Aziz Ansari walked by. That was an odd sort of hallucination, but they can't all be Alison Brie in a bucket of Skittles.

He looked just as bored and tired and me, wandering repeatedly back and forth from the vaguely creepy massage area to the Hudson News clone, apparently under the impression that if you search the same hundred feet of faded carpet enough, maybe eventually you'll find the place selling good coffee right under your nose. You never do.

And that's what convinced me it wasn't him. Because Aziz Ansari is bright and excited and full of life, and this poor soul was as dead as everyone else there. Later I looked up online and found that Ansari indeed had done a show in Madison late the night before. So further anecdotal evidence that airports are murderers of souls. And that fame is a bizarre beast of mangled pressure and expectations.

So, Mr. Ansari, if you remember an off-putting man with bloodshot eyes staring at you in the Madison, Wisconsin airport one morning before dawn, um yeah, sorry about that.

Oh, there was something to report! Yes, a reason for this trip down restraining order lane.

Ansari has started applying data mining to his comedy act, in a fantastically geeky comedy experiment that makes me happy in all the right places. Basically, he collects data on the basic demographics of his audience and is using that to look at what works, what doesn't, and playing around with producing deliberate mixes of certain audiences. Explains the man himself:

One thing I found very interesting is how differently these conversations are among different groups of people. Single people between the age of 18-25 view these topics in a much different light than say single people over 30. Or married people over 40.

This gave me an idea. What if I could setup small shows to talk to very specific groups about these topics? What if I could do a show with half an audience of younger people and the other half is older married people? What if half the audience was single women over 30 and the other half was single men between 18-25?

I believe it is impossible to describe that last mix without using the word "cougar". More details on Ansari's website here. No word yet on whether the NSA will be filing suit for violation of their trademarked business practices.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • googergieger

    UGH! Really? Fucking serious with this shit? He's a horrible fucking comedian, a worse fucking actor, and you have horrible taste in everything. And if this is sarcasm, kudos for getting me I guess, though even then sarcasm should be some form of entertaining for us. In any case, boo him, boo you, and boo everything you have to say about everything.

    No offense.

  • apsutter

    I love Aziz. I'd love to see a show with him and Donald Glover, that would be awesome.

  • sarcastro

    SLW I love you but if you call a single lady in her 30's a "cougar" where she can hear be ready to run away QUICKLY.

  • fauxhawk

    That, and HE is 30. What about all the single dudes who are over 30 who go to see him? Good grief.

  • LordTomHulce

    This must've been a number of years ago. Madison really jacked up its airport about 5 years ago - it's not any bigger but there is a good coffee stand that opens at 5 a.m. and a local microbrewery has with a full bar and breakfast menu opens at 6 a.m. But it used to be the worst.

  • MauraFoley

    The shit quiznos is part of the airport jacking up. Madison is my hometown and I love it there but holy fuck i hate our airport.

  • e jerry powell

    I didn't know that the NSA had applied for a trademark. That part would be searchable online.

  • I, too, have been in the Madison, WI airport for a 6 AM flight. Worst experience ever. It lead to a fairly awesome trip in San Francisco so I won't complain too much.

  • apsutter

    Apparently you've never been stranded during a snowstorm at Reagan National in DC. So fucking awful. Shitty fucking airport and WORST STAFF EVER. Instead of being like a normal airport where you go through security once and then you're in and free to roam around they have their gates split into two sections with two sets of security. Well they kept changing our fucking flight so we had to switch back and forth at least 5 times which means 5 trips through security and at one point the security peeps started hassling US about wasting THEIR TIME for going back and forth. I thought my mom was going to murder the fucker that said that.

  • ZizoAH

    With a name like mine: Ziyad Omar Mohammad Yousef Saleh Hussein Hassan Abul Hawa, I think I win here.

  • apsutter

    You go by zizo? I love that!

  • ZizoAH

    Yes, basically everybody (aside from my parents) call me Zizo.

  • SchmidtUltra

    I saw Aziz as I was boarding a 7am flight from Philly to LAX this past April. Our group got held up at security for an additional 30 minutes (it had absolutely nothing to do with my friend's nationality and beard, I'm sure), but Virgin Airlines was kind enough to hold the doors for us.

    As I walked on, there was Aziz, in first class, suited up, and giving me the stink-eye. He was miserable. Aziz hates airports just as much as us.

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