Here is the official "red band" (adults only, or mature immature audiences, please) for 30 Minutes or Less, arriving in a cinema near you in August 2011. Starring Aziz Ansari, Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride and Nick Swardson. Directed by Ruben Fleischer.
Roll the clip!
Why is Aziz Ansari looking for work, and doing so on video for the Producers Guild Awards?
Let's watch and find out:
Oh, it's a joke. I get it. Ansari doesn't actually need work, because while it's true that he'll be on hiatus from his current role on a network primetime sitcom in NBC's Parks and Recreation, and he'll be seen later this year in the film, 30 Minutes or Less, he has plenty of stuff on his plate. Several movie projects in development, in fact. All of it pretty much green-lighted with the help of Judd Apatow, the guy who also happened to host the PGAs this year.
If you do want to book Aziz Ansari for your next project, though, it's also true that he's represented by UTA -- and 3Arts. For stand-up bookings, go through Mike Berkowitz at APA.
For all of the other stand-up comedians who truly do need work, just ask me. Maybe we can figure something out together.
After being off the air for the fall and first part of winter, Parks and Recreation returns to the NBC lineup this Thursday. Apparently, nobody told Rob Lowe until Funny or Die could get camera crews in place for this NSFW video. Kidding. We're all kidding.
But seriously. Just keep an eye on Aziz Ansari during this video.
-- Aziz Ansari, after working out a new bit at the "What's Up, Tiger Lily?" show Monday night in Hollywood, Calif.
The folks at MTV caught up with Danny McBride and Nick Swardson on the set of their upcoming movie, 30 Minutes or Less, which Ruben Fleischer is directing with a cast that also includes Aziz Ansari, Jessie Eisenberg and Fred Willard. But that's not what MTV wanted to talk about. Not in this clip, anyhow. In this clip, McBride talks about another upcoming movie project he's working on with Ansari, which McBride says is called "Olympic-Size Asshole."
That film is from a pitch by Ansari and 30 Rock's Matt Hubbard, with Parks and Rec scribe Harris Wittels attached to write the screenplay for McBride's production company. Nick Swardson and his mustache have no comment. Roll the clip!
Just For Laughs has announced it'll honor The Second City with a lifetime achievement award and Glee with its comedy writers of the year award when JFL convenes in Montreal next month. The festival also has created two additional awards to recognize the star power of comedians Aziz Ansari and Donald Glover -- Ansari will receive the "Breakout Comedy Star of the Year Award" while Glover will get the "Rising Comedy Star of the Year Award."
Among those on hand from The Second City will be the organization's president, Andrew Alexander, as well as Colin Mochrie, Fred Willard and other members to be announced later. They'll be taking part in a live panel discussion, "The Second City -- The First 50 Years," to take place Thursday, July 15. They'll get their award the following day, July 16, at the annual Comedy Conference luncheon.
Ian Brennan, meanwhile, will accept the "Comedy Writer of the Year Award" at the same luncheon on behalf of his fellow writers and producers of Glee (Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy).
The festival is saying Ansari's award "is reserved for the comedian/actor who has made the jump from talented star to super-stardom," while Glover's award "is reserved for a talent who is the NEXT BIG THING."
In addition to these new awards, JFL Montreal also is launching what it's calling its Insider Series this summer. Among the events from July 14-17, 2010: The premiere screening and a Q&A for Exporting Raymond, with Phil Rosenthal trying to adapt Everybody Loves Raymond into a Russian sitcom; discussions with Kevin Smith, the cast of Childrens' Hospital, JB Smoove as Curb Your Enthusiasm's Leon Black, The Trailer Park Boys, Kenny Vs. Spenny, and the Not Inappropriate Show with Bob Odenkirk.
Tickets are available for all of these events at www.hahaha.com.
Comedy fans can also look into a $99 Comicpro Fan Pass for $99 (CDN) at www.hahaha.com/fan
Industry passes and more information about the Comedy Conference can head to www.hahaha.com/conference
Remember all the way back to a year ago, when Funny People hadn't yet come out, but Aziz Ansari already was generating buzz for his caricature of a stand-up comedian called Raaaaaaaandy ("that's Randy with eight A's")? Fast-forward back to now, and Ansari -- who just hosted the MTV Movie Awards and has several movie deals in the works in addition to his supporting role on NBC's Parks and Recreation -- is a bonafide celebrity, getting name-dropped by people who he was name-dropping only a year ago.
Ansari packed the Vic Theatre in Chicago for four shows this week, two on Wednesday, two on Thursday. Watching the crowd go gaga for Ansari, and even more so for Raaaaaaaandy, it has become increasingly clear that his hopping, singing overconfident character isn't all that different from the Ansari who earlier in his act, ends a series of tags about a racist locksmith with a jingle, or comes up with new song-raps for R. Kelly as an online dictionary resource. It's just that now, Ansari closes his 45-minute set, then after briefly leaving the stage, returns to welcome Raaaaaaaandy as his "special guest" to wild applause and audience suggestions for his blowjob jokes.
That's not to say Ansari doesn't still want to be known as a more reserved, less confident type. When he told the Vic audience on Wednesday, "I'm single now," and multiple women shrieked in delight, Ansari replied: "Aw, you don't mean that." Except they do. Aziz Ansari is a celebrity now.
NBC's Parks and Recreation went from being a so-so spinoff of The Office in its shortened first spring season in 2009, to one of the best sitcoms in all of TV in 2010. For that, NBC is making us wait until 2011 to bring the show back for a third season. How dare they. I'll be there for you when you come back, Parks and Rec. How about everyone else?
Maybe this fan mashup of P&R clips to the theme song for Friends will do the trick, yes? Yes.
Here's one fool-proof way to figure out if your career is hot: If you have more movie deals than most of the nominees when you host the MTV Movie Awards ceremony, then you win! That's you, Aziz Ansari. Ansari already sold three movie pitches to Judd Apatow, but that didn't stop him from sealing a fourth movie deal this week with Mandate Pictures, based on a pitch that involves Ansari and Danny McBride (who is producing in a first-look deal with Mandate), on a script to be written by Harris Wittels. (Read the trade report at THR)
Ansari hosts the MTV Movie Awards on June 6. Here's a new promo playing off of The Hurt Locker, with Ansari's explosive pants scaring off Kristen Bell. Roll the clip!
And so it begins. MTV has launched its ad campaign for June's MTV Movie Awards, hosted up rising comedian star Aziz Ansari, with this promo featuring Sean Puffy Puff Daddy P Diddy Combs, Zac Efron, Sarah Silverman and Kristen Bell telling the story of who Ansari is via actual pictures from his childhood. So precious, and yet not Precious. You know what I mean. Notice how the "Who is Aziz Ansari" ad campaign isn't pretending that celebrities don't know who he is? That's another sign of how far his star has risen. Roll the clip.
Writing comedy on Twitter carries with it some of the same perils of performing comedy in front of a live audience: The notion that the audience may have heard it all before, either through parallel thinking (or if you dared to steal the joke outright), that the material is hack, that the jokes are offensive without any redeeming value, or, worst of all, that you turn out to not be funny at all.
Twitter being a very social medium, it also has become an alluring device for comedians. Instead of jotting down ideas in a notebook as they strike you, comedians can immediately share their wit with their followers online. Twitter also serves as a real-time counter to that perpetual threat comedians face from the public at-large, that any random person will, upon hearing you're a comedian, try to get you to "say something funny." Instead of feeling cornered by that threat, a comedian now can simply point the offender to his/her Twitter.
At the same time, though, Twitter challenges every comedian to be better at their job. As tempting and as appealing as it may be to weigh in and share every thought you have with your followers, remember that millions of other people are doing the very same thing at every minute of the day. So an Apple employee lost the next-generation super-secret iPhone, and Gizmodo paid the guy who found it to publish details about it. What if you, as a joke, pretended to be the guy who lost the phone? That's what Dane Cook did on April 19:
Followed a day later by this:
Cook's fans let him know about this, because last night, Cook wrote: "@azizansari is cool. comics have similar premises guys. I was quicker on the topical bc I read @gizmodo every hour. I'm a gadgeteer."
Must have been delicious irony for Cook, who has had to deal with old-tech allegations of parallel thinking for years.
They aren't the only ones to come up with the same joke about something topical, of course. As Witstream's Lisa Cohen told me during the Twitter #140conf yesterday, Twitter's threat of parallel thinking forces comedy writers to raise their game. I agree. I had told her about something I said on Twitter and Facebook during the Winter Olympics, when I saw the same exact luge and curling jokes I had seen four years earlier, and four years before that. It's just that for many people, Twitter remains such a new way to communicate instantly with anyone and everyone, some users forget that there are millions of others thinking the exact same thing.
Before you hit send, you may want to think, am I really first? Am I really original?
One to grow on...
Is there any crossover between Aziz Ansari's fan base and that of Ellen DeGeneres? Would you be surprised that I'm even asking that question? Either way, Ansari sat down for a chat with Ellen that airs today (4 p.m. in NYC, check your local listings), and she recognized just how big he is blowing up these days. In this clip, Ansari doesn't work any of his usual stand-up into panel, but he does have a couple of clever tricks up his sleeves. Roll it.
For its second year in the Second City, Just For Laughs Chicago is bringing back Ellen DeGeneres for another TV variety show, recording a special with Cedric The Entertainer, and welcoming Aziz Ansari, Russell Peters, Denis Leary's "Rescue Me" tour, a Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton, and a daytime sketch show for kids produced by Bob and Naomi Odenkirk.
There's much more to come for the Just For Laughs Chicago 2010 schedule, happening in various theaters and clubs around the city from June 15-19, 2010, including a third TV special to be announced later.
But here is the initial slate of headlining acts. Tickets for all shows go on sale March 29.
THE CHICAGO THEATRE
Ellen’s Somewhat Special – Wednesday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m. (Taped for TBS)
Cedric The Entertainer’s Urban Circus (working title) – Friday, June 18, at 8 p.m.
Featuring comedians, sketches, music and more. (Taped for TBS)
The Rescue Me Comedy Tour with Denis Leary – Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
Featuring Lenny Clarke, Adam Ferrara and music with The Enablers and the Rehab Horns. Portion of the proceeds benefits the Leary Firefighters Foundation.
Russell Peters - The Green Card Tour - Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
THE VIC THEATRE
Aziz Ansari – The Dangerously Delicious Tour – Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m.
The Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton – Friday, June 18, at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Lucha VaVOOM – Wednesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – 21+ only show
Featuring Mexican masked wrestling and not-so masked burlesque.
The Not Inappropriate Show – Friday, June 18, at 4 p.m. and Saturday, June 19, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Made especially for kids ages 6 and up, this sketch comedy show stars Bob Odenkirk and Kate Micucci, along with some of Los Angeles’ hottest sketch performers. The show, which is being produced by Naomi Odenkirk, will feature a collection of specially chosen sketches and songs designed for kids who love great comedy.
Aziz Ansari is a much bigger name in comedy today than he was a year ago. I'm not sure if I can say what made that happen more -- Ansari's co-starring role on the NBC primetime sitcom Parks and Recreation, or his scene-stealing turn as hip-hop comedian Raaaaaaaandy in Judd Apatow's 2009 movie, Funny People. But somewhere along the line, Ansari became a celebrity himself. I saw that firsthand earlier this month when Ansari returned to New York City (where he went to college and developed his stand-up) to headline at Comix for eight sold-out shows that attracted fans who knew his bits and also very famous people such as Natalie Portman and Kanye West.
Then again, I do see one big similarity between the two. Whenever I've seen Ansari offstage, he's a mild-mannered guy -- even withdrawn. Keeps things close to the vest. But onstage, onscreen or on Twitter, Ansari gets excited and passionate in a very ALL CAPS, Raaaaaaaandy kind of way.
He's walking a delicate line with Raaaaaaaandy. Ansari told me once last year that he didn't feel fans were going to make him become Randy full-time and lose touch with his own stand-up persona. At the same time, though, he's moving forward with a full-fledged "Randy" movie with writing partner Jason Woliner for Apatow, and when he took the stage at the show I saw this month, audience members were shouting out for "Randy" within seconds. I think that might be part of the reason I saw Ansari take the stage in a suit and tie -- making the audience relate more to him as his city parks official character, Tom, than of Randy. Or how about just as Aziz? His non-Randy material still reveals his youth as a stand-up, as it's largely based on pop cultural references (which makes his claim in one bit that he didn't know what a Jawa was completely unbelievable -- Aziz doesn't know Star Wars? hmmmm). The crowd also knows Ansari well enough to applaud the mere mentions of his relatives, Harris and Darwish. And after 40 minutes of new material, Ansari told the audience he had written new "Randy" jokes, which earned even louder applause from them, followed by requests from them for places for "Randy" get pleased sexually.
Here's another sign a comedian is famous. When Comedy Central ups the ante on your promotional budget with concert-style fence signs. I don't recall seeing this for hardly any of the other recent Comedy Central Records releases.
I've been busy doing this, that and a lot of the other thing this weekend, so my full review of Aziz Ansari's hour special (and CD/DVD) will come your way later. But Comedy Central wasn't about to wait for me, airing its shortened version (41 minutes, 44 seconds) tonight of "Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening." If you stay up late, you can watch a longer, uncensored version as part of the secret stash at 1 a.m. Eastern, which also reportedly includes Ansari's "Raaaaaaaandy" documentary.
Here are two clips directly from his special. First, here is Ansari talking about the dangers of looking up obscure information on the Internet, via his BlackBerry, while driving in Los Angeles:
Second, here Ansari talks up the business nature of Cold Stone Creamery, which while not exactly "Raaaaaaaandy" material, does sound like it was written by the same guy. Clearly. "I'm tweaking! I'm tweaking! I'm tweaking!" Roll the clip. (Note: This is the NSFW uncensored version)
In promoting the special, Ansari also made the rounds of late-night TV, such as it was last week, and you got to hear interesting variations on his material as he takes it to a panel discussion with the hosts, instead of telling it as stand-up. With Conan O'Brien on his show that must not be named, Ansari chats with Conan about buying sheets from Bed, Bath and Beyond. To tell it here, he changes a few words around. I like this better than the CD/DVD version.
On Jimmy Kimmel Live, Ansari jokes about R. Kelly for a while with Kimmel, and a few minutes in, Kimmel lobs a softball Ansari's way to discuss the time he went to see R. Kelly in concert, which is his closing bit. See if you like it this way better:
I'll post more analysis when I get more of a moment to do so.
When Comedy Central announced its special "Hot List" showcase of new talented comedians, I could not say the list surprised me. Many of these people got multiple mentions here at The Comic's Comic in the past year, and when I thought about Kumail Nanjiani's achievements in the past year, even I was duly impressed with what he's been able to accomplish since moving to New York City from Chicago. So I talked to him briefly outside of Comix during the club's holiday party this week (holiday parties already!) and asked him to put it into some perspective -- Letterman, Kimmel, Live at Gotham, Michael and Michael Have Issues, The Colbert Report, and a development deal with NBC. Where does he go from here? Roll the clip! (Warning: Includes improvised absurdity from Eugene Mirman, who actually fits into Kumail's NYC story, as well as a joke at John Mayer's expense, and a cameo by Nanjiani's newlywed wife, Emily) Roll it!
Of course, Nanjiani isn't the only one on Comedy Central's Hot List special, which airs on Sunday, Dec. 6. Here's a clip featuring all nine -- Anthony Jeselnik, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Matt Braunger, Jon Lajoie, Whitney Cummings, TJ Miller, Donald Glover and Nanjiani -- describing why they made the cut. Roll it!
Funny or Die hosted a live chatty session with one of its masterminds, Judd Apatow, last week. Did you take part in it? Did you get Apatow to read your question out loud? Hooray. Even if you didn't, or if you just want to relive it all again, but this time in under five minutes, then you, my friend, are in luck. Because FoD just produced an edited version of Apatow's chat session. Among the highlights, yes, of course you'll get the soft sell on the Funny People DVD release, but also you'll learn: Is Bill Hader working on a horror movie with Apatow? Will Aziz Ansari star in a Funny People spin-off focusing on his alter-ego stand-up character, Raaaaaaaandy? SPOILER ALERT! Click and find out.
One of my first stops on my Hollywood misadventure was to The Paley Center for Media's Beverly Hills branch for a behind-the-scenes discussion with the cast and crew of NBC's Parks and Recreation -- a sitcom that I feel has found a funnier level in its second season following its unusual debut launch in the spring. But we can let the people involved with the show explain that.
Seemed as though many of the audience members in attendance worked for nearby local governments and wanted to let the cast and crew know how "spot-on" they were in nailing life inside Town Hall. Here is a guy who looks like Nick Offerman posing with the actor. I could have told them this as well, having covered various local governments in Idaho and Washington state as a newspaper reporter -- and sakes alive, bubba jive, you have not lived until you've discovered the soap opera mini-dramas of a water and sewer district. Let me tell you. Or not. Let's focus, people! Pawnee, Indiana, you're on the air, fictional city.
Greg Daniels said they had to pick a fictional town. His other NBC sitcom, The Office, may be set in a real place (Scranton, Penn.), but the town is not the driving force of the plot; it's the people in the office. In Parks and Rec, however, the town is the focus. And if they make fun of the mayor being caught up in a scandal, that would be a real person they'd be joking about. So when you go to pawneeindiana.com, you'll be living a second life in another world. But you know that in Internets speak, governments are .gov.
What else did we learn? Well, we saw that this week's episode, "Hunting Trip," takes a dramatic turn when SPOILER ALERTS.