Aziz Ansari is an American actor and stand-up 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 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," and he won the Jury Award for "Best Standup" at HBO's 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado.
Around the summer of 2005, Ansari began collaborating with fellow comedians Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer (both of the famed 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, "Human Giant," which debuted April 5, 2007. The critically acclaimed show completed two seasons. The group was offered a third season, but opted to pass in order to pursue other opportunities.
In June 2008, Ansari was announced as the first cast hire for NBC's new comedy from producers of "The Office." 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."
On June 6, 2010, Ansari hosted the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. Ansari also performed a musical tribute to the film "Avatar" in the style of singer R. Kelly.
In addition to his work on "Parks and Recreation," Ansari appeared on the HBO series "Flight of the Conchords" 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 to the hospital.
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."
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.
Even among 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.
In July 2010, Ansari began a new tour, Dangerously Delicious, which was in theaters across the US; 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, DC in June 2011. This special was released on his website in March 2012 for download or stream. In March 2012, Ansari announced a new tour, Buried Alive, with dates for spring and summer 2012.
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."
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