Aziz Ansari Right Now: Tricky year, Tricky laughs

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Aziz Ansari Right Now: Aziz Ansari: Right Now streams on Netflix.

Aziz Ansari Right Now director: Spike Jonze
Aziz Ansari Right Now rating: Two stars

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He walks in, with shoulders drooping, almost nonchalantly — wearing a grey Metallica t-shirt and an equally grey pair of stone-washed jeans, and sneakers with skeleton toes painted on them — and plomps himself awkwardly on a bar stool thats placed dead centre on the stage and faces a packed hall in Brooklyn. For Aziz Ansari, actor and stand-up comedian, New York is almost home. His show Master of None was set here and he attended school close by in Greenwich, and he couldnt have asked for a better place for his latest stand up Right Now for Netflix. But no, the show in Brooklyn is the acid test for Ansari, who in early 2018 was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman whom he went out on a date. And yes, he did address that scandal head on in the first two minutes of the hour-long act.

“I felt so many things, in the last year or so. Theres times I felt scared. Theres times I felt humiliated. Theres times I felt embarrassed. And ultimately, I just felt terrible that this person felt this way. And after a year or so, I just hope it was a step forward. And it moved things forward for me; it made me think about a lot. I hope Ive become a better person.” By the end of this line, Ansari, whose pitched, excitable voice is a kind of signature, had lowered his voice to a stage whisper — something which he does repeatedly in the stand-up act — and he leaned closer, shoulders hunched, as if beckoning the audience to come closer to him as he shared with them the tragedy that he suffered for the past year-and-a-half.

Ansari moved on to jokes that included Crazy Rich Asians, wokeness, him being brown and dating a Danish white girl and male IUDs. Michael Jackson and R Kelly controversies too are mentioned. There was an interesting bit about how woke white people have a grading system where they mark themselves for the good deed of the day — “Like a secret, progressive candy crush we dont know about. Like how I told one of my African-American friends that I thought Black Panther should have won best picture”. None of the lines are laugh out funny, nor are they so on point with being politically incorrect. They are just there.

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Whats conspicuous by its absence is Ansaris energy, that makes the stand-up seem more drawn out than needed. The energy that made his character Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation so endearing, complete with big eyes and an even wider smile. That energy alone made the confidence and excitement of Dev — his autobiographical character from the show Master of None — believable.

Ansari in Right Now engages a lot with the audience, just like his 2015 Netflix special Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden. Here, raising hands has beRead More – Source

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The Indian Express

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