Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden

Aziz Ansari:
Live at Madison Square Garden
Directed by Aziz Ansari
Produced by Jonathan Lia
Written by Aziz Ansari
Starring Aziz Ansari
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Todd Somodevilla
Edited by Jeff Buchanan
Good Company
Release dates
  • March 6, 2015 (2015-03-06) (Netflix)
Running time
58 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden is a 2015 American stand-up comedy film written by and starring Aziz Ansari, who also served as director. It was shot at Madison Square Garden in New York City in October 2014.


Aziz Ansari discusses topics such as immigration, being the child of immigrants, factory farming, misogyny, dating and romance in the 2010s, how technology makes meaningful connections difficult, and over-reliance on the Internet to help make trivial decisions.[1]


The performance was recorded in October 2014. Ansari used the theme from For a Few Dollars More by Ennio Morricone as his entrance music. He chose this, and a series of images on a digital screen, to demonstrate his ambition and imagination. Before he performed at Madison Square Garden, a large venue at which few standup comedians had performed, he sought advice from Chris Rock, a mentor who had performed there previously. Rock advised him to concentrate more on his jokes than the spectacle. Ansari attributed the change in the topics he addressed to maturing and growing older.[2]

In order to make the stadium show interesting for the audience, he was inspired by music tours, such as the Watch the Throne tour, and he recruited people who had worked on that production. Ansari was originally going to shoot the special in Toronto, but Rock convinced him to do so at Madison Square Garden, which Rock felt was more appropriate.[3]


The film was released March 6, 2015, exclusively on Netflix.[4] It was dedicated to the memory of Harris Wittels, Ansari's close friend and a writer on Parks and Recreation, who died February 19.


Reviewing the original performance, Jason Zinoman of The New York Times called it Ansari's most ambitious but least funny work. Zinoman wrote, "And while he's a thoughtful observer, Mr. Ansari's ideas can too often seem derivative."[5]

Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times called it "worlds more thoughtful, enlightened, inward-looking and outward-aware" than his television performances.[6] David Sims of The Atlantic wrote, "[T]he quality of his comedy is actually starting to catch up with the level of his fame."[7] Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya of The A.V. Club rated it "A" and wrote, "[Ansari] doesn't need to reach far for his observations; instead, he focuses on very ordinary, everyday behaviors, picks them apart, and brings them to life with his reenactments and imagined conversations."[8] Garrett Martin of Paste wrote, "[Ansari] can comfortably broach serious, depressing issues and cut right to the heart of society's ills without ever growing strident."[9] Audra Schroeder of The Daily Dot wrote, "His elastic personality and trademark vocal stretches sustain the energy needed for a comic to command MSG."[10]


  1. Entis, Laura (2015-03-07). "Aziz Ansari Wants to Know What Everyone Thinks of His New Netflix Stand-Up Special". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  2. Itzkoff, Dave (2014-10-03). "A Young Comic Joins an Exclusive Club". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  3. Fox, Jesse David (2014-10-08). "Aziz Ansari on Playing Madison Square Garden and the Last Season of Parks and Recreation". Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  4. Spangler, Todd (2015-01-30). "Aziz Ansari Pacts with Netflix for Second Exclusive Stand-Up Comedy Special". Variety. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  5. Zinoman, Jason (2014-10-10). "In a Big House, but Playing It Small". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  6. Lloyd, Robert (2015-03-06). "Critic's Pick TV Picks: Dolphins, Aziz Ansari, 'Portlandia,' 'Wednesday Addams'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  7. Sims, David (2015-03-07). "Aziz Ansari Catches Up With His Fame at Madison Square Garden". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  8. Upadhyaya, Kayla Kumari (2015-03-06). "Aziz Ansari gets vulnerable in Live At Madison Square Garden". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  9. Martin, Garrett (2015-03-05). "Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden Review". Paste. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  10. Schroeder, Audra (2015-03-08). "Aziz Ansari talks love, family, and Ja Rule in his latest Netflix special". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 2015-03-17.

External links

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