Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari

Ansari at the 2012 Time 100 gala
Born (1983-02-23) February 23, 1983
Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, television, film
Alma mater New York University
Years active 2004–present
Genres Observational comedy
Improvisational comedy
Subject(s) Everyday life, American culture, popular culture
Notable works and roles Randy Springs in Funny People
Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation
Chet in 30 Minutes or Less
Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening
Master of None

Aziz Ansari (Tamil: அசீஸ் அன்சாரி; born February 23, 1983) is an American actor and comedian. He is known for his roles as Tom Haverford on the NBC series Parks and Recreation (2009–2015) and as Dev Shah on the Netflix series Master of None, which debuted in 2015 and Ansari created, writes, and stars in. The New York Times called the latter show "the year's best comedy straight out of the gate".[1]

Ansari began his career performing stand-up comedy in New York City during mid-2000 while attending New York University. In 2007, he created and starred in the 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 stand-up 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 completed his third major tour of new material, Buried Alive, in the summer of 2013. His fourth major comedy special, Live at Madison Square Garden, was released on Netflix in 2015.

His first book, Modern Romance: An Investigation, was released in June 2015.

Early life

Aziz Ansari was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to a Tamil Muslim family from Tamil Nadu, India.[2][3][4] His mother, Fatima, works in a medical office, and his father, Shoukath, is a gastroenterologist.[5][6] Ansari grew up in Bennettsville, South Carolina,[7] where he attended Marlboro Academy as well as the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics.[8] He graduated from the New York University Stern School of Business with a major in marketing.[2][6]


Early career

Ansari 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",[9] and he won the Jury Award for "Best Standup" at HBO's 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado.[10][11]

Human Giant

From left to right, Human Giant's Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel, Jason Woliner, and Paul Scheer in May 2007

Around the summer of 2005, Ansari began collaborating with fellow comedians Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer (both from the 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, which debuted April 5, 2007. The show completed two seasons and the group was offered a third season, but it opted to pursue other opportunities.

Parks and Recreation

In June 2008, Ansari was announced as the first cast hire for NBC's new comedy from producers of The Office.[12] The show, Parks and Recreation, debuted in April 2009 with Ansari portraying government employee Tom Haverford. His character was an underachieving government official with extreme self-confidence and dreams of being mainstream. He was a main character of the show for its entirety of seven seasons. 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 No. 1 spot on its list of "TV MVPS".[13]

Master of None

Ansari stars in the new Netflix original series Master of None, created and written by himself and Parks and Recreation writer Alan Yang. Aziz also directed several episodes of the series. The series premiered on November 6, 2015, to very positive reviews.[14][15] Ansari's performance in the show earned him a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy.[16]

Ansari's parents were cast to play his parents in Master of None and appear in two episodes.[17] The show has had guest appearances from Claire Danes and Noah Emmerich.[18]

MTV Movie Awards

On June 6, 2010, Ansari hosted the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. The show opened with a spoof of the film Precious with Ansari appearing as Aziz "Precious" Ansari. Ansari also created the short film Stunt Kidz, which reunited him with his Human Giant castmates. A second short film was also made with actor Zach Galifianakis in which Ansari portrayed Taavon, Galifianakis' "swagger coach". He accepted Galifianakis' award for Best Comedic Performance in character as Taavon. Ansari also performed a musical tribute to the film Avatar in the style of singer R. Kelly.

Other notable television work

Aziz Ansari at the 71st Annual Peabody Awards Luncheon 2012

In addition to his work on Parks and Recreation, Ansari appeared on the HBO series Flight of the Conchords[12] 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 at the hospital. Ansari's character was written off the show so he could work on Parks and Recreation. Ansari also has a recurring role on the animated comedy Bob's Burgers as Darryl.

In August 2011, Ansari made a cameo appearance in the music video for "Otis" by Jay-Z and Kanye West from their collaborative album, Watch the Throne.

Film career

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. Two other ideas in development are Let's Do This, a road movie about two motivational speakers, and an untitled film about two disgraced astronauts who must return to space to clear their names.[19] Ansari is also attached to star in another film with Danny McBride based on an idea from Ansari and 30 Rock writer Matt Hubbard.[20] In April 2010, it was announced that Ansari would star in the film 30 Minutes or Less. The film was directed by Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and co-starred Jesse Eisenberg and McBride. The film was released on August 12, 2011.

Stand-up comedy

Aziz Ansari at the 2012 Great GoogaMooga Festival in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Even amongst various acting commitments, Ansari has continued performing and touring as a stand-up 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.[21]

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".[22]

In July 2010, Ansari began a new tour, Dangerously Delicious, which was in theaters across the United States; stops included the Bonnaroo Music Festival and Carnegie Hall in New York City. The tour wrapped with a filming for a special, Dangerously Delicious at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., in June 2011. This special was released on his website in March 2012 for download or stream.[23]

In March 2012, Ansari announced a new tour entitled "Buried Alive," with dates scheduled for spring and summer 2012.[23] A third stand-up special, Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive, was filmed during the tour at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and premiered on Netflix on November 1, 2013.[24]


Ansari's first book, Modern Romance: An Investigation, was released on June 16, 2015. The book is about the comedic pitfalls of dating in the modern world and was written with sociologist Eric Klinenberg.[25]

Charity work

In 2012, Ansari played a talking goat in an animated video for Oxfam America to encourage donations.[26]

Following the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, Ansari performed a benefit for the victims at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, Massachusetts. All ticket proceeds benefited The One Fund & The Officer Richard Donohue Fund.[27]

Personal life

He has described himself as an atheist.[2][3][4]

In 2014, it was reported that Ansari was in a relationship with professional chef Courtney McBroom.[28][29] He has self-identified as a feminist, saying his girlfriend has helped influence him.[30] In January 2016, it was reported Ansari and McBroom ended their relationship after two years of dating.[31]

Ansari is a "foodie"; he and his friends Eric Wareheim and Jason Woliner have formed what they called "The Food Club," which involves them dressing up in suits and captain hats and rewarding restaurants with "Food Club" plaques. The plaques have their faces engraved along with the words: “The Food Club has dined here and deemed it plaque-worthy.” He explained to Vanity Fair, "It’s a really serious-looking plaque and all of the restaurants we've given it to have put it front and center. It’s funny because people will walk into a restaurant and be like, 'What the fuck is the Food Club? Who are these guys etched in gold?'"[32] They also produced a tongue-in-cheek video about the club for Jash, filming them debating whether or not restaurants were plaque-worthy.[33]

Ansari was a close friend of comedian Harris Wittels, working with him frequently.[34][35]

Aziz has a brother named Aniz,[36] who co-wrote one of the episodes in Master of None.[37][38]



Year Title Role Notes
2006 School for Scoundrels Classmate
2008 The Rocker Aziz
2009 Funny People Randy Springs
Observe and Report Saddamn
I Love You, Man Eugene
2010 Get Him to the Greek Matty Briggs
2011 30 Minutes or Less Chet
What's Your Number? Jay
2012 Ice Age: Continental Drift Squint Voice
Cruel Summer Short
2013 Epic Mub Voice
This Is the End Aziz Ansari
2014 Date and Switch Marcus
Food Club Captain Ansari Short


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Uncle Morty's Dub Shack MC Bricklayer Episode: "Didja Listen to My Demo?"
2007 Flight of the Conchords Sinjay Episode "Drive By"
2007–08 Human Giant Various roles 14 episodes; also co-creator, writer, executive producer
2008 Worst Week Morgue employee Episode: "Pilot"
2009 Reno 911! Insurance representative 3 episodes
Scrubs Ed Dhandapani 4 episodes
2009–15 Parks and Recreation Tom Haverford Main cast
2010 Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening Himself Comedy Central special[21]
The Life & Times of Tim Gabe Episode: "Nagging Blonde/Tim & the Elephant"
2012 Dangerously Delicious Himself Comedy Central special[21]
NTSF:SD:SUV:: The Toucher Episode: "Prairie Dog Companion"
2012–2015 Bob's Burgers Darryl Voice
7 episodes
2013 The Venture Bros. Martin Voice
Episode: "What Color Is Your Cleansuit?"
Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself Episode: "Aziz Ansari Wears A Charcoal Blazer"
The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco Roaster (himself) TV special
The Getaway Host Episode: "Aziz Ansari in Hong Kong"
Buried Alive Himself Netflix special
Wander Over Yonder Westley Voice
Episode: "The Little Guy"
Arcade Fire in Here Comes The Night Time Li'l Bud NBC special
2013–14 Ben 10: Omniverse Billy Billions Voice
2 episodes
2013–15 The League Dr. Hector Rocha 2 episodes
Adventure Time DMO Voice
3 episodes
2015 Kroll Show Sly Dufrense Episode: "Body Bouncers"
Major Lazer Goosh Voice
Episode: "I'm Gonna Git You Suckoid"
Live at Madison Square Garden Himself Netflix special
2015–present Master of None Dev Shah Lead role; also: co-creator/executive producer/writer/director
2016 Animals. Charles Voice
Episode: "Dogs."

Music videos

Year Artist Song Role
2011 Jay-Z and Kanye West "Otis" Himself[39]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2009 Denver Film Critics Society Award Best Acting Ensemble I Love You, Man Nominated
2010 Teen Choice Award Choice Comedian Nominated
2013 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Parks and Recreation Nominated
2014 American Comedy Award Best Comedy Supporting Actor – TV[40] Nominated
Comedy Special of the Year[41] Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive Nominated
Young Hollywood Award Cuz You're Funny[42] Nominated
Variety Power of Comedy Award[43] Won
2016 Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy[16] Master of None Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series[44] Nominated
Best Comedy Series[44] Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series[45] Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series[45] Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series[45] Won


  1. Poniewozik, James (November 5, 2015). "Review: Aziz Ansari, in 'Master of None,' Negotiates Technology and Social Mores". The New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 Itzkoff, Dave. "Feeding the Comedy Beast Without Serving Leftovers", New York Times, June 3, 2010.
  3. 1 2 "Aziz Ansari Biography". Retrieved 2012-04-20.
  4. 1 2 "I could do a Tamil film: Aziz Ansari". The Times Of India. September 18, 2011.
  5. Gamerman, Ellen (March 27, 2009). "The Rise of the Likable Jerk". Wall Street Journal.
  6. 1 2 Czajkowski, Elise. "The Evolution of Aziz Ansari". Vulture. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  7. S.C. DUO MAY BECOME MTV GIANTS (April 1, 2007), The State: "Ansari says his parents, Shoukath and Fatima Ansari of Bennettsville, are 'freaked out that I'm on TV,'..."
  8. Turnage, Jeremy. "NBC's Parks and Recreation star has SC ties".
  9. "Hot Standup" Archived February 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., Rolling Stone
  10. "HBO's Comedy Fest announces winners", HBO press release,, March 12, 2006.
  11. B, Pat. "Biography for Aziz Ansari". Biography. IMDB. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
  12. 1 2 Schneider, Michael. "Aziz Ansari hired for 'Office' spinoff", Variety, June 12, 2008.
  13. "Aziz Ansari: Artist Bio" Archived October 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., Artist Bio from Bonnaroo
  14. Bryant, Jacob (October 22, 2015). "Watch: Aziz Ansari Navigates Romance in Netflix's 'Master of None' Trailer". Variety. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
  15. Driscoll, Molly (November 6, 2015). "Aziz Ansari's Netflix show 'Master of None' scores rave reviews". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  16. 1 2 "Golden Globe Nominations: The Complete List". The Hollywood Reporter. December 10, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  17. Upadhyaya, Kayla Kumari (November 7, 2015). "Master Of None is both personal and sweeping in its portrayal of immigrant stories". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  18. Lesley Goldberg (July 28, 2015). "Aziz Ansari's Netflix Show 'Master of None' Will Build on His Stand-Up". The Hollywood Reporter.
  19. Siegel, Tatiana (November 23, 2009). "Apatow, Universal pick up pitches. Ansari, Woliner score with trio of comedy concepts". Variety. Archived from the original on March 18, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-13.
  20. Fleming, Mike. (May 10, 2010) "Mandate Pictures Mounts Laugher Starring Aziz Ansari And Danny McBride". Retrieved on 2010-11-05.
  21. 1 2 3 Breihan, Tom (November 12, 2009). "Aziz Ansari Preps Stand-Up Album". Pitchfork Media.
  22. Drea, Amber (June 1, 2006). "Aziz Ansari". Venus Zine (28i). Archived from the original on 2012-03-31.
  23. 1 2 Breihan, Tom (March 21, 2012). "The GQ&A: Aziz Ansari on His New, Web-Only Comedy Special, Hearing From R. Kelly, and the Future of Parks and Recreation". The Stream – GQ on Culture. GQ.
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  25. "Aziz (Modern Romance) Ansari". Retrieved 2015-04-05.
  26. Oxfam America Unwrapped: "Be a goat with Aziz Ansari" Archived December 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  27. "Aziz Ansari performing at The Wilbur in Boston on Sunday to benefit The One Fund and The Officer Richard Donohue Fund".
  28. Mcrady, Rachel (August 17, 2014). "Aziz Ansari Dating Courtney McBroom: Exclusive Details". Us Weekly. Retrieved 2014-09-25.
  29. Shepherd, Julianne Escobedo (October 14, 2014). "Aziz Ansari's New Girlfriend Turned Him Into a Feminist". Jezebel. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  30. "Aziz Ansari embraces feminism on the Late Show with David Letterman.". Slate Magazine.
  31. "Aziz Ansari and girlfriend break up after two years". Retrieved 2016-07-09.
  32. Miller, Julie (November 11, 2013). "Aziz Ansari on His Comedy Special Buried Alive, Romantic Relationships, and Getting Intimate with an Audience". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2015-04-05.
  33. Evans, Bradford (April 15, 2014). "Aziz Ansari, Jason Woliner, and Eric Wareheim Present 'Food Club'". Retrieved 2015-04-05.
  34. Ansari, Aziz. "RIP Harris Wittels. 1984-2015.". Tumblr. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  35. Khatchatourian, Maane. "Aziz Ansari Writes Tribute to 'Hero' Harris Wittels". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  36. Paul Chi. "Aziz Ansari on Shattering the Glass Ceiling in 'Master of None' - Variety". Variety. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  37. "The Other Man". Master of None. Episode 5.
  38. Aziz Ansari [azizansari] (November 6, 2015). "My brother Aniz is also a writer on the show and got on some of my favorite jokes!" (Tweet). Retrieved December 10, 2015 via Twitter.
  39. "Aziz Ansari Talks 'Otis' Vid Cameo". August 16, 2011. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  40. "Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen win American Comedy Awards". Entertainment Weekly. May 9, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-26.
  41. Reiher, Andrea (May 8, 2014). "2014 American Comedy Awards full winners list". Retrieved 2015-04-05.
  42. Douglas Cobb. "2014 Young Hollywood Awards Show Nominees". Guardian Liberty Voice. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  43. "Aziz Ansari to Receive Variety's Power of Comedy Award". Variety. November 25, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-26.
  44. 1 2 Lee, Traci G. (2016-01-18). "'Master of None' Named Best Comedy at Critics' Choice Awards". NBC News. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  45. 1 2 3 Dixon, Marcus James (July 14, 2016). "2016 Emmy Awards: Complete list of nominations". Retrieved October 19, 2016.

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