Indian American comedian Aziz Ansari addresses sexual misconduct charges on new Netflix show

Aziz Ansari: Right Now
Indian American comedian Ansari on his Netflix show “Aziz Ansari: Right Now.”

“Aziz Ansari: Right Now” premiered on Tuesday, July 9 on Netflix.

Indian American comedian Aziz Ansari had an eventful last year. From winning the Golden Globe to getting accused of sexual misconduct, 2018 can really be called a year of firsts for Ansari. And now, for the first time ever, Ansari has chosen to address the elephant in the room, in his trademark sharp wit.

In the new Netflix stand-up special that began streaming Tuesday, titled, Aziz Ansari: Right Now, he chose to take the matter headlong. While Ansari undertook an international tour, “Road to Nowhere,” earlier in summer, when he also visited India, here in the US, it is his first major act ever since the accusation that came last year.

As soon as he opened his act, Ansari remarked: “It is a comedy special, about a man who mistakes him for Hasan Minhaj (host of Patriot Act, also on Netflix). The man almost conscious of his silly identity error, now tries to make up by pretending to know Ansari well enough, and says, “Aziz, right, Master of None, Parks and Recreation? Aziz said, he answered, “Yes, Yea that’s me.” The man now gains his attention by saying, ‘treat yo self,’ a popular line from the show. “Yeah, yeah that’s me,’’ answers Aziz.

Now, for the clincher, the man says, “And the whole thing, last year, sexual misconduct?” “No, no, no, that was Hasan,” remarks Ansari, and it is enough for the crowd to break into a hearty laughter.

But then it was time for the comedian to take the issue headlong, in all maturity and seriousness. In the winter of 2018, an unidentified woman had alleged that Ansari, during a sexual encounter with her, forced her to do certain things, which she did not feel comfortable about. The allegation snowballed into a public debate on whether the conduct comes under the category of harassment, misogyny or not.

On the show, Ansari said: “There’s times I felt scared, there’s times I felt humiliated, there’s times I felt embarrassed, and ultimately, I just felt terrible that this person felt this way. After a year or so, I just hope it was a step forward. It moved things forward for me, made me think about a lot. I hope I’ve become a better person.”

Understanding the awkwardness of the situation, he remarked, “This isn’t the most hilarious way to begin a comedy show, but it’s important to me that you know how I feel.”

Ansari also offered an outsider’s perspective on the situation and said, “I always think about a conversation I had with one of my friends where he was like, ‘You know what man? That whole thing made me think about every date I’ve ever been on.’ And I thought, wow, that’s pretty incredible. If this made not just me but other people be more thoughtful, then that’s a good thing, and that’s how I feel about it.”

Ansari then took the show further by talking about many things including his Danish girlfriend and how interracial relationships are perceived in America today. Ansari closed the show on a high note and left a certain fondness for himself with the viewer, as he emerged as a man who did not shy away from talking about his “misconduct.” Through wit and humor, Ansari showed everything is possible, even an apology!

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