He's best known to mainstream audiences as the scene-stealing Tom Haverford on NBC's Parks and Recreation, but it was Aziz Ansari's stand-up comedy that got him to Pawnee, not to mention an impressive smattering of film roles and — what?! — that three-second cameo in a Kanye West and Jay-Z video.
Not bad for the native South Carolinian who once thought a double major in business and biology was his only future. Ansari's latest offering, Buried Alive, Netflix's first original stand-up comedy special, proves Ansari is at his best when he's onstage with a mic in his hand. Filmed at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia during a 75-city world tour last year, Buried Alive is not only a satisfyingly funny hour-plus of comedy: having recently turned 30 at the time of its taping, it also marks a milestone in Ansari's career (and life). His previous two specials, Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening and Dangerously Delicious (both also on Netflix) were funny for sure, but Buried Alive is much lighter on pop culture and heavier on romance, dating and marriage — especially as those concepts apply to our modern digital age.
I'm six years his senior, married, and currently typing these words hoping my two small children won't wake up and I think the dude makes some incredibly astute observations, especially about marriage (he is single). Ansari believes the institution is totally bizarre. Here's how he puts it on Buried Alive: "I want to keep hanging out with you until one of us dies," the man says to his would-be betrothed. "Put this ring on your finger so people know we have an arrangement." Sounds about right.
Is Ansari on point? Does his wisdom indicate a maturity beyond his years? Has technology ruined romance? Will dick pics save us all? Does it matter, as long as he makes you laugh? Tell us what you thought of Buried Alive in the comments below.
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is the founder and editor of Laughspin.com, which covers all things comedy. He hopes the Shire is real.