Aziz Ansari (born February 23, 1983) is an American actor and comedian. He stars as Tom Haverford on the NBC show Parks and Recreation.
Ansari began his career performing standup comedy in New York City during the summer of 2000 while attending New York University. In 2007, he created and starred in the critically acclaimed 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 standup 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.
Aziz Ansari was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to an Indian Tamil Muslim family from Tamil Nadu, India. His mother, Fatima, works in a medical office, and his father, Shoukath, is a gastroenterologist. Ansari grew up in Bennettsville, South Carolina, where he attended Marlboro Academy as well as the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics. He graduated from New York University with a major in marketing. Ansari has described himself as an atheist.
He 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", and he won the Jury Award for "Best Standup" at HBO's 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado.
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 critically acclaimed show completed two seasons. The group was offered a third season, but opted to pass in order 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. The show, Parks and Recreation, debuted in April 2009 with Ansari portraying government employee Tom Haverford. 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 number one spot on their list of "TV MVPS".
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, Galfianakis' "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:
In addition to his work on Parks and Recreation, Ansari appeared on the HBO series Flight of the Conchords 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 to the hospital. Ansari's character was written off the show so he could work on Parks and Recreation.
In August 2011, Ansari made a cameo appearance in the music video for "Otis" by Jay-Z and Kanye West from their collaborated album, Watch the Throne.
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. Ansari is also attached to star in another film with Danny McBride based on an idea from Ansari and 30 Rock writer Matt Hubbard. Parks and Recreation writer Harris Wittels is currently scripting the project. 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 Danny McBride. The film was released on August 12, 2011.
Even amongst various acting commitments, Ansari has continued performing and touring as a standup 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.
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."
In July 2010, Ansari began a new tour, Dangerously Delicious, which was in theaters across the US; stops included the Bonnaroo Music Festival and Carnegie Hall in New York City. The tour wrapped with a filming for a special at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC in June 2011. This special was released on his website in March 2012 for download or stream.
In March 2012, Ansari announced a new tour entitled Buried Alive, with dates scheduled for spring and summer 2012. A third stand-up special was filmed during the tour at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and premiered on Netflix on November 1, 2013.
In 2012, Ansari played a talking goat in an animated video for Oxfam America to encourage donations.
Following the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013, Ansari performed a benefit for the victims at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, MA. All ticket proceeds benefited The One Fund & The Officer Richard Donohue Fund.
School for Scoundrels
Observe and Report
I Love You, Man
Get Him to the Greek
30 Minutes or Less
What's Your Number?
Ice Age: Continental Drift
This Is the End
Date and Switch
Uncle Morty's Dub Shack
Episode: "Didja Listen to My Demo?"
Flight of the Conchords
Episode "Drive By"
Parks and Recreation
Nominated - NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series(2013)
Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening
Comedy Central special
The Life & Times of Tim
Episode "Nagging Blonde/Tim & the Elephant"
Comedy Central special
Episode: "Prairie Dog Companion"
Ben 10: Omniverse
Episode "Arrested Development"
Episode: "Be More"
The Venture Bros.
Episode: "What Color Is Your Cleansuit?"
The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco
Episode: "Aziz Ansari in Hong Kong"
Dr. Hector Rocha
Episode: "The 8 Defensive Points of Hanukkah"
Wander Over Yonder
Episode: "The Little Guy"
Jay-Z and Kanye West