He’s been a Human Giant, stolen scenes from folks like Seth Rogen and Adam Sandler, and waged a big battle with IMAX. Now, he’s ready for prime time as host of the MTV Movie Awards. And if you don’t already know the 411 on Aziz Ansari, well, you’d better keep reading.
When the 27-year-old funnyman landed the gig as host of the 2010 Movie Awards, his name started trending faster than a recently deceased Golden Girl. Everyone had questions about his background, and celeb buddies like Sarah Silverman , Kristen Bell and Diddy were happy to provide answers — even if we’re pretty sure most of them were made up.
“One time, young Aziz got stuck under a TV,” Diddy said of one of the formative moments in Aziz’s youth. “He was trapped under there for six years. Six years.”
The real story began in the comedy gold mine of Columbia, South Carolina, where Ansari was born and raised, eventually matriculating at New York University and honing his craft in the evenings at the Upright Citizen Brigade Theatre. Ansari first made a name for himself in 2005 when Rolling Stone magazine put him on their “Hot List” for his comedy skills, and constant touring alongside folks like Flight of the Conchords and the Comedians of Comedy made his spotlight shine brighter.
Littering his material with up-to-the-minute references to pop culture and his love of Facebook and Twitter, Ansari began collaborating with funny friends Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer to make short films, which eventually became the 2006 breakout series “Human Giant.” Meanwhile, he proved himself as one of Hollywood’s MVPs with tiny-but-memorable roles in everything from “The Rocker” to “Observe and Report” to “I Love You, Man” — breaking through most memorably as scene-stealing, Dane Cook-like comedian Randy in Judd Apatow’s “Funny People.”
In 2009, he was cast opposite Amy Poehler in “Parks and Recreation,” and although the reviews and ratings weren’t great at first, the show would soon turn a creative corner. Like any great comedian, Aziz also has a tendency to sometimes tell it like it is too much, resulting in a dust-up in 2009 with IMAX.
“IMAX is whoring out their brand name and trying to trick people,” Ansari wrote on his blog after paying extra to see a movie that was played on a smaller screen than the large-format company normally uses. The company shot back, but the message was clear, and Ansari’s sizable following seemed to appreciate him stepping out of his funnyman box for a cause close to his heart.
Relive the wildest, funniest and most jaw-dropping moments of the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, watch revealing red-carpet interviews and get exclusive movie clips after the show at MovieAwards.MTV.com.