aziz ansari-buried alive

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Growing into adulthood can lead to revelations that might be surprising to one’s younger self. If you’ve spent most of your twenties on stage, that incredible leap is highly visible. Such is the case for comedian Aziz Ansari in his new special.

Buried Alive starts out with  Ansari declaring that he turned thirty and a lot of things have changed in his life.  Namely, a lot of his friends are having children and getting married. As one would expect, he does go the somewhat typical route of talking about “all of his options” as a single male.  He can do whatever he wants, like watch new release movies.

In a later bit in the special, he talks about how married couples, especially with kids, never have time for any personal enjoyment. For an example, he compares a single guy who gets lucky with a threesome and a couple going to see a movie. The threesome is a kind of boring comparison, but Ansari delivers a great punchline when he mentions the couple is seeing Rango, a movie that’s been out for a while.  Outside of occasions like this, his material throughout the special has a more personal take.

Aziz appears to be confronting the issues of marriage and children, knowing that they will likely be a predictable outcome in his future. His most vulnerable moment in discussing children comes when he discusses his viewing of the documentary Bully.  During the documentary, he notices that a kid says something to the effect of “I’ll kill you” to another kid, and that would get an adult fired at IKEA.  Ansari reflects on this by explaining how having children is a gamble.

You might end up with a good kid, and honestly, you might get a bad one. At least, that’s how Aziz sees it.  With this bit, he’s  directly taking on the idea that if he meets the right woman and has a kid, he is scared that the kid might not turn out the way he hopes.   Meeting women is an area of much emotional depth for the Parks and Rec star on the special.

In what is the special’s funniest moment, Aziz asks for a couple in the audience and their engagement story. Instead of getting a nice, kind of fluffy story, the concertgoers he chooses add to the comedy. The husband discusses how they went out for lunch, and the wife talks about how she was just waiting for the breadsticks. In a nice turn of events, Ansari asks “Were the breadsticks…unlimited?” Personally, I found this to be the high point of the entire special.  The couple in question had been together a few years, with the Aziz confused about people who meet earlier than that.

A clip from Buried Alive.

“You met and got married in less than a year? That’s like an episode of How I Met Your Mother!“, he exclaims (okay I’ve been paraphrasing), incredulous over how quickly people can meet. There are many foibles involved in finding the right person, especially like finding a place to meet. The comedian is surprised that a friend found his wife by just searching for “Jewish” in his zip code, as opposed to a bar or just random chance.

Ansari has a special sort of disdain for bars and the club scene. He describes a setting populated by salt-shaker Instagramming young people and an assortment of “woo girls” (which is from How I Met Your Mother !) all eventually meeting in a club.  The atmosphere, according to Ansari, is created by music that tricks you into having a good time and buying overpriced drinks, not actually finding a serious connection.  To close out his set, he pulls off a massive callback, saying that the songs should tell club-goers to “settle down and find singles that are Jewish and in your zip code”.

Aziz Ansari ends his regular set, which is thematically unified, with that joke. He saves his staple of celebrity run-ins for his encore. He mentions how he performed for President Obama, and all his dad can ask is why Obama has more Twitter followers than Aziz. Finally, he details a story about how he sang Seal‘s “Kiss From The Rose”-right before Seal took the stage at a charity event.

Buried Alive shows the growth Aziz Ansari has made as a person and a comic. He’s moved on from tormenting his cousins and run-ins with Kanye West to more personal reflections. Not quite Tom Haverford from Parks, he continues to make strides in his comedic cohesiveness and wit.

Buried Alive is available now on Netflix.

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