The 26-year-old comedian's profile has risen quickly over the last couple of years. From being an up-and-coming stand-up star playing the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York, the last three years have seen him do two seasons of MTV's 'Human Giant,' a half-season as lazy intern Ed on the eighth season of 'Scrubs,' a big role as awful stand-up comic Randy in Judd Apatow's 'Funny People,' a one-hour stand-up special on Comedy Central, and a season and a half as Tom Haverford on 'Parks and Recreation.'
I caught up with Ansari at NBC's all-star press party last month and asked him about how his character, who plays the scheming right-hand man of the earnest Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), has developed since the show started, and what's next for a guy who's done a lot in such a short period of time.
The former co-creator of MTV sketch comedy show 'Human Giant,' Ansari now shuffles his time between 'Parks,' movie roles and stand-up ('Aziz Ansari: Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening,' his first CD/TV special, airs on Comedy Central Jan. 17.) Most recently, the writer sold three film ideas to Judd Apatow and Universal Pictures, including a spinoff of his popular Raaaaaaaandy character from last year's 'Funny People.'
We caught up with Anzari right before Thanksgiving from his family's home in Charlotte, NC, where he's "looking forward to my mother's cooking and hanging out with my cousins for a few days."
But eventually, the show evolved into a 60-minute scream fest of recurring characters spouting catchphrases over and over and celebrity satire that taught lessons about the proliferation of pop culture and ignorance. Important lessons, such as "Boy is Anna Nicole Smith dumb and fat!" and "Hey, is that Paris Hilton a whore or what?" Every episode felt like a hand was reaching out of the TV and rubbing a cheese grater across my face. Now 14 years after its inception, Fox has finally decided to pull the plug on Mad TV and let it die a slow horrible death instead of taking it out Old Yeller-style, the way God intended.
What's interesting about this news is that Ansari was also tapped to play one of the new interns on the eighth season of Scrubs, which is produced by and will now air on ABC. What I'm guessing is that, since Scrubs will finish shooting in August, this deal will start after his deal with the veteran medical comedy ends. If there happens to be a ninth season of the show, as Bill Lawrence told me might happen, I'd imagine he'd come back after his Universal deal ends or they'll just replace him with someone else.
By being funny. Damn funny, in fact.
Rob Huebel, Aziz Ansari, and Paul Scheer (l-r), otherwise known as Human Giant, are entering their second season on the cable network, starting tomorrow night at 11 PM ET. I spoke to the guys by telephone last week as they were doing a round of promotion for their second season, as well as the DVD of the first season, which was released on March 4.
Tidbits from the interview, and audio clips, are after the jump.
We knew it was coming back, we just didn't know when. Well, we still don't know officially, but Paul Scheer, one-third of the sketch comedy trio Human Giant along with Aziz Ansari and Rob Huebel, blogged yesterday that the series would likely return in January 2008. Paul's exact words were: "we are looking towards an air date of Jan 2008," which is not the same as "you will definitely see new episodes in January," but I'm not going to complain. It's coming back, that's all that matters.
It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to anyone that Human Giant, the new sketch comedy series for MTV, has been granted a second season.
In order to drum up more interest in the show, MTV turned the network over to the Human Giant men: Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer for 24 hours and told them they had to garner one million hits on their Web site if they wanted a second season. Of course, taking into consideration lines from the press release like, "fans can also show up in Times Square to deliver a pizza counting for 80 hits, or carving Paul Scheer's face into Mount Rushmore for the entire million hits" it's obvious the series was going to be renewed all along. Still, it's nice to hear an official announcement.
I love checking out NBC and CBS' channels over on YouTube, and it's not because I'm necessarily a big fan of the programming on either of those networks. Sure, they have quality programming just like anyone else, but when it comes to their late night programming, I don't pay much attention (except for Conan, he gets Tivoed every night).
So I told you that on May 18 Human Giant would be taking the reins of MTV and MTV2 for 24 hours starting at noon on May 18.
A rather amusing press release has it that MTV will give the series --which features actors Paul Scheer, Aziz Ansari and Rob Huebel-- a second season if they get one million hits on their MTV site. A snippet from the release:
Okay, so back on May 9 I found an interview with Human Giant's Paul Scheer (via CC Insider) in which Scheer said that he and his partners in crime, Aziz Ansari and Rob Huebel, would be taking over MTV for a whole 24 hours starting at noon on May 18. I couldn't find anything on MTV's site about it, and then I got distracted by something shiny and wound up forgetting about it.
Well, today The Coming cited an actual e-mail from Scheer himself that makes things a little less vague. It reads:
Hello, everyone. Are you enjoying your Saturday? That's great. Here's some funny videos I found:
First of all, our own Paul Goebel is doing a series of funny vlogs for NBC's DotComedy as The Remote Controller. He's already predicted the demise of FOX's Drive before anyone else. Will he use his Nostradamus-like skills to make even more chilling predictions? Who knows?
Have you been watching Human Giant on MTV? You should, it's a damn funny show. Check out this sketch of one of the most intense job interview you'll ever witness. It'll make you "put on your marshmallow pants and hit the boo-hoo button."
Well, not the real David Blaine, but these two videos (warning: strong language) via our pals at AOL feature actor Mitch Silpa doing a pretty accurate Blaine impression (right down to the lackadaisical delivery) and scaring the crap out of two young men, who, by the end, just want Blaine to leave them the hell alone. Make sure you watch the second clip first (the YouTube one) and then the one on top.
Also, for another spoof of a popular street magician, you should check out Human Giant's "The Illusionators," over on MTV's site. Paul Scheer and Aziz Ansari do a near-perfect parody of Criss Angel's Mindfreak series, right down to the sexy hair and rock and roll aesthetic.
I wonder when someone is going to do a Penn and Teller spoof? I'd like to see that.
It seems like we're experiencing a renaissance of decent sketch comedy programming or maybe we're just reaching an Upright Citizens Brigade alumni saturation point in popular media. (Seriously, move over Second City, and SNL, your days are numbered.) It could be the internet's doing - between the amateurs on YouTube, Super Deluxe and VBS, there's no shortage of comedy gold out there in accessible, bite-sized nuggets. Rather than try to pin down how and why our airwaves are awash in sketch-length comedy goodness, I'd like to draw your attention to MTV's most recent offering - Human Giant.
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