Aziz Ansari recently had a pop-up show in New York City at the Village Underground. The comedian used the opportunity to try new material on the roughlty 200 people who were in attendance and, at one point, also reflected on the sexual misconduct accusation made against him last year.
READ: “It’s Not Always Black And White”: Lena Waithe Addresses Aziz Ansari Sexual Misconduct Allegations
In a report from Vulture, Ansari first started with joke about running into someone in NYC who said they loved his Netflix show, only to realize they were talking about Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act. The guy then realized his mistake.
“‘Oh, no, Aziz, right?’ Yeah, yeah, that’s me. ‘Master of None!’ Yeah, yeah, that’s me. ‘Parks and Rec!’ Yeah, yeah, that’s me. ‘Treat yourself!’ Yeah, yeah, that’s me. ‘And you had the whole thing come out last year — sexual misconduct?’ No, no, no, no, no, no, that’s Hasan!” Ansari joked.
From there, the comedian then addressed the allegation directly, saying that he hadn’t really talked about it because he wanted time to process and think about what to say, but also admitted that “it’s a terrifying thing to talk about.”
“There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way,” he said. “But you know, after a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person.”
Ansari then recounted a conversation where a friend told him it made him reflect on the dates he’s been on.
“If that has made not just me but other guys think about this, and just be more thoughtful and aware and willing to go that extra mile, and make sure someone else is comfortable in that moment, that’s a good thing,” he said.
Ansari also said how the moment gave him perspective on his life and spoke on how grateful he is to be able to perform comedy. before extending thanks to the audience.
He talked about how he previously would say “Thanks so much!” after his shows just because that’s what he was supposed to do, not necessarily because he meant it.
“But now, I really mean it. I mean it on a different level,” he said before extending thanks to the audience. “You canceled whatever you were supposed to do tonight, and you came out in the cold, and you waited in line, and you put your phone in a stupid pouch. You did all this shit just to hear me talk for an hour and some change, and it means the world to me, so thank you so much.”
As Vulture notes, this was Ansari’s first real attempt at addressing the allegation since he issued a statement on it last year. This year has also found other comedians like Louis C.K. using their live sets to speak on their misbehavior against women, albeit not as reflective as Ansari’s.
Back in January, Louis appeared at the San Jose Improv in California, where he told the following joke: “I like to jerk off, and I don’t like being alone.” The joke was in reference to Louis’ past in which multiple women over a span of years accused the comedian of masturbating in front of them.
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