Next time someone tells you that a man’s career will be ruined if an angry woman makes allegations against them in the #metoo era, I want you to picture my Tuesday night.
I went to see the comedian Aziz Ansari. At the Sydney Opera House. It was the first of two sold-out stand-up shows he was playing to the 2000-capacity Concert Hall that night.
He was excellent. A comic at the peak of his powers. Engaging and likeable and sharp and quick.
The very first thing that Aziz Ansari talks about in this show, Road To Nowhere, is his very bad year.
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He opens with a story about being recognised at an airport by someone who mistakes him for Hasan Minhaj – “another” Indian-American comedian with specials on Netflix. When the airport guy realises his mistake, Ansari’s story goes, he starts back-pedalling.
“Oh, Aziz, no, I know you!” And the guy starts listing Ansari’s impressive credentials: Parks and Rec, Master Of None, his Netflix show at Madison Square Garden… and then, there was that… inappropriate conduct thing from last year.
“Nooooooo,” yells Ansari, both on stage and in his anecdote. “Not that! Shhhhhhh….”
It brings the house down.
If you’ve forgotten what happened to Aziz Ansari last year, here’s a speedy cheat-sheet.
A young woman named “Grace” told a website called Babe about a date that she had been on with Ansari in New York City in 2017. It went instantly viral. And suddenly the world knew a whole lot of things about Aziz Ansari that he wishes they didn’t.