Aziz Ansari: Standup guy walks onto film, TV projects

Comedy Impact Report 2011: Tube Titans

Right after “Parks and Recreation” wrapped its third season in March, Aziz Ansari moved to New York so he could concentrate on writing and performing standup comedy. Ansari slowly built his act over the next few weeks in anticipation of a summer tour that ended up adding dates because of demand. “To do a huge theater tour … wow … that’s your dream as a comedian,” Ansari says. “I remember doing open mics in New York for five other comics, so to play Carnegie Hall was really fun.” Ansari’s 30-city tour sold 10,000 tickets in New York alone and ended with a fourth sold-out show at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C. Ansari is editing material from the Warner dates for a DVD special and writing another hour of material to perform next year.

“I started off doing standup,” Ansari says. “I never planned on being an actor or anything. Everything came from doing standup.” The acting side of Ansari’s career enjoyed some highs this year, too. In addition to his work playing a would-be Russell Simmons-like impresario on “Parks and Rec,” Ansari had a starring role in this summer’s comedy-crime film “30 Minutes or Less” (which earned $37 million) and will be voicing a character in the next “Ice Age” movie.