On the Scene: Aziz Ansari grows up in 'Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive'

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Growing up is hard to do, as they say, and Aziz Ansari agrees, hilariously so, in his new stand-up special, Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive (available on Netflix on Friday at 3:01 a.m. ET).

Netflix screened Buried Alive on Wednesday night for a theater of fans, friends, and Netflix all-stars, including the ladies of Orange Is the New Black. Though they mostly stayed tight-lipped about the second season, currently filming in New York, Yael Stone promised it will have “a different energy. … We’re learning things about our characters, we’re getting pretty deep, and it’s a wonderful thing in terms of grounding the stories.”

Also departing from form, Ansari told EW that if you liked his other comedy, you’ll enjoy Buried Alive — but expect it to be “totally different” from his previous stand-up specials: “I wanted to evolve as a comedian and not just repeat myself.” The Netflix special, filmed live at Philadelphia’s Merriam Theatre in April, finds Ansari turning 30, “dealing with adulthood and what to do if you’re someone who’s not ready to have babies or get married.”

It all sounds a little heavy, but when Aziz strolls onto Merriam’s stage in an appropriately grown-up three-piece suit complete with a flower on his lapel, his serious questions beget more lighthearted jokes that are able to start with anger toward Chick-fil-A for their negativity toward gay marriage and end with a rant about ghosts that technically goes on too long, but really goes on just long enough.

One of the best moments of the special is a bit (already released by Netflix in the video below) that slides back into more classic territory. Ansari says that this comedy special is different because he’s more grown-up, and he’s right; but it’s this glimpse into the boyish wonder of his mind — as he tells the audience how much he loves watching “black dudes [get] blown away by magic tricks” — that reminds us of the Ansari we’ve come to know in previous specials and as Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation. It’s still indicative of the rest of the show’s broader themes, however, that Ansari ties it all together with a (slightly) deeper question: “Do you realize how much better the world would be if we all just treated each other the same way black dudes treat magicians?”

When asked if someone who might be dealing with similar growing pains moving into their 30s could gain any wisdom from his special, Aziz told EW we’d all be thanking him after watching — “hopefully.”


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