With great humor comes great responsibility, and actor/comedian Aziz Ansari may not have lived up to the standards his fans have set for him.
Ansari, who nearly filled Binghamton University’s West Gym Friday as a part of his Dangerously Delicious Tour, performed for a little more than an hour. The set seemed timed and lacked his well-known bits, like going to an Owl City concert and not hearing “Fireflies.” Not that I know why you would want to see Owl City in the first place.
Did he nail every joke he told? Sure. But is it wrong to have wanted more?
Let’s rewind. The show opened with Max Silvestri, a young, mediocre comedian whose rambling set was aimed at one thing: making Ansari look good. Why else would acts have openers anyway?
Best known for his role on “Parks and Recreation” and cameo in “Funny People,” Ansari walked onto the stage at 7:45 p.m. and was met with a roaring crowd of BU students and even a few local high schoolers.
The comedian began by adamantly explaining how much he hates the flash of the camera, so to satisfy photo-takers he posed in various positions for photos. It was an interactive way to start the set, but everyone could tell he had some bad camera experience growing up. It was borderline uncomfortable.
The jokes started rolling out efficiently; Ansari is a seasoned storyteller who didn’t waste a moment with the mundane. The set started with cracks regarding his relationships with women and being famous. The bits were humorous in their realism, but what comic doesn’t have lines about failed relationships in his arsenal?
Most students, however, were totally fine with the hilarious, if predictable, jokes.
“I know Aziz from watching ‘Parks and Recreation,’ and I thought the show was great. I was really surprised by him,” said Jennifer Haimowitz, a senior majoring in English.
The jokes got funnier and stranger as the set progressed, often revolving around storytelling humor, including tales about his cousin Harris and the Internet, as well as plenty of phallic imagery.
He told jokes that described sex with strange items, such as dog crap and a bowl of mac and cheese. The show was also sprinkled with self-deprecating humor and even audience-insulting cracks. Ansari would often finish his jokes addressing the audience, remarking “you’re stupid” or “shut your fucking mouth.”
The end of the set was where the disappointment occurred. While Ansari did ask for audience recommendations, he took about five minutes on one and then was finished.
His encore featured a few new jokes and references back to his entire set as a way of capping off the show.
The show did not feature his well-known jokes, such as “RAAAAANDY” or the Cold Stone Creamery bit. Instead, Ansari took a look at the time and upon seeing that it was 9 p.m., he was done.
“I think $20 is a lot to pay for an hour of comedy,” said Michelle Roter, a freshman majoring in philosophy. “He was really funny but the show could have been longer.”
Ansari’s jokes were often themed around his personal success. He couldn’t help but tell the crowd how he hired a personal trainer or his relief in the fact that he doesn’t have children.
“I have no responsibility,” he exclaimed near the end of the set. He was not ashamed of the fact that he is 28; he is very aware that he is not a kid and that he may even be at the peak of his fame. If anything, the show shed interesting light on the comic’s career and the subconscious fears that stars realistically have.
The comedian was obviously going to give a funny show. With his age and experience, the audience shouldn’t have expected anything less. However, many left hoping for that little extra. And in that category, Ansari did not deliver.