Aziz Ansari’s Nightclub Comedian, On Netflix, Is A Short, Funny And Intimate Portrait Of Our Current Fears

Aziz Ansari is a talent writer and performer, managing to pull off what he claims was an afternoon of writing jokes
Aziz Ansari’s Nightclub Comedian, On Netflix, Is A Short, Funny And Intimate Portrait Of Our Current Fears

Aziz Ansari made his Netflix standup special comeback with Nightclub Comedian, which dropped yesterday. Intimate in its premise, delivery and its content, the special can be considered a worthy follow-up to his 2019, Spike Lee-directed Right Now. In Right Now, Aziz was weaving his way back from sexual misconduct allegations, getting into the groove of touring and making stand up specials again. His content in Right Now was fresh, almost like an overhaul of Aziz the comedian – vastly different from the dominant relationship-led material that had made its way into his show Master of None.

With Nightclub Comedian, Aziz wants deliver the magic again, on his own. The special, shot at the landmark Comedy Cellar, is meant to be an impromptu one. Aziz supposedly called the manager and walked in as a surprise guest. While the special's length – just 30 minutes – and setting indicate that there is some truth to this premise, the cinematography, audience, and overall slickness of production indicates that there's more to the 'text sent to the manager' story.

Aziz starts with a segment on the pandemic, taking on vaccines and the badly designed and pirate-able US vaccine passports. Pro-vaccine himself, he moves onto vaccine deniers and the need to perhaps have a different kind of dialogue with them to get them on board. Midway through, he proclaims, "Everything right now is just a little bit shittier, like everywhere," drawing laughs. While it may not sound as profound on paper, like some of the other segments within the same set, it's the high point of his special. It is the honest-to-God truth of the pandemic. Aziz captures it hilariously and segues fluidly into talking about the mass resignation and demand for better wages.

For most of the special, he walks a thin line. He is one step away from turning this show into the kind of liberal millennial rant that we've have heard before. However, Aziz is a talent writer and performer, managing to pull off what he claims was an afternoon of writing jokes, turning them into an intimate, watchable portrayal of our current and generational fears.

Nightclub Comedian is short, funny and well-crafted. Many comedians, including Vir Das have been trying to perfect the post-pandemic stand-up gig – with smaller audiences and settings. Aziz's Nightclub Comedian definitely sets the visual benchmark for others to measure up against.

"Sometimes you've gotta come back and compete with chicken wings," Aziz says, about the changing post-pandemic gig landscapes. If the vastly improved content from the current generation of comedians is any indication, then perhaps that is a good thing – this humbling of the Jester.

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