Films

Aziz Ansari

His stand-up shows may sound worryingly like R Kelly album titles (Intimate Moments For A Sensual Evening, Deliciously Dangerous), but Aziz Ansari has added a heavy dollop of cool to the US comic circuit. His burgeoning gag-telling career aside, you might know him best as well-meaning douchebag Tom Haverford on US sitcom Parks And Recreation and, with a new tour under his belt and a cameo in Seth Rogen’s apocalypse-com This Is The End coming up, ShortList wanted to know how he fits it all in...

How did your cameo in This Is The End come about?

I’ve worked with Seth and the others [Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill] on various occasions, so when he asked me to cameo at the big LA party in the film, it was a no-brainer. Ironically, I’m a workaholic, so you’d never see me at that sort of party in real life.

Are fans disappointed if you’re not like Parks And Recreation’s Tom Haverford in real life?

Once you do a show like that, you sign up for people yelling at you in the street. But the strangest situation is when someone says nothing, but walks past wearing a T-shirt with the show on it.

Any crazy fan mail?

I don’t even know where my fan mail goes these days. There’s probably a big pile of anthrax-covered envelopes somewhere.

Haverford refers to himself as the ‘brown Gosling’. Have you heard from Ryan Gosling himself about that?

Now, he is a big Parks And Rec fan. Seriously, I’ve met him and he’s talked about the show. He’s got a great sense of humour, but I haven’t seen him since the “brown Gosling” comment. I hope he’s seen it.

Any horror stories early in your career as a stand-up?

People have a caricatured idea of bad gigs, but mine just involved drunk people talking, which is rude. Never had hecklers – I can’t imagine someone shouting, “You suck.” I’d be like: “I must not suck, as you’ve bought a ticket, so you must be impressed with my back catalogue.”

Are you a fan of British comedy?

No, I refuse to watch it [laughs]. Sure, I’ve seen Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, Brass Eye and The Mighty Boosh, but I try not to watch comedy. I work so much I tend to be comedied out. I put on more dramatic stuff such as Breaking Bad. Oh and Game Of Thrones. That show is great.

Would you be up for a cameo in it?

Oh my God, yeah. There should be darker skinned folks in Westeros. Maybe I could play some dude who turns up and beats the crap out of Joffrey. That would be a cameo.

You majored in marketing. Ever look at Don Draper and feel you missed out?

Oh, you mean like getting married, cheating on my wife and working on ads for bread? I think I made the right choice.

This Is The End is at cinemas from 28 June; Season 3 of Parks And Recreation is on DVD in July

Image: Rex