Adulthood. It's a daunting word for younger folk -- one that denotes responsibility, maturity and family. But between his signature South Carolinian whine and fast-paced baller talk, Aziz Ansari deconstructs the term, while embracing his own adulthood with a laugh.
Tonight, this charming funnyman from the politically charged NBC sitcom hit "Parks and Recreation" will perform at Heinz Hall. If you're expecting more youthful banter from flashy, club-promoting romantic Tom Haverford or the innuendo-filled witticisms from Mr. Ansari's past specials, you're in for a surprise.
"This [show] is a lot more focused on themes," he told Esquire magazine. "It's about the fear of having kids and seeing your friends have kids. It's about marriage and how hard it is to meet someone you really like. So it's three themes that are super-relatable, and that's a lot different from my other specials."
Appropriately, Mr. Ansari's second round of the Buried Alive tour coincides with the comedian turning 30.
"[Buried Alive] is an evening of bewilderment and disillusionment ... it's disillusionment with the whole idea of adulthood, and bewilderment with 'Oh, like I'm at the age now where I'm supposed to get married and have a kid,'" he told Life + Times.
It makes sense for these whirling feelings of adulthood to surface at a time when Mr. Ansari's friends (including Jay-Z and Kanye West) are settling down and having kids. But this Indian-American adult still wants to take time to revel in his youth.
"I still feel like a kid. I don't feel like I'm an adult yet."
The magic combination of Mr. Ansari's cheeky voice inflections and his show's heavier themes is a testament to his balance between adult responsibility and childish play. With a dash of his well-timed rhythm and tone, the audience is left in stitches.
Just last year, the former NYU student's funny bone slipped him a spot on the Forbes 2012 30 Under 30 List in Entertainment alongside Lena Dunham, Nicholas Hoult and Chloe Grace Moretz.
The Hollywood Reporter claimed that Mr. Ansari "has become one of the most prolific writers and performers on the comedy scene in recent years," and Rolling Stone recently placed him on the cover of its special comedy issue labeling him "the funniest man under 30."
Having starred in his first major movie role in the action film "30 Minutes or Less," Mr. Ansari is currently working on three screenplays for Judd Apatow.
Despite his recent acclaim and celebrity status, the South Carolina native keeps his stand-up show bare bones for more emphasis on pure comedy. With a simple pre-show routine that includes lunch at local food joints, revising his set list and sipping a hot cup of tea with honey, Aziz Ansari chooses to chill down before revving up for his performance.
"See, I've never been on a rock star tour, so I can't compare it. This [tour] is literally just me, [my opener] and my tour manager hopping around, going to get sandwiches, and like 'sound check, check, cool,' and then we do the show and then we're done. It's pretty much a stress-free thing," he told Life + Times.
Mr. Ansari builds his performance material from unannounced stand-up shows in New York and L.A., where he tries out new jokes on smaller audiences.
"After a while of trial and error, you get a fully formed bit and then it's usually good enough to do in a bigger show like this," he said.
Noel Um: email@example.com.