Aziz Ansari's new comedy special "Buried Alive" arrives exclusively on Netflix this Friday, November 1st at 12:01am PT, a stand-up concert film shot at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia during the "Parks and Rec" star's 2013 tour. The writer, executive producer and star of the special (which was directed by Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern of "Shut Up and Play the Hits") joined members of the press on a call earlier this month. Having immensely matured since his last specials, "Dangerously Delicious" and "Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening," Ansari has an entire new slew of topics to discuss and plenty more ground to cover.
Ansari, now 30 years old, has entered a new stage in his life. His stand-up no longer solely consists of stories of awkward encounters or hanging out with Kanye West. Now the comedian gives insight on his personal life, pending adulthood, babies and love in the modern era. Here are some highlights from the Q&A.
On what stand-up does for him: "I just think stand-up is a very unique artwork. It's so singular. I enjoy acting -- I like doing "Parks." But it's a platform where I can really discuss whatever I want to discuss, in my viewpoints, and I don't have to deal with things. I can get frustrated. I can think of something today and then work on it tonight on stage. That's a creative process for me that I don't think will ever get old."
On when he realized he could be funny for a living: "There really wasn't one pivotal moment. I started doing stand-up with the intent of just trying to get good at it. Eventually all these other things started happening and I was able to make a living doing it. But when I started, I really just enjoyed it and wanted to get better at it in a way that you would want to get better at playing guitar. I really didn't see it as at the level of where I'd tour in theaters. I never thought of that as an end goal."
On why he enjoys working with Netflix: "Netflix is one of the few outlets we have to release materials, where people that are watching get to continue watching them in the way they like. I think people now just like to watch stuff, whatever they want, and be watching whenever. I've done every kind of method of releasing my stuff for $5 on Paypal, but I found, when I started I was on Netflix, people just seemed to watch it on their time. People seemed to enjoy the use of it."
On exploring more personal topics: "It came about organically. I'm kind of standing above whatever is going on in my life, whatever is in my head -- wife and babies and marriage. I ended up -- well, it was especially about that stuff, so then, if anything random came up that was funny, I didn't really put in."
On Tatiana Maslany of "Orphan Black" guest-starring on "Parks and Rec": "She is great. There is one more episode with her in it, then hopefully we'll be able to get her back later this season. I'm a big fan of 'Orphan Black' so I was really excited that she was on the show."
On the evolution of stand-up since he started while at NYU: "It's crazy seeing everyone I came up with succeed and go on to all these bigger and better careers. Everyone that you see on TV -- people I remember doing stuff with! It's amazing to see how everyone has moved on."
On pushing the envelope with raunchy jokes: "You have to take it all on a case by case basis. Like the child molester joke that people got politically correct about- -- ultimately that was a joke about how I'm scared to have kids because I would be scared for the safety of my kids. You know, like parents these days let their kids run around in the mall and things like that. People can take my jokes out of context and make me look like a horrible person."
On being 30: "It's the same as being in your twenties. It's feels the same as being in your twenties except I miss being able to say that I'm in my twenties. Other than that, you live your life the same way you want."
On Human Giant: "I'm still in touch with the Human Giant guys, with Paul [Scheer] and Rob [Huebel], but we are all busy doing our own things. Everything has evolved."
On future books: "I haven't even written one yet! There's a deal for one so far, but I haven't written anything. So far it came organically from the path of my next special. It seems like it can have a unique opportunity to do something different."