TV Goodness Q&A: Aziz Ansari Talks About His Netflix Comedy Special Buried Alive [INTERVIEW]
I’ve been a fan of Aziz Ansari since he first appeared on my television screen on NBC’s Parks and Recreation.Â I love his brand of humor and I was very excited to hear he was doing an exclusive stand-up comedy special for Netflix. In Buried Alive, he talks about pending adulthood, kids and love in today’s crazy world. Ansari also takes aim at our fixation with MTV’s fascination with teen moms and homophobic fast-food chains. Below, Ansari chats about how his comedy has evolved, how his philosophy on relationships and children has changed and why he chose Netflix for this project.
In your own words, what is the show about?
Aziz Ansari: â€œBuried Alive is about that time when you start to grapple with the gravity of the adult world – love, marriage, babies and more. Do I really have to deal with all that now? Are my ding-dong friends really getting married and having their own children? I couldn’t imagine having a kid right now. After this, I’m gonna drink an apple juice and watch Jurassic Park â€“ if that’s a guy that’s supposed to be ready to be a father, I’m very concerned. That’s what Buried Alive is about.”
How does stand-up satisfy you in ways that differ from acting?
Aziz: “I enjoy acting, but there is something about the purity of stand-up, just being one person talking into a microphone sharing their ideas and thoughts, that is very special. In acting, you’re part of a big team and you’re all working on this film or TV show, but stand-up is a very singular art form that really lets you do whatever you want.”
You discuss relationships from all sorts of different angles â€“ marrying high-school sweethearts, how long you should know someone before getting married, gay marriage, arranged marriages, online dating. I know youâ€™re working on a book about relationships in the digital age. Itâ€™s an intrinsically interesting subject, of course, but what aspects of pursuing romance do you find particularly fascinating?
Aziz: “Three years ago, I was at a bar with a friend and two girls I hadn’t met before. I suggested to the group that we go to another bar that night and one of those girls hooked up with a dude she met at the bar. Now, three years later, those two people who hooked up at that bar are engaged and are probably one day going to have a kid. That kid, that human life, will exist partially because dumb-dumb Aziz just happened to say, ‘Hey, let’s go to that bar on 7th Street.’ That’s the most fascinating, insane thing in the world to me.Â Buried Alive is all about how I’m scared of settling down and just want to stay young and keep having fun. But, weirdly, after Buried Alive, I just got sick of going out and drinking and dating. I decided I kind of did want to settle down. What I realized, though, [is] the process of finding that person has become extremely different in recent times because of technology. So the next show, which is untitled, has been about that â€“ modern courtship. The goal with that show is not just jokes about Instagram or whatever, it’s about how technology is making a deeper change in how we connect with each other and how we treat people.”
How is Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive different than any other show you have done?
Aziz: “The other specials I’ve done have been more random and just a collection of bits. This one is a lot more cohesive and I talk about bigger ideas than what I’ve done in the past. Once I started talking about this whole fear of adulthood theme, I realized I found something that a lot of people connected with and was a totally different subject matter than people had been used to seeing me tackle before. My favorite artists are ones that constantly evolve what they do, but still maintain some essence that keeps what they do special and unique to them. I hope that’s what Buried Alive accomplishes for me.”
What do you hope viewers will take away from this special?
Aziz: “I hope someone that’s my age and hitting this point in life realizes they aren’t the only ones that are terrified.”
Describe the effect that turning 30 had on you. You talk about friends who are suddenly getting serious about their lives â€“ did turning 30 make you feel like you had to become â€œmatureâ€ in any fashion?
Aziz: “Well, that’s the whole dilemma. I am 30, but I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near a position in life where I am ready to get married or have a kid. If I had a kid right now, I’d be so worried. How am I gonna tour and raise a kid? I’m a grown man that still occasionally eats Gushers fruit snacks. I can’t have my own kid yet. That said, I do feel more mature than I did at 25 and feel like I’m grown as a person, but I still am not ready to be a full on adult with the responsibilities of a family.”
Have any of your friends given you a reason for having children that you consider wise and reasonable and that seems worth the loss of the freedom theyâ€™re sacrificing? (Maybe so they can send you photos of their kids and pretend theyâ€™re the first people to ever experience the miracle of life?)
Aziz: “There is surely the unexplainable joy to have something in your life you love and care that much for. I can’t begin to even fathom what that’s like, but it seems amazing and something that I want to be a part of my life at some point, but I just don’t know when or how.”
Can you ever imagine having children, or do you think your material on parenthood has precluded that, given that any prospective kids would eventually see you dumping on parenthood and think thatâ€™s how you feel about them, that theyâ€™re nothing but a burden?
Aziz: “Ouch. I hope I don’t come off that harsh on kids. I really just think itâ€™s more of a scary decision and I don’t see how people are so casual about it. How does pretty much every couple know they are having a kid? Really, you’re that sure you can do it? That you want it? Part of me admires that decisiveness. I don’t think kids are a burden; I just think itâ€™s a huge commitment and monumental life change, and those kind of things are scary to wrap my head around.”
Why did you choose Netflix for this special?
Aziz: “I had done all three release methods with my last special Dangerously Delicious â€“ direct download, then a few months later, cable, then a few months after, Netflix. Once it debuted on Netflix, it was clear that so many people were discovering the special and it became clear that was how most people preferred me to release my material. Everyone seems to find it to be the most convenient way to watch new TV shows and movies, so it was a pretty easy decision.”
How do you feel about being a part of this new platform of original programming?
Aziz: “Clearly, whoever is making those decisions has done a great job and made some smart moves. I’m flattered to be part of the same group of programming.”
Letâ€™s say a woman is interested in you â€“ whatâ€™s the best way for her to capture your attention?
Aziz: “‘Excuse me sir, your fly is down.’ This will work, cause usually my fly is down and I appreciate the concern.”
Buried Alive premieres Friday, November 1st at 12:01 am on Netflix.
Edited for space and content.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…