Aziz Ansari Opens His New Netflix Comedy Special By Somberly Addressing His Sexual Misconduct Allegations

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Aziz Ansari returned to Netflix on Tuesday morning when the streaming service dropped his new comedy special, Aziz Ansari Right Now, which is directed by Spike Jonze. The Master of None star takes the stage in NYC to a standing ovation, and after only a few minutes, he gets down to serious business. In doing so, Ansari addresses the 2018 sexual misconduct allegations against him from an anonymous accuser who revealed an encounter, in which she claimed to have felt pressured into sexual activity by Ansari. This led to an embattled discussion about sexual consent and sparked a debate about the nature of the accusations and whether they amounted to sexual misconduct or an embarrassingly bad date. Ansari then withdrew from the spotlight and, later, briefly addressed the matter onstage in low-key pop-up sets, but in this special, he goes deeper to express his feelings and regrets:

“There’s times I felt scared, there’s times I felt humiliated, there’s times I felt embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible that this person felt this way. After a year or so, I just hope it was a step forward. It moved things forward for me, made me think about a lot. I hope I’ve become a better person. I always think about a conversation I had with one of my friends where he was like, ‘You know what, man? That whole thing made me think about every date I’ve ever been on.’ And I thought, wow! That’s pretty incredible. If this made not just me but other people be more thoughtful, then that’s a good thing, and that’s how I feel about it.”

He further stated this was “not the most hilarious way to begin a comedy show,” but Ansari made it clear that he wanted to clarify his feelings before continuing the evening. This follows Ansari’s nuanced statement (made about a week after the claims against him surfaced) about the allegations and a declaration of his support for the #MeToo movement. The comedian also previously admitted that the entire subject is “a terrifying thing to talk about.”

Ansari moved onto other subjects and didn’t shy away from controversy. He poked some fun at white people for loving Crazy Rich Asians. “Interesting times for white people. You’re trying really hard to be nice to minorities,” he said in the below clip. “In a way I’ve never seen before. Putting in the time, putting in the effort, getting out there… watching ‘Crazy Rich Asians.‘.”

Ansari also lodged some criticism toward the infamous Apu fiasco hailing from The Simpsons. “I am aware of it. I saw it 30 years ago. It’s a white guy doing an Indian voice,” he stated. “[T]hings don’t just become racist when white people figure it out.”

Aziz Ansari Right Now is streaming now on Netflix.

(Via Hollywood Reporter)