Aziz Ansari kicked off his “Road to Nowhere” tour with a pop-up show at the Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia on Tuesday night — his first major outing since the allegations that surfaced against the Parks and Recreation star in early 2018. In a piece for Babe.net, an anonymous young woman opened up about a date with Ansari that sparked intense debates over the nature of consent. Some saw the encounter as sexual misconduct in the midst of the #MeToo movement, while others chalked it up to a bad date between two consenting adults.
Other than a few small shows here and there, Ansari has spent the year mostly out of the spotlight, addressing the woman’s claims in a heartfelt statement just after the story went viral but otherwise keeping quiet about the controversy. That apparently changed during Tuesday’s set, in which an “introspective” Ansari briefly touched on the issue, according to Page Six:
“No jokes but did briefly comment on it at the end of the set when thanking us for coming,” the insider said. “It was a great show with some new material.”
A separate source added, “He addressed it briefly and somewhat in joke format, nothing specific, referencing it like ‘that story.’ Aziz was really, really good and some of the jokes seemed more introspective like he’s thought a lot about what all came out.”
Suffice to say, Ansari seems to be dealing with the damage control better than say, disgraced comedian Louis C.K., who has handled his own (much more disturbing) sexual misconduct allegations by alternately feeling sorry for himself and inexplicably lashing out at teen survivors of gun violence.
Ansari has another yet-to-be announced gig in New York City next week, in which he plans to work out some new material before his scheduled tour dates.