Aziz Ansari Addresses Misconduct Allegation in 'Pop Up' Comedy Show
Last week, Aziz Ansari returned to the comedy stage in a special "pop up" show in New York City.
After 18,000+ people signed up for tickets, about 200 people were invited to the Village Underground, the famed Comedy Cellar’s second venue, to see the Master of None actor/producer/writer take the stage.
During the show, according to Vulture, the comedian worked out some new material, tried out some new jokes, and felt out the crowd before speaking about the subject on everyone's mind — the sexual misconduct accusations made against him.
Last year, a story on Babe.net was published which told a woman's story about a date she had with Ansari that allegedly went terribly wrong. She claims Ansari acted inappropriately on their date and that there was non-consensual sexual activity.
The comedian issued a statement when the news broke:
"In September of last year, I met a woman at a party. We exchanged numbers. We texted back and forth and eventually went on a date. We went out to dinner, and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual.
The next day, I got a text from her saying that although ‘it may have seemed okay,’ upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.
I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”
Now, Ansari is addressing the accusations directly in his comedy set, but admitted, "it’s a terrifying thing to talk about." He said he felt "upset and humiliated and embarrassed," but, ultimately, "just felt terrible this person [Grace] felt this way."
Vulture reports Ansari became emotional but continued, saying, "You know, after a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person.”
He hopes that the controversial story makes other guys think about how they behave and to "be more thoughtful and aware and willing to go that extra mile, and make sure someone else is comfortable in that moment, that’s a good thing.”
Ansari ended his show admitting he thought he would never be able to do stand up again and thanked the audience for showing up.
The former Parks and Rec star is scheduled to go on tour this spring in the US and Europe, but it's unclear what the future of his TV career will be and whether his Netflix series — which has won Emmys and Golden Globes — will continue.