Comedian addresses sexual allegations in stand-up

Comedian addresses sexual allegations in stand-up

Actor-comedian Aziz Ansari (PTI Photo)

Actor-comedian Aziz Ansari has addressed the sexual misconduct allegations against him in his new stand-up special "Aziz Ansari Right Now", saying that his old self has made way for a "better person".

The stand-up special, directed by Spike Jonze of "Her" fame, dropped on Netflix on Tuesday.

It starts with Ansari recalling how people often get confused between him and Hasan Minhaj and when they ask him about the sexual misconduct accusation, he deflects by responding, "No, no, no, no, no. That was Hasan."

The comedian then turned serious as he said that he has been introspecting a lot in the past year.

"It's a tricky thing for me to answer because I've felt so many things in the last year. 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. And after a year or so, I just hope it was a step forward.

"It moved things forward for me, made me think about it a lot, I hope I've become a better person," he said.

Ansari took a break after a controversial article in 2018 accused the comedian of sexual misconduct. In a first-person account, a woman claimed she felt pressured to have sex with the comedian during a date.

He responded with an apology and claimed the encounter was "completely consensual".

The comedian recalled a conversation he had with a friend of his who told him how his story had made him rethink all of his own past dates.

"I thought, 'Wow. Well, that's pretty incredible. It's made not just me but other people be more thoughtful, and that's a good thing'. And that's how I feel about it," Ansari said.

He admitted that opening about the allegation was not the "most hilarious way to begin a comedy show" but said that it was important for him to let people know "how I feel about that whole thing before we share this night together".

Towards the end of his act, the comedian once again touched upon the matter.

"I saw the world where I don't ever get to do this again, and it almost felt like I died. In a way, I did. That old Aziz who said, ‘oh treat your self' or whatever, he's dead. And I'm glad. ‘Cause that guy was always looking forward to whatever was next.

"I don't think that way anymore. ‘Cause I've realized it's all ephemeral. All that stuff, it can just go away like this. And all we really have is the moment we're in and the people we're with," he said.