INT: Aziz Ansari
I just got a chance to chat with the very funny Aziz Ansari about his new film FUNNY PEOPLE. Ansari stars as Randy, a crazy comedian who uses a DJ, and drives his fellow performers crazy. The character has his own website, and they did a mock documentary about him. (I'm sorry, but I refuse to use the word 'mockumentary'. It just annoys me.) You know Ansari from his MTV show HUMAN GIANT, and as Tom Haverford in PARKS AND RECREATION. He gives us his take on why Randy is so popular, doing stand up as another character, the possibility of HUMAN GIANT season 3and...gulp...what he thought of TRANSFORMERS. Seriously, I wish I could put that line in my review.
Before we talk about the film, I have to ask you about something...I read that you turned down an unspecified role in the first TRANSFORMERS...
Well, not technically. Well, I auditioned for the part that Anthony Anderson did. And then they said...you have to do an Indian accent, and I was like, no. I don't want to do that. And then I watched the movie, and it's literally just one line where the guy is like, 'Thank you for calling tech support' and he probably made a million dollars. [laughs] I totally would have done that. I would just donate some of the money to a charity in India, and that would have made me feel OK about doing the accent.
Well, now that the new TRANSFORMERS has gotten such bad reviews...
Oh my god! Yeah, I saw that movie. That was bad news. It was like a movie taking a robot-filled shit on your face for two hours.
[laughs] So everyone has gone crazy for Randy. There has been a ton of buzz about your character. What do you think it is about Randy?
I don't know, I think when we were filming it, Judd (Apatow) and Seth (Rogen) really got into it and then that's what kind of lead the train to making that documentary and the website and the promotion behind it, but...he was a small character in the movie, but I think people...he's so high energy and crazy. I think it's kind of a fun thing, a fun character to watch, you know?
He's got a DJ. How can you resist?
Do other comedians really hate guys who are like that?
I don't think there are any comedians that are like Randy, that are that crazy. But there are definitely comedians who will kill, and the other comedians are like, ugh, that guy did the lowest common denominator of stuff. There's definitely guys like that. I've seen plenty of them, doing clubs and stuff. You see a guy just destroy, but he's doing kind of, you know, shitty stuff like, 'I was eating pussy...' and you're just kind of like, ugh. Alright. And so that was kind of one of the things that sparked and inspired Randy.
I loved the whole “Craigslist” joke about giving a half an hour blow job for concert tickets and find that they're selling them at the door. It cracked me up!
Oh! Well, that's an Aziz joke. We did this show at the Orpheum and I did, like, ten minutes, and then the crowd got into it. And Judd was like, 'you should go back out. Go back out and do some more.' So I kind of got pushed into doing an encore, and I only had a certain amount of Randy stuff. So I had to start doing Aziz stuff, and Randy it up. [laughs] People are like,' oh yeah that CVS joke, that's so shitty. It's hilarious that it's so shitty.' And I'm like, I like that joke! That's an Aziz joke! I had to do it because I was forced to extend...
Well, I thought that one was hysterical.
Thanks! That was an Aziz one that got Randied up.
So how much stand up did you guys actually do for the film?
We filmed a lot of stand up. We did like, as far as what we filmed specifically for the movie, we filmed maybe like six or sevens shows and then the Orpheum, and then as far as getting ready, I did a bunch of shows trying to figure out Randy, just to work on the character and stuff like that. And we all did. They filmed a bunch of stuff for the DVD, but as far as just for the film itself, we did six or seven shows.
Are you going to keep doing Randy stuff during your stand up?
Yeah, you know, I did a tour and I worked on Randy while I was doing my tour a little bit. And I would do a chunk of Randy in the middle. I just filmed an hour special for Comedy Central and I did a Randy chunk where I come out dressed in sequins and the DJ is there, and I'm making it rain on the crowd and stuff. Yeah, it's really fun. Yeah, maybe I'll try and write some new Randy stuff and do it up. I'm tired of the jokes I wrote for Randy so I'll have to sit down and come up with some new Randy stuff.
For a spin-off with Randy?
I don't know. I mean, we'll see what happens. [laughs]
You know they'll probably do one.
Ha...I just did GET HIM TO THE GREEK and that was super fun. [note: GET HIM TO THE GREEK is a spin-off starring Russell Brand's character from FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, another Judd Apatow film.] Yeah, it was cool to do that movie with that character, you know?
Tell me about your role in that.
I play a guy that works with Jonah (Hill) at the record label and we both for Sean Combs, for Diddy and yeah, it was super fun. It was me, Jonah, and a couple of other comedians that we're all friends with...yeah, it was really fun.
So is your show, HUMAN GIANT going to have a season 3?
They asked us to do a season 3, but I think all our plates got filled up with bigger commitments and we wanted to take a break for a little while, but MTV was so great to work with. We had so much freedom to really make the show that we wanted to make, and they left the door open, so yeah, maybe in the future, but right now I think we're all working on other stuff.
And I've been hearing rumors here and there about a HUMAN GIANT movie...
Yeah, we definitely talked about some ideas and stuff, but all our schedules are so hectic, so it's a matter of us all coming together and figuring out if there's something we want to do together for a movie.
You obviously had a ton of celebrities on HUMAN GIANT. Is there someone you haven't worked with yet that you've wanted to?
Um, I've never done anything with Steve Carrell, so maybe something with him, and you know, Tina Fey, I've never done anything with. Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, all those people would be awesome. Vin Diesel. I've never done anything with him. Jason Statham...
A king of comedy...
[laughs] Michelle Rodriguez...yeah. That's a lot. Kiefer Sutherland, Kyra Sedgwick from THE CLOSER.
FUNNY PEOPLE will be released July 31st, 2009.