Aziz Ansari: Funny Style (2011 Cover Story & Gallery)

Aziz Ansari: Funny Style (2011 Cover Story & Gallery)Interview by Brendan Frederick; Photography by Kareem Black; Styling by Matthew Henson; Additional Credits.

In your new movie, 30 Minutes or Less, you help Jesse Eisenberg rob a bank. Is this the best bank robbery comedy since Bill Murray’s Quick Change?
You know, I’ve never seen Quick Change, but I’ve heard it was great. I have to see that. But there’s been a lot of great bank robbery movies—I like Heat and I like this Stanley Kubrick movie called The Killing. It has one of the coolest endings of any movie.

You spent three months in Grand Rapids with Jesse Eisenberg while shooting. Is he as much of a neurotic weirdo as people make him out to be?
He can be, but he has a shell that you can break through. He’s always a super-nice guy. Tremendously talented, just a little shy and a little nervous.

 
Most things out there aren’t that funny—I say no to a lot of stuff. No one knows how to write for your voice better than you.
 

You’re also voicing a character in the next Ice Age movie?
Yeah, that’s so fun. I think he’s a prehistoric rabbit, and he’s a pirate, one of the bad guys. I’d never done a voice for animation before. I did one session where I did voice and then I went a second time and they showed me some animation and it was so cool. I think it’s cool to be able to do a kids’ movie, ’cause it’s nice to do things that aren’t 100% filthy that only people over 18 can enjoy. It’s fun to do stuff that anyone can watch. That’s why I like doing Parks, because it’s a show that my parents can watch, and I don’t have to worry about them being offended by graphic language or anything. The same with the Ice Age movie. They’ve got a lot of cool people in it.

Drake is also in this one, right?
Yeah, that’s pretty funny. I wish Drake was one of the pirates and he was just crooning, and they just gave him that Drake voice...I don’t know what the filter is he always puts on his voice, but it’s in like every Drake song, at some point the beat just drops out—

—You mean the “underwater” voice?
Yeah! The underwater voice! They should have just made him a fish, and had him sing his lines [imitates Drake] “What am I supposed to do, all of my friends are gone.”

[Laughs.] Are you still writing a script for Judd Apatow?
Yeah, me and my friend Jason Woliner—who’s a director that I worked with on Human Giant and have collaborated with since I started—we’re writing a script called Space Men for Judd. It’s about me and another guy—it hasn’t been cast yet—playing disgraced astronauts who have to go back to the moon to clear their names. It’s really funny, and we’ve just been developing it with Judd. He’s such a genius. We had a meeting with him the other day. You try to absorb as much knowledge as you can when you’re with him. It’s so hard to make one good movie or TV show, and he’s made dozens of amazing things. Clearly he knows what he’s doing.

How important is it for you to write and develop your own projects?
Super-important, because most things out there aren’t that funny. I have a pretty particular taste, I say no to a lot of stuff. I’m really picky about what I do and I wanna do stuff that I’m excited about. And if you don’t develop stuff yourself, it’s not always gonna be great. No one knows how to write for your voice better than you.

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ADDITIONAL CREDITS:
(PROP STYLING) Brian Bryne. (GROOMING) Amy Komorowski. OPENING SPREAD: Shirt by G-Star / Pants by Dockers / Sneakers by Converse John Varvatos. THIS SPREAD: Jacket by Theory / Shirt, Tie, and Pants by Band of Outsiders / Shoes by Cole Haan / Watch by IWC.

Tags: aziz-ansari, complex-cover-stories
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