Braving Pittsburgh To See Aziz Ansari: Almost Worth It

Only prescription? More Kimye and snake oil
by Kate Delaney
Arts-Co Editor


I’ve heard lately that Pittsburgh is the new Portland. While that may or may not be true, Aziz Ansari clearly deemed it worthy when he performed at Heinz Hall on March 28, and thank the sweet baby Jesus for that! Pittsburgh is a little too far from Fordham to justify a day trip, but thanks to Easter break, and my sister, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, I scored tickets to Aziz’s Buried Alive tour.

The venue, Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, was a gorgeous symphony hall that seemed to be the Pittsburgh equivalent to New York’s Carnegie Hall: lots of white, lots of gold filigree, and lots of surprisingly uncomfortable red seats. I realized as I sat there that even though I had been looking forward to the show for weeks, I still somehow hadn’t made the mental connection that I was actually seeing Aziz Ansari live. At 10 after, the lights dimmed, and Aziz’s voice came on the loudspeaker. He proclaimed himself “DJ Parmesan, Aziz’s sound guy,” and introduced his opener, Moshe Kasher. I hadn’t been to a show in so long, I had somehow completely forgotten that openers were, you know, a thing.

I was a little frustrated, at first, since I’d been traveling all day, but then I stopped. What was I doing? I was incredibly lucky to even be there! It was a beautiful venue! I was being such a *~teen girl with opinions~*! And Kasher was hilarious. He spent most of his set recounting stories of his Jewish upbringing, two deaf parents, and growing up on opposite coasts of the country. I’d never heard of the guy, but I’d totally recommend him. His latest show, Moshe Kasher: Live in Oakland, is on Netflix. Go watch it!

The wait between Kasher and Aziz was excruciatingly long, and by “excruciatingly long” I clearly mean twenty minutes. But finally, after much sitting, people watching, and, out of sheer boredom, speculating how long it took the girl in front of me to curl her hair (probably like an hour, but that’s neither here nor there) the shining moment I’d been waiting for arrived. Aziz waltzed onstage, serenaded by catcalls and cheers.

And just to preface for a quick second – I won’t try and pretend that I can compare Aziz to his character Tom Haverford on NBC’s Parks and Recreation or even talk about the show with any sense of authority.

Embarrassingly, I still haven’t watched it, and most of my knowledge of the show comes from my sister sending me Youtube clips of “Treat Yo Self,” everyone’s favorite holiday. But from what I’ve seen, Tom Haverford seems to be pretty close to the real Aziz, with the over-the-top theatrics and ego the size of Montana.

I was dearly, dearly hoping, as (I’m sure) were most of my fellow Aziz fans, for a mention of my man Kanye or my boys Darwish and Harris. Is Kanye still listening to his own songs, by his own self, in his own house? How many times has Harris hashtagged a tweet with #smh? Sadly, my hopes were crushed in this aspect, but I think I can safely say that Aziz’s rendition of Seal’s timless ballad “Kiss From a Rose” more than made up for it. And besides, I’ve since rationalized to myself, the show was mostly about Aziz turning 30 and seeing his friends succumb to the horrors of children and family life. He avoided a dated Kimye reference, because where does Kanye fit in there? Sadly, nowhere. I’m still crying just a little bit.

It was a little weird at first, hearing Aziz bemoan the inevitability of aging. I’m only nineteen years old, after all, and 30 is a far-off milestone for me. But again I stopped and re-evaluated myself. Hadn’t I watched enough gentle-hearted, moderately-paced rom coms about coming to terms with relationship struggles and married life? That was the entire plot of The Jane Austen Book Club. Actually, hold up. That’s the entire plot of every Jane Austen novel ever. How different could Aziz really be?

Actually, very. Very different, to be honest. But did I hate it? Not even a little bit. Jane Austen probably wouldn’t include an extensive bit about dick pics, or make fun of the audience members, or recount tales from “The Club.” Even though Aziz’s set centered around his age, he effortlessly included stories from all parts of his life, and observations of the hilarious and hilariously mundane. The content of the show won’t be offically “public” for a while, but you can look forward to lots of slightly off-key singing (albeit adorably so), a surprising amount of time spent on the intricacies of marriage proposals, and a bunch of spot-on impressions.

To be honest, it’s been a good two weeks, and I’m still finding myself talking like Aziz: shouting when I probably shouldn’t, laughing like a mad hyena, and generally being just a little too overenthusiastic for my own liking. Also, listing things in threes. Aziz is a big fan of threes. Don’t ask me why. Don’t ask him why either. I’m totally just hypothesizing. What if I’m wrong? What if Aziz finds out and thinks I’m not cool? What if he tweets about it?!?!?! All my painstakingly careful planning for the ultimate best friendship of Aziz, Kanye, and Kate will never be realized. #heartbroken

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