today we catch up with friend of the Lab, Aziz Ansari, for this revealing interview about life, hustlin, death, and R. Kelly.
what could of been… lucky for Aziz
I think I remember you telling me that you worked at a DJ equipment store in Fulton Mall, BK back in the day…
No, but I do think we should let the readers know the long, over a decade long Aziz-Lab history. In late ’99, I was on a quest to find a hobby that would make sure girls didn’t talk to me, so I got real into turntablism and started buying mad stuff from the Lab, which conveniently had just started up. I even tried to intern with you guys when I moved to NY to go to NYU, but y’all were fully staffed.
My favorite break records from those days: Toasted Marshmellow Breaks, Gag Ball Breaks, Super Seal Breaks, Super Duck Breaks. I guess those were kind of everyone’s favorites, but whatever.
Favorite turntablism records:
Cut Chemist and Shortkut – Live at Future Primitive Volume 1
Z-Trip and Radar – Live at Future Primitive 2
Return of the DJ 1 and 2
DJ Q-Bert – Wave Twisters
DJ Q-Bert – Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Muzak
Mix Master Mike – Anti-Theft Device.
I even still have that first edition Lab t-shirt somewhere! I wore that shit in South Carolina like it was the coolest shit ever, which let’s be honest, it was.
I met DJ Craze in Miami a few months back and he bugged the fuck out when I mentioned super skratch nerd shit like the Allies crew, double click flares, etc.
What was it like growing up in the South. Did that influence your comedy? Bet there were some haters?
Sure, occasionally there were racist things that happened to me, but 85% of the time I may as well have been a really tanned white kid. It wasn’t too bad. I didn’t really start comedy until I was in NY going to college, so I can’t say its a huge influence.
When I first heard of your comedy, it was that boombox video. From there, things just started to blow up. At what point did you realize, damn this might get big?
I don’t know if there was any particular moment. Its kind of a long haul thing, you know? You just kind of keep trucking away and hope you build on what you’ve done and work on bigger and better projects.
Any career tips for HUSTLERS?
Never stop hustlin’. When you feel like quitting the hustle, start hustling harder. When you’ve hustled harder and you’re like, “Ok, I can take a break from hustling.” Then.. YOU HUSTLE EVEN HARDER.
Indulge the blog readers for a sec: along the similar lines: You’ve made it. Any specific times/occurances where you thought: damn, I’m famous.
When Diddy and I were riding jetski’s side by side in tuxedo’s and jumped into a hot tub full of Ciroc, champagne, and Asian women.
There was also that time I beat 50 Cent at an arm wrestling competition at Fabolous’ house.
Also, I feel famous every time I walk into a Planet Hollywood and am seated IMMEDIATELY, line or no line. When you can get seated quickly at Planet Hollywood, then you are famous son.
You love Kells. I love Kells. Tell the rest of world, why he’s one of the greatest of all time.
The man is unstoppable. You go to one of his shows and its an experience. I detail this in my act so I’d feel like a fraud repeating it, but this video should give you a taste:
Who do you draw influence from for your character on Parks & Rec?
For some reason, Jamie Foxx is a go to. He’s Tom’s hero in my head – Oscar winning actor, R&B superstar, probably a club owner, and all around smooth cat. Another thing I keep in mind is Tom’s interest in fashion and being a baller. We did an episode where Tom has to dress up for a club opening and I thought, what would Tom do? I knew it. He’d go on WireImage and see what Diddy wore to like a party for a cellphone or whatever.
Who’s the funniest person to work with on the show?
I could never pick a funniest person on our show, because they all make me laugh. The whole team is tight, it’s like the late 90′s Bulls.
Mike Schur and Greg Daniels – Phil Jackson. Our executive producers that are in charge of the show and lead us.
Amy and Rashida – MJ and Pippen.
Ron Swanson – Rodman. The wild man. You don’t know what Swanson has up his sleeve (probably some cured pork products and maybe some deviled eggs.)
Andy Dwyer – Toni Kucoc. The sixth man who would run shit on any other team and we are insanely lucky to have as a sixth man.
April – Steve Kerr. When they put April in, its like Kerr sinking 3′s – money every time.
Jerry and Donna – Wennington and Buechler . Ready to come in from the bench and kill it any time.
Me – Luc Longley. Fuck, I didn’t think this analogy through. I don’t wanna be Luc Longley. Shit, no offense to Luc if he’s reading.
In your TV talk show appearances, you always seem to grab the moment by the ballz. Is that conscious thing, like I’m going show these people in Iowa what is really funny?
When I do talk shows, I go in with the attitude of I just want to murder this shit. If you’re a comic doing the couch on a late night show, you usually tell some stories from your act and since my act has a lot of story telling element to it; its a big advantage. I hope I can one day become one of those guests like Norm MacDonald that people get excited to see as a guest cause they know they’re gonna bring it.
Top 5 Records You Love To Hear in the Club (all-time)
Fuck this is tough! Off the top of my head, with no disrespect to any classics I left off…
Flashing Lights/Can’t Tell Me Nothing (TIE!) – Kanye West
Don’t You Want Me Baby – Human League
Age of Consent – New Order
Bigmouth Strikes Again – The Smiths
Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
Rock Your Body – Justin Timberlake
Top 5 Listening Albums
Here’s my current go to album listens:
James Murphy and Pat Mahoney – FabricLive.36
Radiohead – In Rainbows
Raekwon – Built for Cuban Linx 2
Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights
Deerhunter – Microcastle
Optimo – How to Kill the DJ Pt. 2
5 Favorite Places to Eat
BI-COASTAL ANSWERS COMING YOUR WAY!!!!
Shake Shack (NY)
Momofuku Ssam (NY)
Kogi BBQ Tacos (LA)
Osteria Mozza (LA)
Things you like to do when you’re not working.
Eat food. Music.
Word on the street is that you like asian girls, true?
Look Pete, when you’re famous, you only date waitresses from Planet Hollywood. Sometimes they are Asian, sometimes they not. Either way, its all good.