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Entertainment & Arts

Aziz Ansari hopes for ‘a step forward’ after misconduct scandal

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Actor-comedian Aziz Ansari finally addressed the misconduct allegation levied against him last year during a pop-up show in New York on Monday.
(Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)

Aziz Ansari thoughtfully addressed the sexual misconduct allegations lobbed against him last year during a stand-up set at a New York comedy club on Monday.

The “Master of None” star reportedly said he hoped it would be “a step forward” and that he gained insight from the scandal, has become a better person and is deeply grateful that he’s been allowed to continue performing as a stand-up comic in spite of it.

“It also just gave me perspective on my life,” Ansari said at the pop-up show, according to Vulture, which had a reporter in the audience at the gig. “There was a moment where I was scared that I’d never be able to do this again.”

The “Parks and Recreation” alum broached the subject while trying out material at Village Underground and steered to the “terrifying thing to talk about” after making jokes about people who conflate him with “Patriot Act” host Hasan Minhaj, Vulture reported.

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The Emmy Award winner, 35, reportedly turned somber as he brought up the allegations reported by a woman he dated. Accusations that he pressured her into having sex were detailed in a Babe.net article published in January 2018, when the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements took hold and brought down numerous heavyweights across an array of industries.

Though Ansari has appeared at several stand-up gigs since, the comedian has largely recoiled from the subject matter and kept a relatively low profile since he publicly apologized for the incident.

On Monday, however, he explained that he wanted time to process and determine how to address the fallout, Vulture reported.

“There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way,” Ansari said of his accuser.

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“But you know, after a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person.”

He said the alleged encounter made him rethink every date he’s been on and hoped it would give other men pause, too.

“If that has made not just me but other guys think about this, and just be more thoughtful and aware and willing to go that extra mile, and make sure someone else is comfortable in that moment, that’s a good thing,” he said.

The show appeared to be the last in a series of pop-up gigs before embarking on a North American and European tour throughout the spring.

He’ll do shows in Canada this week before returning for sets in Denver, Los Angeles and San Diego. Five L.A. shows will kick off next week at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown, and four have already sold out.

Reps for Ansari did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment on Wednesday.

Follow me: @NardineSaad


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