One of my favorite comedians of all time is Aziz Ansari. He is of Indian back ground and anyone who watches him can respect the type of work he does. Sometimes he is very crass with his humor but he usually satirizes racial issues to try to bring awareness to them. In his new standup comedy series, featured on Comedy Central, he makes several jokes about race, but never to instigate stereo types but to try to resist them or negotiate them.  During his new performance whenever he is about to talk about something racist he started with telling the audience that he knew it was racist and that these jokes can bother people who are listening. I thought it took away from the negative nature of the racial jokes he then said. The audience gets a feeling that its funny but in the same way it helped recontextualize some of the racial terms that he was saying. One of his jokes centered around the use of the words “Ching-chong Bing-bong” and he then later was talking about how it’s strange how everyone knows what those racial slurs mean.  The second he said that joke everyone knew he was talking about a Chinese racial slur and he was trying to get the crowd to realize it’s wrong that everyone knows that.

                  He really shows a lot of resistant views on the Asian Pacific culture stereo types with some of the jokes he likes to tell. One that really stood out to me was he was looking up racial slurs that were used in America. He found some that made no sense like, Killer of Christ. He asked the audience if anyone knew who it was for and finally someone said Jews. Aziz then informed us it was for Asian people and he confused at how that was even possible, and when he looked it up why; it’s for people who hate Asians so much they even blame them for killing Jesus Christ. He then laughed it off and was talking about how weird it actually sounded to say that to someone. It really showed a great understand and a huge resistant reading on his part. I saw that as a way of looking at how some people can have such a huge hate for a group and blame almost anything even if it was blown out of proportion like Aziz did. He also talks about his friend in LA who called a locksmith. The locksmith did not do any business with his friend because his last name was Chun and he hated Korean Americans, which is a great show of yellow peril of how this guy was so afraid of Korea that he wouldn’t do any business with Americans who happened to be Korean. His next telling of the joke was very interesting to me, he was playing around with the idea of how many Korean Americans would it take to call him to get their lock taken care of before he couldn’t afford to be racist anymore. He came to the conclusion that if they did that another stereo type would emerge from the ashes of the previous one. The guy wouldn’t think that Korean Americans were trying to kill America anymore, but would think they couldn’t find their keys. Then he would make fun of them for that all the time.

        Aziz is a very good comedian, but he has also shown up in several famous TV shows that shows how much of a great actor/comedian that he is. He has a role in Park & Recreation, shows up on Scrubs, and is also part of the new animated film EPIC. He has shown a lot of hope to Asian Pacific minorities of this age and will always be playing the resistant role to try to break free of all the stereo types that can possibly constrain him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ8XJeLQQYs link for his preview on his stand up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xu3JLXfuwQ link for his EPIC animated film.

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One thought on “

  1. I still need to watch this–I agree that Ansari shows a smart sensibility at getting at the often unspoken (enlightened, passive, implicit) racism in society. It is the kind of humor that gets people to shift their thinking rather than reinforcing the stereotype. How does he do with respect to sexist stereotypes, do you think?

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