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Best Comedy DVDs of 2010: #10, #9

Today starts the countdown of the ten best comedy DVDs of 2010…

#10) Aziz Ansari: Intimate Moments For A Sensual Evening

Aziz Ansari’s high-energy performance largely centers around him being famous, and you…well, not so much. But we like his self-centered Tom Haverford character on Parks and Recreation because under all that obnoxious pretense, he truly does have a big heart. In the same way, Ansari’s stage persona just comes off like the friend of yours who lucked into something good, but is still cool enough to hang with you anyway.

The best comedy comes from reality, and while Aziz might embellish a few bits about Kanye West or R. Kelly, they’re that much funnier because they’re totally believable coming from a guy whose career has just blown up. Ditto the best parts of his set when he’s riffing about his nephew Darwish and cousin Harris; while the anecdotes are pretty hilarious, this is probably a normal day in the real life of a young comic who is famous. Ansari sounds pretty grounded, unlike Raaaaaaaandy (his shock comic character from Funny People) who hopefully will not become the more famous of the two. (Comedy Central Records)

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#9) Orny Adams: Takes The Third

Like the bastard love child of Jerry Seinfeld (physical appearance and joke structure) and Denis Leary (intolerant raging at incompetence), Orny Adams is just plain fed up. Technology, fat kids, bad drivers, marriage, customer service…it’s all a conspiracy to drive us crazy. Like Path Of Most Resistance, his prior DVD, his topics are ordinary but his take on them is very funny. He’s outraged, but self-deprecating, like a slightly saner Lewis Black; and despite the title, it is social outrage, not political.

Impressively, the entire program is cut from one performance. Besides the hour-long set, the DVD includes a few minutes of additional onstage and backstage footage, largely a mutual love letter to and from his fans. Adams might not be a huge name but he’s got a solid routine and charm to burn. And if this flames out and, as he fears, he’s selling cars this time next year, at least those who saw him as his own worst enemy in the film Comedian will know that he finally figured it out. (Image Entertainment)

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The countdown continues tomorrow with #8 and #7

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Stand Up Wit…Aziz Ansari

He's the shorter one.

Aziz Ansari is on a roll. This week sees the release of his first stand-up CD  entitled Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening; the special of the same name premieres tonight at 10:00pm EST on Comedy Central.  

Ansari has been getting a lot of buzz recently thanks to a breakout year. His performance as club comic Raaaaaaaandy in the Adam Sandler / Judd Apatow film Funny People stole the show, and his name has peppered countless “comics to watch” lists. His success is no surprise to those familiar with his stand-up or his prior show Human Giant; audiences are attracted to his ability to be sharp-tongued and sympathetic at the same time.

And while his character on Parks and Recreation is on the surface a self-serving, skirt-chasing weasel, this season the writers have given him an opportunity to show that there is a heart underneath the bravado of Tom Haverford…and he nailed it. 

So I’m thrilled that Aziz is getting a highly promoted special and CD/DVD release, because Intimate Moments is really strong. His presentation is energetic and it’s clear the audience is having as much fun as he is and are fully on board even though most of the routines are the antithesis of one-liners or observational comedy. His stories center around personal experiences that sprout from his celebrity status but completely avoid ethnic pandering and self-worship. It’s Aziz lifting the curtain and saying to us “can you believe this shit?” as he riffs on Kanye West and R. Kelly, pranking his cousin Harris, redneck cruises, skanky reality shows,  and why Craigslist is even sicker than you thought. The upcoming DVD will have some bonus footage of Aziz as Raaaaaaaandy as well as a thirty minute show filmed at the UCB (Upright Citizen’s Brigade) Theatre from last November. 

Looks like the new year and new decade of comedy is off to a flying start; I have no qualms about tagging this one a Best of 2010 contender only two weeks into the year. 

Aziz Ansari website

Funny or Die Raaaaaaaandy mockumentary parts one, two and three

Where are those punk ass book jockeys?

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Filed under Comedy, Features and Interviews, Film/TV, Reviews