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Featured DVD Review: Aziz Ansari: Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening

January 16th, 2010

Aziz Ansari: Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening - Buy from Amazon

This is the third release with Aziz Ansari that I have reviewed. The first was Season One of Human Giant, which didn't exactly wow me. The second was Season Eight of Scrubs, but I thought his character was one of the reasons the season started out so poorly. So going into the review of his first stand-up concert DVD, Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening, I was a little apprehensive. Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised.

One of my complaints about Human Giant was the poor comedic timing. Specifically, once they had gotten to the punchline, the joke tended to continue for several beats longer. You can sometimes get away with a second "aftershock" punchline to a joke, but this has its limits. For instance, setting up a joke by talking about buying the same strange combination of items day after day after day for months on end to mess with salesclerks at a store is a good joke. Talking about what the salesclerks might be saying about you is a good "aftershock" punchline. Continuing to talk about the salesclerks for a minute more ruins the joke. At least it does for me. And this doesn't just happen one or two times in a 56-minute set, it happens over and over again. There are some good callbacks to previous jokes and some of the repetition is used well, but overall there is an issue with timing. Perhaps this is because it's his first Comedy Central special, because for the middle third of his set, he hits a bit of a groove and more jokes land on their mark. Maybe early on he was just too excited or nervous. On the other hand, the last third of his act dealt with him hanging out with celebrities, which felt a little self-indulgent. Also, I think too often Ansari relies on profanity and false bravado for many of his jokes. Speaking of which, he ends his set by doing ten minutes as "Randy" or "RAAAAAAAANDY", as the sign says. This is his character from Funny People, who is supposed to be a bad stand-up comic; however, his delivery is not that much different than his regular jokes, only more excessive.

The only extra on the DVD is a 30-minute UCB Comedy Death Ray Performance that, as he explains at the beginning, is filled with material he didn't use for the comedy special for one reason or another (mostly because its older) but he wanted some special features on the DVD. The sound and video are obviously not as polished, but the material is on par. One bonus set doesn't sound like a lot, but 30 minutes of extra comedy is huge compared to most similar releases. Hell, a lot of similar releases do not have any extras.

The Verdict

Given the track record I had with previous Aziz Ansari releases, I was not expecting a lot from this DVD. I was expecting more cringe-worthy material than solid laughs. However, while the hit to miss ratio is not among the best I've reviewed, Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening is still a solid stand-up concert DVD. If you are a fan of his, then the nearly 90 minutes of material here is worth the price. If you have not seen him before, check out his show, which airs on Sunday, January 17, or rent the DVD, which comes out on Tuesday.

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