Is it possible to have a midlife crisis at age 29? Perhaps despondent due to his BBF Jay-Z walking down the aisle and producing offspring, Parks & Recreation star Aziz Ansari has matrimony and babymaking on his mind, except the prospect of doing either any time soon seems to appeal to him about as much as being jizzed on by his youth soccer coach (his bit, not mine).
“Buried Alive” is not quite a solipsistic navel gaze on the level of 808s & Heartbreak (the turgid product of his other BFF Kanye West) – this is comedy after all – but try as he might to put down his newly hitched friends (one of whom found his partner online, the same way Aziz finds Wendy’s locations) and the pitiful preggos of Teen Mom, he’s still somewhat in awe of his parents’ arranged marriage and how well everything turned out in that regard.
In terms of comedy, Ansari is more firmly entrenched in the old ways as well. On stage he’s neither the loveable fragrance-pimping pup he plays on Parks & Rec, nor is he the grating catchphrase conveyor belt hip hop comic he portrayed in Funny People. The show itself is actually pretty staid in terms of presentation and subject matter – the only time a prop was used was when he was recounting the time he sent a random Google dick pick to a girl – but because he has such a naturally funny disposition, all Ansari really needs to do to sell a joke is slightly shift his pitch or cadence. He’s already a master at controlling both, able to effortlessly shift back and forth between prissy whine and confident baller talk. During the better bits he ratcheted up his tempo to hyperactive levels, and every so often his South Carolinian Dixie drawl would show up involuntarily.
One would think carousing with rap music’s finest would be easy to mine for comedy, but besides a joke that involved pissing off Seal (by singing “Kiss from a Rose,” obviously) and gushing about meeting Obama, Ansari didn’t trade in any of his current fame for laughs in “Buried Alive.” One gets the feeling that although he’s a celebrity, and a rapidly ascending one at that, in his current crossroads towards adulthood all of Ansari’s efforts are being directed at reminding people he’s a comedian first and foremost. ■