Aziz Ansari: Nightclub Comedian review – standup looks back in cynical Netflix special

一种ziz Ansari’s career has been dramatically carved in two since the sexual misconduct allegations made against him four years ago, which he denied. 前: a slick and optimistic comic with the world at his feet. 后: an ever more downbeat and cynical act appraising how “shitty” we all are – especially as regards our hunger for celebrity gossip. Ansari’s new special Nightclub Comedian is the third of his shows that I’ve seen since the accusations, and the third that encodes in one routine after another (and even in a joke we hear performed by the preceding act) his unresolved feelings about the episode.

Perhaps that’s understandable. There’s an argument that Ansari’s trial-by-public-opinion even enriched his comedy with colours that just weren’t there before. Nightclub Comedian’s 29 minutes have more considered social commentary than many acts manage in twice the duration. In a section on misinformation, which both mocks and deplores the mocking of vaccine sceptics, there’s a wicked routine envisaging the rapper Ice Cube having a colonoscopy. A strong closer – responding to anti-vaxxers’ fears of coming under microchip control – notes how robotically enslaved we already are to our smartphones.

But it’s a world-weary show – the more so for the contrast drawn with Ansari’s younger self, footage of whom is intercut arriving at the same venue 20 几年前. The New York crowd is berated for squandering the idealistic energy that voted out Trump – which feels harsh, not least because Ansari now lives in London.

This sit-down rather than standup special purports to show our host humbly reconnecting with no-frills club comedy, in contrast (他建议) to the corporate empire-building of the likes of Kevin Hart. But this is humility as performed for Netflix, so claims to a newfound modesty ring hollow. Then there are the gags – notably, the one imagining Timothée Chalamet exposed to public disgrace for an incident with an Asian man and some bubble tea – that seem to address all over again Ansari’s own travails. It’s another glimpse, 然后, of a comic with technique and intelligence to spare – but not the slightest vestige of the gilded good cheer of old.