Now that Donald Glover has appeared on Girls, helping Lena Dunham answer criticism about the lack of people of color on the show, surely that opens the door for Glover’s NBC colleagues of color to get in on the action, too, right? At least that’s what went through my mind when I accosted Parks and Recreation’s Aziz Ansari early Saturday morning at a very fun mid-blizzard Fashion Week party at the Jane Hotel for Suno and Refinery29. Little did I know I’d find out that Ansari is even more qualified to be on Girls than initially anticipated.
He already has an idea for his character on the show.
Back in his twenties, Ansari thought he might become an entrepreneur and went to NYU’s Stern School of Business, which he admits “makes no sense. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I had an uncle who started his own business and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of cool. There’s a lot of freedom there.’ I had no clue about the whole finance culture at NYU, but there was one guy, he was an Indian guy at Stern, and he was like, ‘I’m the best-looking Indian guy at NYU.’ And he really put that out there, that he thought he was the best-looking Indian guy. I just thought that was so funny. What a weird thing to try to really put out there. So maybe my Girls character would be this douche bag who thought he was, like, the best-looking Indian guy in New York.”
He’s Jessa-like in that he found a way to get models at Fashion Week to feed him.
While most Fashion Week attendees are too stressed out to eat, or frankly don’t see it as a necessary function of sustaining life, Ansari managed to figure out not just a way to eat, but a way to get male models to bring him the food. His friends at the fashion label Band of Outsiders asked him if he’d participate in the scavenger hunt they did in place of a typical men’s show (the models were wearing the clothes as they ran around the city Instagramming their adventures). Ansari had just flown into L.A., so he said he’d be a clue, “‘If the clue ends with me getting a sandwich from Parm or a cheeseburger from Shake Shack.’ It was not a bad deal. They brought me a Shake Shack burger and a chicken parm. Pretty good way to arrive in New York.”
Like Hannah, he makes jokes people sometimes don’t get and then has to run around doing damage control.
“I gotta clear something up,” he said. “I went to the Golden Globes and I was wearing a tuxedo graciously provided by the people at Christian Dior. You know, you do all these boring red-carpet interviews about what are you wearing, what are you doing, so I always say some nonsense, like, ‘Oh, I’m wearing Oshkosh B’gosh or Baby Gap’ or whatever. So this one thing, I said I was wearing Dior, and then I was like, ‘Kevin Dior.’ As a joke! And most people, 90 percent of people, thought it was a joke and knew it was a joke, but somebody said something that they thought I didn’t know it was Christian Dior. It’s like, I played Tom Haverford for years! I told them how I wanted the suit tailored! Obviously I fucking know it’s Christian Dior! I want to set the record straight on the Kevin Dior controversy.”
Just as Elijah left Hannah’s apartment with nothing, so, too, will Ansari walk away from the Parks and Recreation set empty-handed (whenever NBC inevitably cancels it, because they don’t know what they’re doing).
He never takes home articles from Tom Haverford’s extensive Rent-a-Swag collection, he said, because “I make a deliberate effort to make sure Tom’s clothes are different from Aziz’s clothes. So there are certain colors that I try to tell the wardrobe people to throw in to make it be more Tom-ish, like Tom’s more into purple than I am. I don’t like purple stuff, but I try to make Tom wear a lot of purple ties and stuff. And I also deliberately make Tom’s clothes not fit as well as mine. Like, when I get my suits and stuff, I tailor them to fit me really well, but when I get Tom’s, I make them do it a little bit off because I don’t want to be like, ‘Oh, you look just like Tom.’”
Also, like Ray, he’s homeless.
The reason he says he won’t take home any Parks and Rec props is because, he said, “I’ve been trying to be a minimalist. I tend to hoard a lot of crap and not do anything with it. I don’t even have an apartment right now. I just sublet places in New York and L.A., and I have a few things in storage. I’m homeless, so I try not to grab stuff or it ends up staying in a corner somewhere and I have to look at it.”