Aziz Ansari has returned to stand-up comedy with a routine that is reportedly largely about dating – but avoids mention of his own connection to the #MeToo movement.
In January, the comedian and actor was accused of sexual assault by an anonymous 23-year-old photographer who he had been on a date with.
The woman, referred to as “Grace”, claimed he had continued to initiate sexual activity despite her using verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate how uncomfortable she was. In a statement, Ansari said they had engaged “in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual”, but, after receiving a text from her the next day stating otherwise, he had taken “her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.”
After initially returning to the stage in New York in May, Ansari made appearances in Madison, Wisconsin, and Milwaukee this weekend (August 26-27). According to Vulture, the star’s set focused on jokes about dating but included no reference to the claims made against him.
Reporter Ryan Glasspeigel wrote: “If you didn’t know about the controversy, you wouldn’t have realised that this was the beginning stage of Ansari’s re-emergence from it. My sense during the show was that the crowd was aware of the saga, but not judgemental about it. A woman sitting in front of me told me she saw it as ‘very low on the scale of ‘bad date’ to ‘Harvey Weinstein’.'”
Last month, Netflix confirmed they would resume work with Ansari on the third season of Master Of None “when [he is] ready.”
“We certainly have given some thought to it,” the platform’s programming executive Cindy Holland said when asked if Netflix would continue to produce the TV series. “We certainly would be happy to make another season of Master of None with Aziz.”
Meanwhile, Louis CK also returned to the stand-up stage this weekend. He was accused of inappropriate behaviour, including masturbating in front of female comedians, 10 months ago. In response to the claims, he said: “The stories are true”.