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Aziz Ansari kicked off the Los Angeles leg of his Modern Romance tour Tuesday night at the Wiltern Theater. Despite his through line that contemporary life and romance live digitally instead of through actual human interaction, Ansari brings his audience into his performance. Quite a bit. Some other things that might surprise you.
1) He starts on time. Dude is a professional. The Wiltern said he’d go on 8:30 and Ansari took the stage at 8:30 p.m. sharp, clad in what had to be a custom-made suit. That alone is going to take a house full of Angelenos by surprise.
2) Are you a minority or an immigrant? He’ll road test your hardship tales. One hapless Filipina woman in the front row, when asked to volunteer her immigrant parents’ struggles, answered that her parents worked in a fast food restaurant. Not suffering enough for Ansari: “Even white people do that!”
3) He’ll read your texts out loud. Have you been dating — aka texting and exchanging emoticons — someone for less than a week? Volunteer your phone — and many did — he’ll read aloud your texts from beginning to the end, date and time stamps noted, so the rest of us can live your relationship like you do — through your phone. Some dermatologist who may or may not be on vacation in Hawaii right now got a text from Ansari last night, through the portal of the phone of the blonde girl he picked up last Friday. You’re welcome.
4) He’s going to make you question your meat-eating, nay, all your eating choices. He’s finally found the bit that combines his views on the industrial food complex and his “flawless Ja Rule impression.” Also he points out, no vegetable can compare to bacon in terms of smells wafting through from another room. “Are those steamed carrots I’m smelling? …Are you making a medley? …You need to make me a plate RIGHT NOW.” He’s probably right: no one ever said that.
5) He’s going to talk to you about feminism. Yes, you read that right. He still gets in his requisite bits about masturbating, but in a larger sense of how creepy the world can be if you’re a woman.
6) He ends on a down note. Stay for the encore. The line to get out of the theater is a lot longer if you stay in the dark room he drops you off in as he winds down his act. It’s worth hanging out in your seat for another 15 minutes.
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