NBC star talks modern relationships in comedy set

By Bethany Knipp

Struggling with a relationship?

You should have been at Bramlage Coliseum Wednesday night, listening to Aziz Ansari — actor from the NBC show “Parks and Recreation” — offering comedic truths about modern romance and the struggles of getting together.

Ansari, who was brought to K-State by the Union Program Council, presented his show: “Modern Romance (A New Comedy Tour) – offering insights to students about the trials and tribulations of relationships in a technological era.

“Being in a relationship is tough, it’s a lot of work, but I think being single is harder,” Ansari said after asking the audience to clap if they were in a relationship.

Ansari said single life was tough because of the modern process for asking someone out. 

He said people are flakier than ever, as one person asks the other to do something, but the activity is rescheduled … over and over.

“It’s the most frustrating process,” Ansari said. “No one wants to commit to [expletive],” he said.

Ansari described the process as being a secretary for an extremely fickle organization.

But he said it’s all because people just want the best for themselves.

“I do it all the time. I don’t want to commit to a plan. That’s terrifying,” he said.

Ansari said people these days have a nightmare that they’ll commit to something and will be unavailable if something better comes along.

He said that scenario goes like this:

“Person 1: ’Dude, Biggie and Tupac faked their deaths and they’re having a concert right now.’

“Person 2: ‘But I’m at the aquarium with Phil.’ ”

Ansari said there are three ways to avoid going out with a person if you’re not interested: honesty, silence and pretending to be busy for the rest of your life.

“Why hurt someone’s feelings when you can create an alternate reality where scheduling is the problem?” Ansari said.

He said he thought silence, or not texting someone back after being asked out, was the rudest route to take for avoiding someone.

Ansari said when silence happens, it’s torture for the person who sent the text – as they think of different scenarios for reasons why there is no response.

“Everyone goes through all these crazy theories and then you finally figure it out – maybe the text didn’t go through.”

Ansari engaged with the audience, calling up people near the stage who had just met someone they liked in the last few days.

He asked them to bring their phones so he could look at the texts to see the evolution of their new relationships.

Ansari read the text of one man who was texting a woman he met at a bar in Kansas City.

“It’s a nice evening for a drink,” the text said. It went on to say: “That might be an invitation.”

But the woman responded this way: “I just had pizza with my roommate. Who is this?”

Ansari poked fun at the man’s situation and advised him to ask her out properly to a K-State Singers event this week – but first he made sure the proposal was OK with the audience.

“We’re gonna read it to make sure everyone in the audience approves,” Ansari said.

Ansari revealed that he had been in a relationship for the past nine months, and it was still in the exciting “passionate love” phase — though he said he knew it would later get a little more boring in the “companion love” phase.

He said that he understands why his friends in relationships never wanted to go out, and would rather spend time with their significant others – because he’s experiencing the same thing.

Ansari said he prefers to stay home and watch movies or TV with his girlfriend, no matter how exciting an outing with friends could be.

“If you’ve ever held somebody you loved and watched a critically acclaimed drama, you have reached the peak of happiness,” he said.

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