Live comedy has always been a one of a kind entertainment experience. But having watched a comedian for years on Netflix then being able to see them live, made Aziz Ansari’s headlining JFL NorthWest set a truly remarkable experience.
- Aziz Ansari to headline JFL NorthWest festival in Vancouver
- Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg join Vancouver's 2nd annual Just For Laughs Festival
- JFL NorthWest reveals first wave of 2019 festival performers
The Queen Elizabeth Theatre was still emptying from the sold out 7 pm show on Friday when we arrived. It was my first time at the historic venue, and being forced to store our phones in locked bags made it feel like an exclusive, boujie event. I embrace this trend of phone-free comedy shows for protecting the comedian’s material and their effort in creating an intimate, engaging performance.
The show started with a charismatic and clever host and the opener, a Vancouverite living in LA was immediately relatable and hilarious. With less than a minute’s pause, Aziz casually strolled on stage in a t-shirt and jeans to thunderous applause from the Gen X-dominated crowd. He jumped right into his set covering everything from racism, sexism, politics, dating to pop culture.
The overall theme of his set however centred around political correctness and what he called “extreme wokeness.” He touched on the hypocrisy of our digital society, the standards at which we vilify or forgive each other (and celebrities) based on what we read online. He cited Kevin Hart, Michael Jackson and even himself as examples of how the changing political tides impact our perceptions in the classic “funny, sad, but true” fashion.
Seasoned Aziz fans were treated to updates of his older material about his cousin Harris, his relationship with his girlfriend, and his (now) embarrassing R. Kelly obsession. His most notable and clever joke, however, provided the proof of concept for his overall theme. He started telling a story about how a meme got him in trouble online recently and asked the crowd to raise their hands to indicate which side of the argument they had been on. The punchline? The meme never existed, proving his point that we (as a society) we will develop opinions on a topic without any facts at all.
With 3 Netflix comedy specials under his belt and his own Netflix comedy-drama show, Aziz Ansari is at the top of his game with the funniest, clever and politically accurate show he’s ever produced. He may be on the “Road To Nowhere” let’s just hope it leads him back to Vancouver sometime soon.