Five Memorable Aziz Ansari Roles

Ansari is notable for creating and starring in the Netflix “Master of None," which earned him the title of first Asian American to win a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Show.

Five Memorable Aziz Ansari Roles
In addition to his award-winning status as an actor and filmmaker, Ansari is also known for his stand-up comedy and has even authored a book. Photo credit: Tyler Ross

Aziz Ansari is an Emmy-winning actor, filmmaker and stand-up comedian known for his work in television and film. His comedy centers around observational humor, social commentary and reflection upon his own experiences growing up as a Muslim American. Ansari is notable for creating and starring in the Netflix “Master of None” (2015–2017), which earned him the title of first Asian American to win a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Show.

Here are just five of Aziz Ansari’s most iconic roles that showcase his humor and acting prowess.

1. "Parks and Recreation" (2009–2015)

Ansari gained widespread recognition for his role as Tom Haverford in this popular NBC sitcom. "Parks and Recreation" was a mockumentary-style sitcom that followed the eccentric and endearing employees of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation department as they navigated their professional and personal lives in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana.

Tom, a sarcastic parks department employee with an entrepreneurial spirit and penchant for mischief, was a memorable part of the ensemble. Tom is often found either scheming to live beyond his means, and is perhaps best known for inventing the catchphrase “treat yo self” to justify his indulgence in luxurious treats. Despite this, Tom develops a heart of gold over the course of the series as he learns to become a more dependable friend and becomes a fully-fledged businessman in his own right. 

2. "30 Minutes or Less" (2011)

“30 Minutes or Less” is an action comedy that revolves around a criminal duo (played by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) who kidnap pizza delivery driver Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), strap a bomb to him and demand that he rob a bank within a limited timeframe. In the midst of the chaos, Ansari’s character Chet becomes involved as Nick's reluctant partner in the bank heist.

The film relies on the chemistry between Ansari and Eisenberg to deliver comedic moments amid the action.While "30 Minutes or Less" received mixed reviews from audiences and critics alike, Ansari's comedic performance has been highlighted as one of the film's strengths. 

3. ​​"Epic" (2013)

In the animated film "Epic," Ansari plays Mub, a slug who serves as comedic relief throughout the story. "Epic" is a fantasy adventure film that follows a teen girl named M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) who finds herself shrunken down and magically transported to a hidden forest where a battle between good and evil is taking place. Alongside her new friends, M.K. must fight to protect a world she never knew existed. 

Mub is a slug who cracks-wise and oozes confidence in "Epic." He is often scene partners with a snail named Grub (Chris O'Dowd), who serves as a straight man to his goofball. Together, Mub and Grub provide a lighthearted counterbalance to the more serious and action-oriented parts of the film.

4. "Master of None" (2015–2021)

Ansari co-created, wrote and starred in this critically acclaimed Netflix series. His performance as Dev Shah, a 30-year-old actor navigating career and relationships in New York, earned him several accolades, including two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.

The series revolves around the life of Dev, who is trying to break into the entertainment industry despite his highest acclaim being for a Go-Gurt commercial. Dev often struggles with the difference between what he wants, what he feels he should want and what he is expected to want. The show, which is loosely based on Ansari’s own life, often delves into the nuances of his personal and professional experiences.

5. “Bob’s Burgers” (2011–)

"Bob's Burgers" is an animated sitcom that follows the humorous and often eccentric daily lives of the Belcher family as they run a struggling but charming burger restaurant in a coastal town. Ansari voices Darryl, a student at Wagstaff Elementary who is friends with the three Belcher children.

Darryl is a self-proclaimed video game enthusiast and one of the smartest kids in school, leading him to be a frequent target for bullies. He often has trouble standing up for himself but is still supportive of his friends. While Darryl is normally seen interacting with Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Louise (Kristen Schaal), he first met the family when Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) hired Darryl to train Bob to become better at an arcade game. 

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