Whether he's referring to his familiar Southern-drawl hip hop swagger or the taste of tasty, tasty racist biscuits, Aziz Ansari is back and Dangerously Delicious. On his second album (originally released on his website as a five-dollar audio/video combo a la Louis C.K.), Ansari returns to the material he knows best which includes frustration with girls, his chubby cousin Harris, sex with girls, R. Kelly, technology, and frustrating sex with girls.
Despite his confident demeanor, Ansari shows us more vulnerability this time around, especially when it comes to approaching the fairer sex at a night club. You can't help but feel sorry for him as he tries to put his best foot forward, only to have it stomped on by a stiletto. Ansari, being who he is, finds a way to tilt the scales back in his favor (anyone missing a really nice bag?).
People who only know Ansari from "Parks and Recreation" may be in for a bit of a jolt, as he loves to go blue, gleefully providing more details than you may be comfortable with as he gives you the rundown on a donut shop-based porno, the hazards of driving the bus on a Madonna tour, and finding out why tacos are a necessity for any successful Motley Crue tour. And if that's not enough, Ansari revels in teaching you how to say a phrase in ASL that would make any 6th-grade boy snicker.
At times it seems Ansari relies less on finding the right punchline and more on shocking the crowd into laughter by seeing just how detailed he can get with his NC-17-rated descriptions. It's one thing to wish someone the worst possible hippo-related death...It's another to be taken through it step by cringe-inducing step and after a while, I was ready to move on. Not because I was grossed out or disgusted...it just got old faster than he may have suspected. Ansari mentions the Saw movie franchise during his set and that's a good example of his comedy. Where the whole Torture Porn approach to scary movies may be more geared toward the 24-And-Under crowd (I prefer to get my suspense through dialogue and not showing me everything), that same demographic will probably eat up this special. Not that there's anything wrong with that; I'm just not the target audience this time around. There are a lot of genuine laughs but there are also times Ansari finds himself at the end of a bit greeted not with peals of laughter but instead an awkward, somewhat uncomfortable, Can-We-Get-To-The-Next-Joke silence.
On his first album, Ansari had so many solid bits that garnered huge laughs, you can't really blame him for going back to the same well for more. Unfortunately, the re-visits feel a bit forced, sort of the sensation you get when "Saturday Night Live" rolls out yet another entry into the recurring French Cafe Dancers. At first I was excited to hear he was going to keep us updated on Harris and find out what he's up to, but when it ultimately failed to live up to the huge laughs he got the first time around, it felt more like a crutch and even a bit of a cheat.
And that, I suppose, was my biggest letdown with this project. Ansari returns to a lot of the material that I loved the first time around and he's simply not able to capture the spark and magic this time. Instead of coming across as another chapter in a fun comedian's solid discography, it instead feels like a movie sequel that couldn't live up to the hype. We were promised something Dangerously Delicious but were left with little more than a hangover. As in Hangover 2.