Review: Aziz Ansari, Soho Theatre, 2011

Aziz Ansari, aka Tom Haverford from Parks & Recreation, has just announced a UK date at Hammersmith Apollo on June 15. Let's hope he is as good as he was when I saw him at Soho Theatre in February 2011. Tickets go on sale May 7, details here.

Frustrated fans were begging for tickets outside Aziz Ansari's packed gig on Saturday night. There is a real buzz about this brief visit from the US comedian who has worked regularly with Flight of the Conchords and film director Judd Apatow.

Could the skinny, hip 28-year-old live up to expectations? Well, if he did not exceed expectations, he certainly met them.

Anzari draws on a familiar observational drop-down menu of twentysomething tropes, from dating difficulties to online porn. But he sells his gags well, with express train delivery and offbeat asides - a particularly pleasing riff speculated on 50 Cent's lack of fruit-awareness.

The caveat is that, as with many American imports, there was something mechanical about his performance, allowing little room for spontaneity. But if it frequently felt as if he was simply rattling through proven hits, at least he knew it. His finest moment was playfully lobbing in a lone M&S reference for gratuitous local colour.

If Hollywood does not sidetrack Ansari, stand-up superstardom beckons. There are US jokesmiths with more bite - notably Louis CK, Doug Stanhope - but Ansari is younger, prettier and not far behind. 

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