In February 2014, Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation, Thirty Minutes or Less,) came to Tulsa for a show at the Brady Theatre. Having never seen Aziz live, or having been to the Brady, I was obviously pretty excited for the show.
And Aziz didn’t let anyone down. Now nearly two years later, the comic’s Netflix show Master of None has become a hit and a good discussion topic. The show follows Dev (Ansari), a single New Yorker who’s trying to become an actor and balance life, his diverse friend group, his immigrant parents and his quest for a relationship.
The show has been covered to death already, so I won’t go into detail there, other than to say that it’s hilarious and poignant (for instance, an early episode where Dev and Brian try to get to know their fathers better fired back and forth between uproarious and really touching and thought-provoking).
I was watching some of the episodes last night, and it took me back to Aziz’s Tulsa show. He was talking about how kids today, thanks to texting and social media (was Tinder even a thing yet?) have grown up in a totally different dating environment.
To illustrate this, he asked if anyone in the crowd was currently talking to a girl. That’s where Weston White comes in. Weston, a freshman at the time at the University of Arkansas, allowed Aziz to take his cell phone and to text a girl, asking her on a date.
The bit hit a snag when the girl didn’t respond during the show — Aziz even told a few extra jokes while hoping she would respond. (We got some good news after the show when Weston tweeted Aziz to say that he got the date, and Aziz sent this out to his nearly eight million followers.)
Since Aziz’s show is a hit, I wondered what Weston was up to. How did the date go? What does he think of Master of None?
So I did what any curious person would do: I tweeted Weston and said “What’s up?”
Me: You were a student at U of A when Aziz came to Tulsa, if I remember right. What are you doing today?
Weston: I’m actually finishing up my senior year here, I was only 19 at the time. That’s where is “Godspeed Young Weston” hashtag came from.
Me: So what’s life like now? I saw the “father, husband” thing on your profile. Is that true or a joke?
Weston: Oh yeah, pretty much the farthest thing from the truth. I’m currently in the “oh shoot I’ve gotta figure my life out in six months before I graduate” phase.
Me: I’m 34 now and that phase hasn’t stopped, so I feel your pain.
Weston: That’s great to hear haha
Me: Did you ever get a date with the girl from the show? I don’t even remember exactly what happened. You gave Aziz your phone and he texted her?
Weston: We grabbed lunch later that week (I have a picture somewhere of us outside of Hawaiian Brian’s) and now she and I are really good friends
Me: Hawaiian Brian’s! hahah i remember someone from the crowd yelling that out. So you drove to Tulsa from Fayetteville for the show? What was it about Aziz that made you want to come all the way over here?
Weston: Tulsa isn’t a bad drive from here, it’s right at two hours, so we drove over occasionally anyways. I bought tickets to his show the day I heard they came out though, I’d been a huge fan for years. I started watching Parks & Rec in high school and got into his standup from there.
Me: Do you have a favorite bit?
Weston: I’m a bit partial to the whole Modern Romance set, but I listened to his first three again recently on a long drive. The Simple Man Cruise bit cracks me up because I grew up in a part of Arkansas similar to where I imagine he grew up in South Carolina. All of the 50 Cent, R. Kelly, and Kanye bits kill me though. One of my dreams in life is to end up at a bar with Aziz and Kanye. I mean, you never know, right?
Me: Have you watched all or some of Master of None? What do you think about it?
Weston: I’ve watched all of it and absolutely loved it.
Me: You’re like 21 or 22, right? What is it about the show and Aziz’s comedy that appeals to you? When I watch MoN, I feel like it really speaks right to my generation, which I guess would be someone a little older than the Workaholics guys. But you’re a decade younger. What is it about the show that speaks to you?
Weston: I think kids my age are starting to feel those same pressures earlier and earlier honestly. I mean, I’ve been in multiple weddings of close college friends and have several that already have a kid or one on the way. I guess the difference though is we’re just starting to feel those pressures. As far as his comedy goes, his personality is probably my favorite part. I feel like you’re getting a look at the real Aziz whether you’re watching his stand up or him play a part on TV.
Me: The show deals a lot with relationships, and with Aziz sort of navigating this intersection of work, growing up, dating and different cultures. Are you in a relationship now? Do you relate to any of the characters in the show more than others? (I feel like a Brian, because I think I have a nice ass, too.)
Weston: I’m not currently in a relationship. There’s been a few short lived ones the past couple of years, but it’s hard when you’ve got no idea where you’re going to be when you graduate. I’m sure that still applies after graduation, but we don’t really get that yet I guess. I’d say I relate most to the kid that rubs his junk on the waffles – that’s a pretty regular occurrence for me. Just kidding. I’d say pre-Rachel Dev. Maybe that’s a bit cliche, but I’m not as cool as Brian and (hopefully) not as awkward as Arnold and they’re the main single male characters.
Once I get a pasta maker and wait 6 months to use it, I’ll be a spot on Dev.
Me: What are you studying in school? What do you hope to do after graduation?
Weston: I’m studying Marketing and Econ. I have several directions I could go with it, so I’m not exactly sure. All I know for sure is I want to do something that lets me connect with a lot of people. I think another reason I connected with the show so well is because of the wide variety of people in the show. Basically, I want a job where I care about what I’m doing and I’m working with people with different backgrounds and stories than me.
Me: Who is your favorite character from the show?
Weston: That’s a tough one. I can’t say Dev because I just compared myself to him and I’m definitely not narcissistic. Honestly I might have to say his dad. The fact that he is Aziz’s actual dad and so much of his story in the show was true to life is awesome. Not to mention his character is hilarious.
Me: Yes! The parents are hilarious to me. The line when he says he was taking pictures with his iPad, and his wife says “you just took one long video” killed me.
Weston: And he responded with something along the lines of “that means I got everything, man” haha
Me: “That’s the whole trip, man.” The way he delivered it was amazing.
Weston: Yeah that was it! I hope he ended sentences with dude and man in real life
Me: Actually that’s something else I wanted to get into. The show has been really positively received because of how unafraid it is to just go head-first into probably the most diverse cast ever assembled. In a way, it reminded me of college, where you have all these people from different walks of life and different places all thrown together, and for the most part everyone just gets along and never questions anyone’s background. Do you think that might be part of what you like about the show?
Weston: For sure. I’ve always tried to surround myself by people different than me, and college is a hub for that. Being able to get so many different perspectives in one place is big time.
Me: OK man, I really appreciate it. Any last words before I let you go?
Weston: Martinelli’s Apple Juice is actually insanely good.