We all love Amy Schumer, everyone knows how brilliant Key & Peele are, and you’ve watched Will Ferrell’s classic SNL sketches countless of times. But in this weekly column Sketchy MVPs, The Laugh Button shines a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
On January 21, Aziz Ansari will be hosting Saturday Night Live. This is exciting for a lot of reasons, including the fact that it’ll somewhat mark the comedian’s return to sketch comedy since his days with Human Giant.
We’ve previously highlighted the brilliance behind Human Giant’s two seasons on MTV in our Sketchy MVP profile of Paul Scheer. But there’s no way you can underplay Ansari’s role in making the show beloved for mixing truly absurd humor with unsettlingly realistic elements. Human Giant perfectly showcased Ansari’s gift for over-the-top and biting delivery, whether through solo performances or while doing characters with Scheer or the third mastermind behind the show, Rob Huebel.
While Ansari, Huebel and Scheer have reunited for the odd collaboration here and there, Human Giant never got around to doing season 3, partially because Ansari became busy with Parks And Recreation and a successful stand-up career. Ansari’s status in the comedy world has only grown larger since then. His stand-up tours continue to draw huge crowds, his Netflix series Master of None is both a fan favorite and critical darling, and he even co-authored a research book Modern Romance: An Investigation.
So while we prepare ourselves for his turn as SNL host and return to sketch comedy, relive a few of our favorite moments from Ansari’s time on Human Giant below.
“Catching a Predator”
The premise of this “To Catch A Predator” type show is already clever, but Ansari acting and looking like a giggly English boy (despite, as he puts it toward the end, having a full beard) makes the sketch even better.
Our two favorite agents for child actors actually first appeared onstage during Ansari and Huebel’s days performing in the NYC comedy scene, and also appeared online before hitting MTV. While Bill and Samir would appear numerous times during the two seasons, hearing Bill (played by Ansari) call a kid actor a has been in their first appearance is the perfect introduction to them.
Such a simple, silly premise made even better by Ansari’s low-key delivery… he just really wants to rollerblade.
Whether it’s getting a free cup of coffee, or a free membership to the gym (as seen above), Jimmy Norville makes it look so easy…
This scene about a job interview that escalates pretty fast might be the best example of Ansari’s ability to go over-the-top in a sketch. When Ansari jumps on the desk and asks “DO YOU WANT TO MEET THE SHIFT MANAGER?!,” you know instantly that you better be prepared. Note, we interviewed Broken Lizard’s Jay Chandrasekhar and he mentioned this being one of his favorite sketches. He also happened to direct it.