"He mentioned being inspired by the stuff you’ve done to help out Leslie Jones and W. Kamau Bell, and how it’s made him work harder to boost young Indian-American talent in comedy. Is that something you specifically encouraged?Hey, you’ve got to look out for people that aren’t normally looked out for. And that doesn’t mean embracing anybody that’s inferior, but that does mean — what am I trying to say tastefully? — I’ve learned, when you’re performing to an audience that looks like you and is from a place like you, you have an advantage. You just do. And when you’re dealing with networks and studios, some people have an advantage. Aziz does not have an advantage.
I’ve been in Hollywood a long time and I’ve never had a meeting with an Indian person. Maybe one. Not that white people get hired because of that. I’m not saying that at all. But what I’m saying is that when you and the person you’re selling something to are not from the same place, there’s a translation going on to make whatever you’re selling or saying, for them to understand it. So Aziz, being that he’s Indian, can cut through the red tape for some other Indian guys, I believe.
Think about it, he doesn’t fall into any clique. There’s no precursor to Aziz. I guess you could say Russell Peters a little bit, but Russell really made his bones on the road. He’s one of the great road guys of our time. Aziz is in this whole other world — there’s just him.
Where does that put Aziz in the world of top-tier stand-ups?He’s one of the best. He’s one of the best there is. You know, he’s at the big boy and big girl table. He’s right there. Aziz is as good as anybody. I mean, with us stand-ups — I don’t want to act like we’re perfect and we don’t look at color. We do. But it’s all about funny, man. It really is.
I’m not going to say this guy’s name, but I’m sitting there the other night — me, Arsenio [Hall], and Chappelle, talking about this white comic we love who we know is racist, but we’re like, “This guy is so funny!” [Laughs.] Like, we know he’s racist. He makes no qualms of his racism and his ultraconservatism, and all three of us are like, “That motherfucker’s funny!” That’s just how stand-ups are. Aziz is one of the best. He’s as good as they are.
Still, it’s impressive to come up from where he did and not have a predecessor. It’s hard for anybody. There’s no easy path to stand-up. But Indian kid from South Carolina? That is some journey. That is like, ‘Okay.” He had to be really funny. He wasn’t going to get where he is being in the pack. He had to be ahead of the pack.
Any other fun facts I should know about him, other than his uncanny ability to pick restaurants?He is really good with the restaurants. We are both obsessed with Kanye. We could literally talk Kanye for hours. It’s the closest we come to religion, is Kanye. We really love Kanye. It’s sad!
As both a friend and a figure?As both a friend and a figure! I’m scared Kanye’s going to read this, but we just love Kanye! I could defend Kanye against anything. No matter what he does, if you put me and Aziz in a room — if Kanye ever has to go to trial, he should put us on his legal team, honestly. Because we know how to defend Kanye."