Comedian Aziz Ansari kicked off his new Netflix stand-up special by acknowledging the elephant in the room: His 2018 sexual misconduct scandal that largely pushed him out of the spotlight.
The "Master of None" star, who was accused of misconduct in a controversial first-person account during the #MeToo movement, returned to streaming on Tuesday with "Aziz Ansari: Right Now."
The special is based on Ansari's sold-out "Road to Nowhere" tour, during which he addressed the fallout from the Babe.net article about a date gone wrong. After the story was published, Ansari publicly apologized for the incident.
The Indian American comic kicked off the routine with quips about people mistaking him for comedian Hasan Minhaj, the Indian American host of Netflix's "Patriot Act," whom he readily pinned the misconduct scandal on before speaking in more hushed tones. It was the same mea culpa he's been delivering during the 75-city tour he embarked on last year.
Here's a transcript of what he said:
"I haven't said much about that whole thing, but I've talked about it on this tour, because you're here and it means a lot to me. And I'm sure some of you are curious how I feel about that whole situation. And it's a tricky thing for me to answer 'cause I felt so many things in the last year or so.
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There's times I felt scared. There's times I felt humiliated. There's times I felt embarrassed. And ultimately, I just felt terrible that this person felt this way. And after a year or so, I just hope it was a step forward.
It moved things forward for me and made me think about a lot. I hope I've become a better person. And I always think about a conversation I had with one of my friends where he was like, 'You know what, man? That whole thing made me think about every date I've ever been on.' And I thought, 'Wow. Well, that's pretty incredible. It's made not just me, but other people be more thoughtful, and that's a good thing.' And that's how I feel about it.
Then, perking up and rising a few octaves, he continues:
"And I know this isn't the most hilarious way to begin a comedy show. But it's important to me that you know how I feel about that whole thing before we share this night together."