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Aziz Ansari was launched into stardom with his role as Tom Haverford — the smooth-talking city employee with big entrepreneurial dreams — in NBC’s hit sitcom Parks and Recreation. The show ran for seven laugh-filled seasons before wrapping up in 2015.
Since then, Ansari has gone on to some big projects (and some big controversies) of his own. How did the star get where he is and what’s his current net worth? Let’s find out.
Aziz Ansari got his start in stand-up
Born in South Carolina to Indian immigrants, Ansari got his start in show business through stand-up comedy. He attended college in New York with the intention of studying marketing, but he was performing comedy on the side.
He finished college in 2004, but instead of going into the business world, he decided to pursue comedy professionally. He started out hosting a comedy night called Human Giant at UCB Theater, and that success rolled into an MTV comedy series by the same name that ran for two seasons.
Aziz Ansari got his big break was ‘Parks and Recreation’
In 2009, Ansari got his big break. He was cast to play Tom Haverford in NBC’s new sitcom, Parks and Recreation. The ensemble cast included such stars as highly decorated Amy Poehler and a then mostly unknown Chris Pratt.
That same year, Ansari also had a small role in Judd Apatow’s film Funny People. These two high-profile roles combined to launch Ansari into newfound stardom.
Ansari started working on his own stand-up comedy specials while Parks and Rec was still on the air. In 2012, he delivered Aziz Ansari: Dangerously Delicious. In 2015, the same year that Parks and Rec wrapped up its final season, Ansari recorded Aziz Ansari: Live from Madison Square Garden.
Aziz Ansari moved on to bigger things with his own show
The next move for Ansari was a big one. He premiered his own show on Netflix called Master of None. Starring, creating, and writing, this series is truly Ansari’s.
The show follows Dev (played by Ansari), a struggling New York actor who is trying to figure out his place in life. With equal parts comedic gold and heartfelt moments of real-life drama, the show received critical accolades.
Master of None aired two seasons before going on hiatus amidst accusations of sexual misconduct for Ansari.
A #MeToo scandal hurt Aziz Ansari’s career
Just as Ansari’s star seemed destined to rise without stopping, allegations of sexual misconduct threw the brakes on his ascent. A 23-year-old photographer shared her story under a pseudonym and claimed that she had a date with Ansari that ended up in his apartment. There, the actor allegedly pressured her into unwanted sexual activity and ignored her cues — both verbal and non-verbal — that she wanted to put a halt to their interactions.
Ansari admitted that he had sexual contact with the woman in question and that she had reached out to him the next day to explain how uncomfortable she had been with their interaction. He claimed to be shocked by her revelation and said he responded to her after he reflected on what her words meant.
“I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said,” he said. “I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”
Looking to the future
Since the scandal, Ansari has been mostly under the radar. He did, however, release a 2019 comedy special called Aziz Ansari: Right Now. That special could signal that the comedian is testing the waters for a potential revival of what seemed to be a successful and popular comedic career.
In the meantime, the star has managed to amass quite a fortune. His current net worth is around $18 million.
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