It’s been just over a year since Aziz Ansari was accused of sexual misconduct, prompting him to issue an initial statement. Ever since, he has kept a low-profile, quietly performing smaller shows and opting not to address the matter in-depth. But on Monday, the comedian reportedly discussed the allegation directly during his stand-up show.
Appearing at New York City’s Village Underground, Ansari performed for approximately 200 people, and according to Vulture, the Master of None creator-star was doing his typical set, until he told a story of recently being confused for Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj on the street. Once the fan realized his mistake, he said to Ansari, “You had the whole thing come out last year — sexual misconduct?’” to which the comedian jokingly responded, “No, no, no, no, no, no, that’s Hasan!”
That is when things reportedly took a more “somber” turn, with Ansari sitting down and explaining why he hadn’t talked much about last year’s Babe.net story, in which a young woman wrote about a date with Ansari and how she felt pressured to engage in sexual activity with him. Onstage, Ansari told the audience that he had wanted to take time to process and figure out what he wanted to say. “It’s a terrifying thing to talk about,” he shared. “There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way. But you know, after a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person.”
Ansai then discussed a conversation he had with a friend, who revealed that the story had forced him to rethink all of his own past dates. Said Ansari, “If that has made not just me but other guys think about this, and just be more thoughtful and aware and willing to go that extra mile, and make sure someone else is comfortable in that moment, that’s a good thing.”
As Vulture notes, this appears to be the first time Ansari has publicly addressed the allegation since the story first surfaced last year. The Parks and Recreation alum, who will be part of a PaleyFest reunion for the show next month, went on to say the situation “gave me perspective on my life,” adding how grateful he is to be performing comedy. “There was a moment,” Ansari admitted, “where I was scared that I’d never be able to do this again.”