Aziz Ansari Jokes About Relationships in New Comedy Sketches After Sexual Assault Allegations

Aziz Ansari has returned to the stage after a date accused him of sexual assault in a January story. Despite the public backlash, Ansari did not joke about the incident at his recent comedy shows. Much of his set, however, focused dating.

Ansari is a well-known comedian who has many times joked about the dating world. He even co-wrote a book, Modern Romance—An Investigation, on the difficulties of dating in a technology-fueled, instant-gratification society. From those who attended the shows, it seemed as if Ansari hadn't abandoned his take on relationships.

"If you didn't know about the controversy, you wouldn't have realized that this was the beginning stage of Ansari's re-emergence from it," Vulture reporter Ryan Glasspiegel, who attended Ansari's Saturday show, said. "My sense during the show was that the crowd was aware of the saga but not judgmental about it."

If there was an elephant in the room, it wasn't mentioned. This reaction might have been expected, as, after the Babe article, many took Ansari's side and said the #MeToo movement had gone too far. Some readers saw the accuser as having not spoken up about her boundaries in her post-dinner visit to Ansari's apartment, and that she could have left if she felt uncomfortable.

Netflix, Ansari's platform for his Emmy-winning show Master of None, has kept Ansari on with no questions about the third season of his show. Netflix was quick to drop Kevin Spacey from House of Cards after sexual assault allegations, albeit much more serious ones, against him emerged.

A woman sitting near Glasspiegel compared the alleged allegations made against Ansari with those made against Harvey Weinstein. She said Ansari's fell low on the scale, close to a typical "bad date."

Ansari's return to the stage was part of a week-long appearance in May at the Comedy Cellar in New York. Attendees were surprised to see the actor and curious about what he might say about sex and relationships. An audience member, Hershlay Raymond, didn't recall any mention of sex in Ansari's set, she told Refinery29.

"If you had no idea about the allegations before he came out, you still wouldn't know about them after he finished his set," she said. "I think we were even more shocked to see him since we haven't heard much about him since the incident."