"Parks and Recreation" Star Aziz Ansari Chose Comedy Over Go

by Derek Loosvelt | April 19, 2011

Business might be the least humorous of all college degrees, but that's exactly what comedian and actor Aziz Ansari (a.k.a. Tom Haverford, the character Ansari plays on NBC's "Parks and Recreation") graduated with from NYU's Stern School in 2004.

aziz ansari and chimpIn a recent radio interview with "The Sound of Young America," Ansari told host Jess Thorn that when he arrived to New York City to go to NYU from South Carolina (where he grew up) he was surrounded by freshmen who were all taking about wanting to work for some investment bank called Goldman Sachs.

At the time, Ansari had never heard of Goldman, and his fellow Stern students' God-like worship for the firm with the golden name freaked him out.

Ansari also told Thorn the only reason he decided to get a degree in business (he majored in marketing) was due to its supposed practicality. That is, he didn't know which other degrees would get him a decent-paying job.

It wasn't long before Ansari lost interest in business -- out of laziness he didn't transfer to another school within NYU -- and began focusing on comedy. Which wasn't an easy go at first.

Aziz was forced to pass out flyers for B- and C-rated comedy shows in Time Square (his least favorite job) as well as perform at endless open mics before catching a break that ultimately led to a gig at Chelsea's Upright Citizens Brigade, his own MTV show, and then to primetime.

Of course, today, given that the vampire squid (a.k.a. Goldman Sachs, the character the bank plays on Wall Street) is atop major headlines nearly every day, it's highly unlikely that any college freshmen would arrive at school without having heard of the firm.

Which, along with the recent senate investigation's findings about the bank with its tentacles wrapped around the visage of humanity, reminds me of this old Conan O'Brien joke:

Who would ever want to invest in Goldman Sachs mortgage investments? I played it safe -- and bought Greek bonds and magic beans.

(The Sound of Young America)

(DealBook: Goldman Spins Away From Success)

(HuffPo: The Best Jokes About Goldman Sachs)

Filed Under: Finance


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