Aziz Ansari

I really couldn’t stand Aziz Ansari when he first appeared on my radar, beginning as an offensively xenophobic fruit vendor on Flight of the Conchords and then as an even more offensive host of the 2007 Sasquatch! Festival. (As I recall, he was booed off stage after making one too many gang-rape jokes). Yet my irritation took a 180 thanks to Ansari’s role on my number-one favorite TV show, Parks & Recreation. His Tom Haverford—government employee, entrepreneur, and inventor of Snake Juice liquor and Tommy Fresh cologne—has a wannabe hip-hop swagger that amusingly echoes Ansari’s real-life friendship with Kanye West. Tom has a whiny, puppyish eagerness to please that makes him impossibly hilarious and lovable. Now that Parks is on summer hiatus, Ansari’s Twitter feed, @azizansari, is a guaranteed gut-buster. Mostly he tweets about his favorite TV shows: “Whoa. Not to be racist, but I just flipped through channels & saw an Indian dude on Modern Family & legit thought it was me for 2 secs.” He also recently started a hashtag trend #ThronesandRecreation, positing ideas for a mashup between his own show and Game of Thrones. What would Tyrion Lannister would make of Tom? ERIN K. THOMPSON

Fri., June 29, 7:30 & 10:30 p.m., 2012