Comedian Aziz Ansari, otherwise known as "Tom Haverford," is working on a first book, The Penguin Press announced today. According to Publishers Weekly, the publisher paid a rather stupendous amount for the book, though The Atlantic Wire could not independently confirm these reports.
The @PenguinPress acq world rights to a book by comedian Aziz Ansari from agent R Abate; rumor has it the advance was $3.5 million.— PW_Deals (@PW_Deals) August 22, 2013
Abate has also brokered book deals for Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan and Judah Friedlander, as well as James Franco and Go the Fuck to Sleep author Adam Mansbach. If the figure is correct, that puts Azari just about $200,000 behind Lena Dunham, who earned $3.7 million from Random House for her memoir.
But the book won't be quite what you think—it's not a memoir (at least not directly), and it isn't about Parks and Recreation or the actor's film career. Ansari's getting more academic than that. The book will be an investigation into the single life in 2013, a look at how "the basic issues facing a single person—whom we meet, how we meet them, and what happens next—have been radically altered by new technologies." Indeed they have been.
In other words, this thankfully won't just be a straightforward memoir. Apparently Ansari's chatting with academics and conducting "original research" to make this work. But his pitch still carries the rhythms of good standup. Via Penguin's press release:
Ansari said, "You know when you text someone you're romantically interested in and you don't hear anything back and then you see them post a photo of a pizza on Instagram? That's exactly what I want this book to deal with. These are strange conundrums that no generation has ever faced before and it's a fascinating jumping off point for what I hope will be a very interesting book about modern courtship."
Yes, yes, exactly, an "investigation" into "modern courtship." Intro sociology professors, take note. Here are some distinctly 21st-century dating topics Ansari may wish to touch upon:
- The thing where playing the dating-site game suddenly turns into a polygraph test and your would-be partner catches your innocuous half-truths;
- The all-too-thin line between classy and trashy when flirting on Facebook chat;
- What it's like to go on dates when you're a famous person and you want to date like a normal person and you don't want to only date other famous people but it's weird when you go on dates with not-famous people (seriously, what is this like? Can Ansari shed light? Is it like inadvertently marrying a rock star?);
- The pros and cons of incorporating a dating spreadsheet into your day-to-day courtship operations (we all do that...right?....right?...um, never mind);
- The right time and place to Google a prospective date (and the right time and place to admit that you have done so, which is an altogether different matter);
- Whether or not sharing a Netflix password is a mutually accepted sign of commitment;
- and when to inform a short-lived dating partner that you are submitting a largely unflattering New York Times "Modern Love" essay about them (but it's not like it's really likely that they'll publish it or anything, they must receive thousands, but still, just thought you should know, just in case).
The book won't be out until September 2015. But Ansari is not the only comedian making the jump to author. Rob Delaney's Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. is set for November, and Stephen Colbert's America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't and Tina Fey's Bossypants can tide you over in the meantime.