Today (February 23) marks comedian and actor Aziz Ansari’s 32nd birthday and 2016 couldn’t look brighter for the famous comedian. He’s currently at the peak of his career, thanks to the success of his Netflix series Master of None, which was renewed for a second season just this month. To celebrate the birthday boy’s special day, here are five facts you may not have known about him.
1. He’s from South Carolina: While those who judge based on appearances might at first think otherwise, Ansari was actually born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1983. His parents, however, are in fact immigrants, having been born in Tamil Nadu, India. Despite his mother and father being Tamil Muslims, Aziz Ansari is an atheist.
2. He’s a major foodie: Aziz Ansari cares about what he eats, even having favorite places to go that are nowhere near each other; they’re not even in the same state! His favorite restaurant is a deli located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, while his favorite pizzeria is all the way in Los Angeles. His favorite alcoholic beverage is the gold rush, a cocktail made up of honey syrup, lemon juice, and bourbon. His love of food is so great that it’s one of the things he looks for in a woman.
3. He’s a proud feminist: And he found such a woman, as Ansari is currently dating professional chef Courtney McBroom. It is said that through his girlfriend’s influence, Ansari came to self-identify as a feminist. However, he’s gone on record as saying that he was always one: “There wasn’t a period where I was really against women and then started dating one and was like, ‘You know what? Men and women are equal.’ That definitely didn’t happen.”
4. He’s a renowned published author: Aziz Ansari’s stance on women and relationships was translated into a book, Modern Romance: An Investigation, which he wrote alongside sociologist Eric Klinenberg. The book explores modern courtship practices, namely the new-ish relationship between dating and technology, and its differences from how people used to meet before the Internet. Research for the book included hundreds of interviews with people all over the world—not just the United States—and even setting up a subreddit that asked users questions about things like if they research someone online before a first date and if they’ve ever been through a breakup over social media.
5. He uses all of the above as material: Aziz Ansari uses his own life as the primary source of comedy in his stand-up gigs, admitting, “I like talking about things that are going on in my life, because that’s always going to be different and original.” This is perhaps most apparent in Master of None, which he co-created and co-wrote. In fact, the show has had episodes about many of the facts posted above, including one about being typecast as a stereotypical Indian, one about becoming a feminist, and one about relationships. His character, Dev, is also a major foodie, ending season one with plans to go to culinary school.