Aziz, to Letterman Monday night: "My girlfriend has influence on me. She's a big feminist. That made me think about those kinds of issues. I'm a feminist as well. Any feminists out here: clap if you're a feminist?"
He goes on to explain to the audience that if they didn't clap for feminism, "I don't believe you," because feminism is just men and women having equal rights. "You're a feminist if you go to a Jay Z and Beyoncé concert, and you're not like, mmm, I feel like Beyoncé should get 23% less than Jay Z."
Jay Z reference notwithstanding, the feminist-oriented jokes he makes on this clip are quite the shift from the Raaaaaaaaaaaaandy days of yore, but it's consistent with the new direction his comedy seems to be taking. I was at a surprise stand-up set he did in Brooklyn a few months ago, and his jokes veered into new territory for him—about immigration, politics and the like. Most notably, though, and on a feminist tip, he spoke about how disgusted he is by street harassment, and then asked the women in the room raise their hands and testify about specific experiences they've had with sexual harassment. It was stand-up-turnt-impromptu-riot grrrl meeting. That Aziz Ansari was the Kathleen Hanna of that situation was... unexpected. At first it was great, totally unbelievable that it was even happening, but after about the fifteenth minute or so, it started to become unbearable. His heart seemed in the right place, but his intentions were unclear: Was he fostering community? Mining for jokes? I don't usually require a trigger warning, but the context was not right, and my friend and I had to step outside for the duration. So, he's on a learning curve, to say the least.
Regardless, Aziz's influential feminist girlfriend in question is Courtney McBroom, a professional chef who has worked for Momofuku star David Chang (and co-wrote the Momofuku cookbooks), and has run her own pop-up Tex-Mex eatery called Casa Blanco. (The New York chef world is notoriously male-dominated, especially on the celebrity-chef level, with few exceptions.) McBroom allegedly moved from New York to LA to live with Ansari, according to US Weekly, and originally hails from Texas. In this video tutorial, she makes Texan queso dip with Swayze sauce.
In May, Ansari told Billboard, "I was the guy eating Skittles and having lots of fun, and then I was like, 'I need a nice nutritious salad' — she's the salad." McBroom has tweeted like, eight times, so there seems to be no substantial evidence of her feminism online publicly. But there's no need if she has the kind of influence that encourages Ansari to appear on Late Night With David Letterman and explain why feminism does not mean "some woman is gonna start yelling at me." HIGH FIVE, COURTNEY MCBROOM.