Why Aziz Ansari deleted all social media and web browsers from his phone

Comedian Aziz Ansari recently took a sharp exit from the information superhighway, deleting the internet browser and all social media from his phone. Though, to be fair, the internal thoughts and banter happening in Ansari’s head are probably way funnier than the cat videos and Instagram memes he could scroll through on the internet anyway.

Ansari, who starred in “Parks and Recreation” and is having a heck of a year with the successful second season of his show “Master of None,” sat down with GQ for an interview. He talked about everything from his hit Netflix show to his thoughts on marijuana, and he also revealed his favorite Starburst flavor.

But one of the most interesting nuggets from the interview centered on how he deleted the internet from his phone. And not just the browser, but also Twitter, Instagram and email. (Hey, we’ve got our own Facebook pet peeves that make us want to sign off, too).

Aziz Ansari photo
Getty Images | Frederick M. Brown

So how did this funny guy survive without being tethered to his phone? Actually, he doesn’t think he’s missing out on much.

“When I first took the browser off my phone, I’m like, [gasp] How am I gonna look stuff up?” he told GQ. “But most of the (expletive) you look up, it’s not stuff you need to know. All those websites you read while you’re in a cab, you don’t need to look at any of that stuff. It’s better to just sit and be in your own head for a minute. I wanted to stop that thing where I get home and look at websites for an hour and a half, checking to see if there’s a new thing.”

But, but … how exactly is he getting through the day without gobbling up all the super-important news? Ansari said in the interview that if something big happened, he’d undoubtedly find out about it. To test this claim, the interviewer briefly duped Ansari into believing that Mike Pence stepped down as Vice President (he fell for it!).

mike pence photo
Getty Images | Alex Wong

Now that Ansari  is no longer bombarded by all that “stuff” on the internet, though, he says he’s been reading a lot more, as in three books at a time. He says the books are “putting something into my mind” as opposed to when he was scanning the internet and not remembering anything he read.

“Whenever you check for a new post on Instagram or whenever you go on The New York Times to see if there’s a new thing, it’s not even about the content,” Ansari added. “It’s just about seeing a new thing. You get addicted to that feeling. You’re not going to be able to control yourself. So the only way to fight that is to take yourself out of the equation and remove all these things. What happens is, eventually you forget about it. You don’t care anymore.”

Good for Ansari for retraining his brain at a time when we’re constantly bombarded with, as he puts it, “new things.”

Does this make you want to try something similar with your phone?

Oh, and, speaking of useless information you learn on the internet?

Ansari’s favorite Starburst flavor, for the record, is orange.