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Aziz Ansari Parties with The Moth

The Master of None star told a story live on stage without notes

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Last night, The Moth, which began as a DIY storytelling slam in New York City and has since become a global broadcaster of true stories told live onstage without notes, celebrated its 20th anniversary and presented an award to chosen honoree Aziz Ansari. The Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed gala, aptly dubbed “A Moth Summer Night’s Dream,” transformed downtown’s Capitale into a woodsy wonderland, with a dress code that channeled the flora and fauna of Shakespeare’s comedy. “This [theme] calls to mind the first ever Moth in my loft on 17th St.,” founder George Dawes Green, donning a pair of horns, told the audience. “Like the play in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it didn’t matter if it was a disaster, because it was a radiant disaster.” 

Ansari took on a less enchanted tone in his acceptance speech. “I guess even though I’m the one getting an award, I still have to tell a story,” joked the comedian, who went on to give an anecdote about his love of bacon. “Seems like I already did that shit if you’re presenting me with an award, but…“

Wearing a sleek black jumper, Julianna Margulies may have broken dress code, but her sense of wonder shined through. “I’m new to the whole podcast situation, just because I’ve been living under a rock for seven years,” said Margulies, referring to her blockbuster run on The Good Wife, which ended last year. “When I hear the stories [from The Moth], so many of them are so compelling and inspiring. I was in the car listening to an incredible one by a doctor, and actually had to pull over because I got so emotional,” she told us. 

The program was packed with Moth-style stories by a diverse range of speakers, including former Obama speechwriter David Litt and students from The Moth’s high school program, and a DJ set by Twig the Wonderkid kept the crowd entranced until midnight.