Aziz Ansari's new stand-up special, Buried Alive, will be debuting on Netflix in a matter of weeks. Until then, we have a short clip titled "Marriage is an Insane Proposal." In it, he riffs on the fact that a lot of things about traditional wedding ceremonies are pretty strange, if you think about them. "I want to keep hanging out with you until one of us dies," Ansari says mockingly, imitating a proposer. Later, he says, "[This is] a priest. I want you to swear to God you won't back out of this deal."
It's true: from the tradition of exchanging rings to that of having a fancy cake with little figurines of the happy couple on top, a lot of the things we take for granted about marriage are weird, if you're properly estranged. But most of these traditions do have background and legitimate reasoning behind them, and oftentimes the real reasoning behind them is weirder and more outdated than we might think.
For example, the white dress on a bride — as well as her veil — signifies that she is a virgin. The tradition doesn't exactly hold quite the same weight now. Another good one is that the tradition of choosing a "best man" comes from a time when men might capture women to be their brides. Grooms would choose their strongest friend to ensure cooperation from the woman and her family. The wedding ring has slightly less crazy roots: it's been worn on the left ring finger since Ancient Roman times, when the romans believed that the vein in that finger led straight to the heart (charming, if inaccurate).
In fact, it's easy to spot strange and confusing traditions in everything we do: shaking hands when we meet a new person (make sure they don't have knives up their sleeves), standing around a candlelit cake and singing on someone's birthday, and dressing up and asking for candy on Halloween, to name just a few. But if you look hard enough, all of these traditions come from somewhere, whether they have real historic meaning or were always a little crazy. Either way, the bit is hilarious.
In "Marriage is an Insane Proposal," Ansari draws attention to just how strange our traditions are in a way that's as charming as it is funny. Look for the rest of Buried Alive once it hits Netflix this November!