In 2005, Rolling Stone included him in their annual "Hot List" as their choice for the "Hot Standup", Around the summer of 2005, Ansari began collaborating with fellow comedians Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer (both from the improv troupe Respecto Montalban), as well as director Jason Woliner to make short films.
The first series created by the group was Shutterbugs, which followed Huebel and Ansari as cutthroat child talent agents.
This was followed up by the Illusionators, which starred Ansari and Scheer as Criss Angel–style goth magicians.
In mid-2006, MTV greenlit a sketch series from the group, which debuted April 5, 2007.
The show completed two seasons and the group was offered a third season, but it opted to pursue other opportunities.