Aziz Ansari Pens a Touching Tribute to His Father

12 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Aziz Ansari Has A Very Good Dad.

By now you may have heard that Aziz Ansari’s real-life mom and dad act alongside him as his TV parents in his new Netflix series, Master of None. They steal the show, in fact, and you can tell Aziz is eating it up, because last night he shared the Late Show With Stephen Colbert stage with his dad. Tonight after we did ‘Colbert’ together he said: ‘This is all fun and I liked acting in the show, but I really just did it so I could spend more time with you.'” “I almost instantly collapsed into tears at the thought of how much this person cares about me and took care of me and gave me everything to give me the amazing life I have. Ansari and co-creator Alan Yang tapped Zach Cowie, primarily a DJ and freelance record producer who says he’s “watched The Wire, and that’s it,” to be the show’s music supervisor, and the show blends the modern tastes of Ansari’s character, Dev, with an astounding array of vintage tunes to illustrate his cultural heritage. “What I love about supervision is how right the right idea is versus how wrong everything else is, once you see it,” Cowie says. “You know in a f–king second if it moves or not.” Cowie gives Ansari plenty of credit for Master of None’s soundtrack, saying the two went “song for song” on the show. “He was really involved and we talked every day for months,” Cowie says.

I felt like a total piece of garbage for all the times I haven’t visited my parents and told them I wanted to stay in New York cause I’d get bored in SC.” “I’m an incredibly lucky person and many of you are as well. Not to beat a dead horse here and sorry if this is cheesy or too sentimental but if your parents are good to you too, just go do something nice for them. Ansari recounts his hopes that son Aziz would become a doctor, before the younger Ansari admitted that what he really wanted to do was be a stand-up comedian, a concept Dr.

Dev’s jab relies on a simple premise—a hiking-obsessed, East Coast-bred lawyer named Dylan is probably Caucasian—but it also seems to veil a familiar insecurity, a subterranean fear that brown men are less desirable to women than their white counterparts. In fact, he found that working with his own parents, Shoukath and Fatima Ansari, on the episode brought the family together. “In reality, I haven’t always had the best, most open relationship with my parents because we are weirdly closed off emotionally sometimes,” he wrote. “But we are getting better. And if you have something like that with your family — I urge you to work at it and get better because these are special people in your life and I get terrified when my dad tells me about friends of his, people close to his age, that are having serious health issues, etc.” When the Los Angeles Times spoke with Ansari before the debut of “Master of None,” he spoke of the importance of casting Dev’s parents. “Every time I see Indian parents portrayed on film or TV, they’re not three-dimensional, they’re excuses for hacky ethnic jokes. Ansari, a comic whose career has largely consisted of roles in which his ethnicity has been incidental, has leveled up to leading man with surprising aplomb, converting his motor-mouthed wise-guy persona into something more capacious and endearing.

But before his father joined him on stage for his “Late Show” interview, Ansari spoke with fellow South Carolinian Stephen Colbert about diversity, joking that Colbert inviting him on CBS was about as diverse as the network gets. The past few years have seen a surge in South Asian–led programming—Kunal Nayyar in The Big Bang Theory, Mindy Kaling in The Mindy Project, Priyanka Chopra in Quantico—but none of these shows is about Indian-Americanness per se. If you are a lover of music you really limit the experience by putting a genre tag on everything, because the more you dig, the more you find out that everything informs everything. I think there comes a point in a lot of people’s lives when they realize that their parents are secretly awesome, and that they actually want to hang out with them by choice. Instead of catering to an abstract ideal of representation, the show trades in the shaggy compromises and fluctuating truths of the minority experience in America.

Something that was important with us with this entire show was to make something that represents right now but will also look alright in a couple years. The two meet for coffee shortly after, and what follows is something rarely seen on TV: a frank conversation between two people of color about the pros and cons of peddling stereotypes.

It was a happy coincidence that that script showed up and I was like, “Oh, I know what to do with this one.” In the weirdest way, I hope those songs can sit next to the other ones in this way that it all still works. Ravi offers a simple rationale—he needs work, many cab drivers do have accents—but Dev pushes back, intent on proving that a brown male can get the same sort of everyman roles that Bradley Cooper dines on. In the beginning of that episode, Dev is in a bar with his friends and Madvillain’s “Accordion” is playing in the background — and it totally coexists with the country music. It doesn’t want to make a point about how terrible people can be—that sort of self-congratulatory storytelling can quickly flatten minority characters into helpless victims of discrimination. When weighing Busta and Shannon’s thoughts, one wonders: Is there a current here, too, related to the privilege Asian-Americans enjoy compared to other minorities?

And it’s not averse to hard, uncomfortable answers: After Danvers treats him to a Knicks game, Dev decides to take that Friends money and comply with the network’s one-Indian terms. In one episode, he struggles with a classic first-generation hang-up: The guilt of never being as competent, as persevering and self-sacrificing and generous, as his immigrant parents. The closing scene of “Indians on TV” features three brown men in the frame, none of them emasculated, all of them equipped with intricate, disparate, full-fledged personalities. It’s a half-funny, half-terrifying feeling, the realization that a small triumph of representation is having an outsize impact on your emotional state. Three episodes later — for the episode that focuses on feminism — you use another fascinating cover, The Slits’ version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” Could you tell me about choosing that song?

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