Aziz Ansari – The ‘Parks And Recreation’ Comedian On Showbiz Racism And New Show ‘Master Of None’

When Parks and Recreation came to an end earlier this year, TV lost loveable government official and wannabe swagger coach Tom Haverford. Luckily, actor and stand-up comedian who played him – Aziz Ansari – is back with his own new Netflix show Master of None, which begins on November 6. NME spoke exclusively to Aziz to find out what was on his mind when he wrote it.

Babies

Aziz: “Do I ever want to have kids? I don’t know. Having kids is a nightmare but on the other hand what you get out of it is a beautiful experience that is almost universal is that nearly every person experiences at some point. If you dismiss it are you missing out on a big part of life? We’re trying to show every perspective. I don’t have a fucking clue and I think a lot of people feel like that.”

Immigration

“We were talking about what an incredible thing it was that our parents came to America as immigrants. How did they do that? It’s pretty cool. In the episode we have flashbacks to my dad’s old life in India. We built a whole set that looks like 1950s India. It’s very ambitious and not the sort of thing you see in a show with all white people. They were born in Detroit. Done. Journey over.”

Unsafe sex

“There are a lot of sex scenes in the show, which was new for me. There was not a lot of graphic boning in Parks and Recreation. It’s definitely uncomfortable to film but we wanted it to be real. One scene we show what happens when my character is having sex and the condom breaks. It really captures the awkwardness of that moment.”

Friendship

Master of None is not like Parks and Rec, which was a huge ensemble cast. In some episode of the show there’s not always a reason my character and his friends need to be together. Sometimes you don’t see people if they’re not needed.”

Identity Crisis

“The overall ideas are about seeing things from other people’s perspectives and empathy, being curious about the world and indecisive and not knowing what to do with your life.”

Being Aziz Ansari

“Stand up is the only time I’ve got to be me before this. In terms of acting, I’ve not had the same opportunity to make a personal statement. I feel very lucky that I got to make this. It’s totally different and if people don’t connect to it then I know that at least I got to make the show I wanted to. Hopefully that won’t be the outcome though!”

Showbiz racism

“It’s an illusion that the diversity problem in TV is getting better. My character is an actor and he’s auditioning for a role as a cab driver. The director asks him to do an Indian accent and he’s not sure if he wants to do that. He ends up talking to another Indian actor about their experiences and the challenges they face. Sometimes we’re just seen as our ethnicities. When I first started out all I got offered was things like taxi driver or scientist. Things are slowly changing but it’s slow. People think things are so diverse now but shows are still a bunch of white guys and one Asian person they know. They never know any other Asian people!”