Aziz Ansari becomes first Indian American to earn lead Emmy nomination



SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Indian-American comedian Aziz Ansari Thursday made history when he became the first of such to receive  a lead comedy-acting Emmy nomination for his hit Netflix series Master of None.

“I’m very happy but it’s a very specific accomplishment,” he said jokingly in response to the nomination.

Ansari, who was also nominated for writing and directing Master of None, co-created the comedy with Alan Yang and stars as as Dev, an actor trying to make it in New York. The show is up for a Best Comedy Emmy, crystallized diversity challenges in Hollywood in the show’s fourth episode, titled Indians on TV. In the show, Dev auditions for a new TV show called 3 Buddies and is told, sorry, “there can only be one” Indian.

“I think every minority actor runs into that,” Ansari said. “You hear people say things like, ‘Oh, they already got the black guy.’ Or, ‘Oh, they already got their Asian lady.’ It kind of feels like, to minority actors that I’ve spoken with, once they have one (minority actor cast) they’re like, OK, we’ve placated the ‘diversity issue.’ That was coming from a real place.”

“If you’re a minority, you’re experiencing all sorts of casual racism all the time,” he added. “And at a certain point, you just get numb to a lot of it, and you’re like, whatever.”

The cast of Masters of None is massively diverse intentionally, because, Ansari says, he and Yang wanted it to emulate what New York looks and feels like. “We didn’t assign ethnicities to any roles. We really just tried to get the best people, people from different backgrounds,” he says.

Now, he and Yang are in the process of writing season 2, which is scheduled to hit Netflix in April. Last season, “we really just viewed the show as an opportunity we may not get again,” says Ansari. “I told Alan over and over like, this thing where places like Netflix who give you a bunch of money and let you do what you want and be creative,  it’s going to go away at some point. Like, someone’s going to screw it up big time. So we have the chance, let’s make something great. Who knows if we’ll ever get this opportunity again.”

Now, he says, “the challenge is really just trying to beat what we did.”

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