“Master of None” launched its first Emmys campaign Wednesday night at Beverly Hills’ Paley Media Center, where the series’ co-creators Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang joined Lena Waithe, Kelvin Yu and executive producer Michael Schur for a screening and intimate panel discussion.
The Netflix comedy, which Ansari also directs and stars in, follows the professional and personal endeavors of Dev (Ansari), a 30-year-old actor living in New York City. The series debuted on the streaming giant in early November and was renewed for a second season earlier this year.
Along with boasting a diverse group of cast and creators, the comedy’s storylines tackle relevant, relatable topics — race, sexuality, dating, immigration and the media’s representation of minorities, to name a few.
“This show is a testament to ‘white people will care about it.’ Everyone can share in everyone’s stories and troubles; it doesn’t matter what you look like,” said Ansari. “Everyone has drama in their lives. Everyone has moments that are hilarious, moments that make you cry. As long as it’s told in an interesting way and it’s well written, I think everyone can get on board.”
The show intertwines those real-world messages with storylines that capture the millennial pressures of adulthood — pressures that Yu defined as “inherently funny.”
“To me that’s where the show is happiest, and that’s what its real sweet spot is — the intersection of the silly, mundane stuff that 30-year-old people go through mixed with the most interesting observations about feminism and race,” said Schur, also the co-creator of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Parks and Recreation.”
The cast’s diversity also translated to the screen, forging a compassionate dynamic in the characters’ relationships with one another.
“This wasn’t a conscious decision, but as we started talking about these stories and breaking these episodes, it became clear that there was kind of a theme of empathy or learning what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. We never wanted to hammer that point home, but it just sort of happened that way,” Yang explained to the audience.
Added Ansari, “To get to do our show and have people respond the way they are just shows me that a show like this can work. There’s a lot of people that should just catch up and give people opportunities.”