Remote Controlled: Aziz Ansari on Taking Big Risks in ‘Master of None’ Season 2

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum talks with Aziz Ansari, the star, creator, and executive producer of “Master of None” about the Netflix show’s second season, which debuts May 12. (Spoiler alert: Don’t listen to this podcast until you’ve watched the whole season.)

It’s been a long wait for fans since the first season of the critically acclaimed show, which debuted in November 2015, and Ansari admits he wanted to make sure the show was worth doing again. “I was very hesitant about even doing the second season,” admits Ansari. “I basically said, let’s never do what we did in season one. I wanted to make sure we were writing from a place of inspiration, and not making the show because we were obligated to.”

Aziz Ansari photographed exclusively for the Variety Remote Controlled podcast
Dan Doperalski for Variety

Explains Ansari, “That’s why we took a long break between seasons…. I think the second is a lot better and more ambitious because of that break.”

His favorite episodes from the first season are “Parents” and “Mornings,” both of which have ambitious ideas behind them.

Along with co-creator Alan Yang, he wanted each episode of the second season to have that kind of power with a “big idea” behind it, that would make people talk. “I think we came close to pulling that off,” he says. “We’re all just better at the show.”

Related Content TV Review: ‘Master of None’ Season 2

The first few episodes of the new season are set in Italy, based on his own experiences living there in a small town, working in a pasta shop and a restaurant. “It started as research for the show, but it became a good thing for Aziz the person as well,” he says. “No one knew who I was. They really didn’t know what I was up to.”

Aziz Ansari photographed exclusively for the Variety Remote Controlled podcast
Dan Doperalski for Variety

Ansari also praises the experience of working with Netflix and the creative freedom that they offer — the season’s first episode, for example, is entirely in black-and-white, a decision they supported. “They give the best version of freedom you can ask for,” he says. “They don’t just give us a check and go away. They’re not crazy.”

Another episode tackles religion, which he wrote with his brother. “I’ve never seen humor that was based on Islam,” he says, “to take what Larry David or Woody Allen does with their Jewish background and do that with our Islamic background. I think we pulled it off.”

You can listen to this week’s podcast here:

New episodes of Remote Controlled are available every Friday.


Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth WarrenSecond 2020

    ABC News Sets Moderators, Rules for Third Democratic Debate

    ABC News has announced the moderators for the third Democratic debate, as well as the qualification rules. The debate will be held on Thursday, Sept. 12, and will spill over to Friday, Sept. 13 if more than 10 candidates qualify. The moderating team will consist of chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, “World News Tonight” anchor and [...]

  • James Corden Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke

    James Corden Got a Little Help From Paul McCartney on His Drive to the Emmys

    Saying “Baby, I could drive your car” has proven to be a very good strategy for James Corden — never more so than when he put Paul McCartney into the highly sought passenger seat. The primetime special “Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney, Live From Liverpool” is a contender in five Emmy categories this year, [...]

  • Starz Logo

    Starz Orders Horror Comedy Pilot 'Shining Vale'

    Starz has put out a pilot order for “Shining Vale,” a horror comedy which hails from “Divorce” creator Sharon Horgan and “Trial & Error” co-creator Jeff Astrof. The prospective series is about a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one [...]

  • Bethenny Frankel at the showtime Emmy

    Bethenny Frankel to Exit 'Real Housewives of New York' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bethenny Frankel is stepping away from the “Real Housewives” franchise. Variety has learned exclusively that Frankel is poised to exit Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York” ahead of its upcoming twelfth season. Frankel first joined the acclaimed reality series back when it premiered back in 2008 before exiting the series in 2010 during the [...]

  • Dolly Parton

    BBC Commissions Dolly Parton Feature Documentary

    The BBC has commissioned a feature length documentary about country music legend Dolly Parton, it announced Wednesday. The documentary, tentatively titled “Dolly’s Country” will air on BBC Two this fall as part of a season of programs dedicated to country music. The broadcaster announced earlier in the day that it had acquired Ken Burns’ upcoming [...]

  • UCP to Develop Ann Shen’s 'Bad

    UCP to Develop Ann Shen’s 'Bad Girls Throughout History' as Anthology Series

    Universal Content Productions (UCP) is developing an anthology series based on Ann Shen’s book “Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World.” The project will be titled “Bad Girls,” with each episode featuring a different influential woman throughout history, including famous figures like Ada Lovelace, Rosa Parks, Mata Hari, and Ruth Bader [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content