Aziz Ansari’s Unique Emmy Experience



Aziz Ansari, stand-up comedian, author, and actor whose stock has been rising in Hollywood over the past few years, won the Emmy for “Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series,” Sept. 18 in Los Angeles. Ansari had four nominations to his credit. The series “Master of None” was nominated for Best Comedy Series, and Ansari was nominated for three, Best Acting, Best Directing, and the one he won for Outstanding Writing.

We might never have known what Ansari would have said on the stage when he received the Emmy joined by his co-writer Alan Yang, for writing the script for the episode “Parents” on his Netflix original, Master of None, series. Yang hogged all the time for the thank-you speech. Ansari ran off the stage, tried coming back and then gave up in embarrassment and bolted.

It raised a hue and cry on Twitter with famous TV commentators and writers expressing disappointment at the faux pas, and criticizing the Emmy organizers for not giving some extra time for Ansari to speak.

The voice of the millennial generation, particularly 2nd generation immigrant youth, and particularly, the Indian-American community, was ironically silenced – for the moment. Later, when presenting another award, Ansari had his say both onstage and thanks to social media, on Facebook, short and sweet. He posted a photo of his parents Fatima and Shoukath Ansari, at the awards ceremony, and said, “Just wanted to thank these guys for giving me everything and more! #Emmy.”  

“That’s a very bad moment for the Emmys. How the hell do you not give Aziz Ansari a chance to speak?” cried out Scott Feinberg, columnist for The Hollywood Reporter, on Twitter. A shocked Andrea Mandell, ….., said, “They cut off Aziz! He ran back up to the microphone to talk but was given no sound #rude #emmys.”

Pissed that they cut your speech off! Considering that it meant so much to you and so many other mixed families in this country. But so happy for you Azis!” adding several heart emojis, one of his fans, Kayla Aparicio-Koder said on Facebook.

Your win for “Parents” feels like a win for me. Thank you for using your platform to create awareness of the beautifully unique journey it is to be a first generation South Asian American,” said an Indian-American fan Seema Anand.

Later while presenting an award, Ansari cracked up the audience with his jokes about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, whom he has criticized for anti-Muslim rhetoric and xenophobia. Ansari’s parents, who played his mother and father in, Masters of None, are Muslim.

“After careful consideration, I have decided I’m going with Trump – which is also why I’m recommending we get rid of all Muslim and Hispanic nominees from the ceremony immediately,” he said, adding, “This would be so much easier if we were at the Oscars,” taking a jab at the all-white Oscars this year. He then noted that his parents were present in the hall, and asked that they be escorted from the building.

Ansari’s award is all the more significant because it is among the strongest voices for diversifying Hollywood. His Netflix series, Master of None’s predominant message.

Starting out as a stand-up comedian, the South Carolina-born Ansari, began pulling packed audiences in large venues like Madison Square Garden, with his exclusive brand of mainstream humor combined with some ethnic messaging which set him apart from some of the other famous veteran comedians like Indo-Canadian Russell Peters’ overwhelmingly ethnic imitations, or another rising star Hari Kondabolu’s fearless, cutting-edge political broadsides.

Ansari and Yang were competing for the Emmy against Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan of “Catastrophe;” Dan O’Keefe and Alec Berg, for “Silicon Valley” the series which includes Pakistani-American actor Kumail Nanjiani; David Mandel for “Veep” the series that walked off with numerous Emmy’s; and Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck, also for “Veep.”

Ansari, 33, was born in Columbia, South Carolina. His parents hail from Tamil Nadu. A graduate from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Ansari studied at the South Carolina Governor’s High School of Science and Mathematics, and went to high school at Bennetsville Academy, in his home town of Bennetsville.

Beginning on television with an unusual monicker, Tom Haverford, in Parks & Recreation which ran from 2009 to 2015, Ansari has occasionally played a slacker. He did some small parts in “I Love You, Man” and “Funny People in 2009,” and in 2010 in “Get Him To The Greek.” In 2011, he co-starred in “30 Minutes Or Less.” As Parks and Recreation went off the air, Ansari launched his own highly acclaimed Netflix series, Master of None. The much-anticipated second season of Master of None begins this September. Earlier this year, Ansari traveled to Tamil Nadu, and has in interviews noted he is a foodie, and that is evident from his Facebook postings during his India trip. The second series is expected to feature some of these experiences in India.