Aziz Ansari: If every Muslim person you see is from 24 or Homeland, it shapes your opinion

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Master of None, Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang’s incredible Netflix series, is coming back on May 12. I can’t wait as it’s been way too long since we’ve seen that excellent show and the good news is that it’s getting overwhelmingly positive reviews for this second season. New York Magazine has a profile and interview with Ansari that’s well worth reading if you’re a fan or just if you’d like to know more about him. He spent some time in Italy ahead of this season in order to gain experiences for the show, which follows his character’s trip to Italy to find himself. I won’t give you any additional spoilers but be warned that if you haven’t seen the first season and want to avoid spoilers you might want to skip this interview. This isn’t a typical show where spoilers will ruin it for you though. Each episode is complete on it’s own so it’s the rare show you can with that special someone and then not feel like you’re show cheating on them when you watching it without them. (This is an actual concern of mine.) Here’s some of what Aziz told NY Mag:

On how things have changed since Baby Fists was elected:
“Does seeing someone who looks like me starring in a show now mean something different than it did a year ago? Yeah, I would agree with that. But this show is not about, ‘Oh, Aziz is back to give the finger to Trump.’ ”

On his show’s vision of America:
“Look, if there are kind of like these two visions of America, our show definitely takes place in the other America. I mean, there’s one white guy around every now and then. Most of the time, you’re following me, a brown guy, and I’m doing stuff that brown guys don’t do in the other vision of America. I’m not just working in a convenience store serving white people sodas. I’m not part of a sleeper cell. I’m not giving my white friend dating advice and totally inept with women, like, ‘Ooh, I’ve never seen a bra before!’ This show is firmly rooted in the other path the country is headed toward.”

On Muslim representation on TV:
“If every time you see a Muslim person, it’s the f-king guy from 24 or Homeland, yeah, it’s going to shape your opinion of all these peopl. If every time you saw a Muslim person on TV, and it’s my dad, you’ll be like, ‘These goofy people! They’re probably gonna ask me for a bite of my sandwich.’ I don’t think Islamophobic people have hate in their heart. I’m not saying it’s justified, but representation is part of the problem.”

[From Vulture]

Aziz also talked about representation and diversity on his show and he said it was just representative of his friends in general. “When we have dinner with our friends, 40 percent of the people at the table are already going to be an Indian guy or an Asian guy.” Aziz and Alan tackled that issue in season one’s excellent “Indians on TV” episode, and advance buzz on season two is that the “Religion” episode, where Aziz explores his Muslim upbringing, is particularly good.

Vogue Magazine also has a “73 questions” video interview with Aziz. You see inside his house and his style is very midcentury modern, which I love. I want to hang out there, but more than that I want to spend time with Aziz because he’s hilarious. He said that Amy Poehler’s kids call him “turkey sandwich,” which sounds too random to make up, and that he tries to keep his phone far away from him, probably so that he’s not as addicted to it. In the Vulture piece they open with Aziz asking everyone where his phone is. He also shows off his Italian skills in the video, which he learned when he was in Italy. He’s asked about the most amazing gift he’s every received and he says “my kids” but then admits he doesn’t have any. I missed him!

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Photos credit: WENN

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19 Responses to “Aziz Ansari: If every Muslim person you see is from 24 or Homeland, it shapes your opinion”

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  1. Maria F. says:

    on a superficial note – love his house.

    I really enjoy Master of None. The scenes in Italy should be fun.

  2. Chelly says:

    I’ve only ever seen him doing his stand-up, & bits in a movie here & there but never knew he had his own show until now. I find him pretty funny so I’ll definitely give it a watch

  3. fiorucci says:

    Tried to watch his Netflix standup and didn’t love it but may try again. Super excited that MON is back in a week! Brilliant show I’d recommended to anyone :D

    • sanders says:

      I was pretty excited when his series came out. I’m of a similar background and grew up never seeing myself on tv so had high hopes. I didn’t think it was brilliantly funny though some episodes were better than others. I know everyone loved his parents on it but i thought that they should have gotten real actors, particularly the mom, she seems so uncomfortable.
      I liked that the cast is diverse . I did not like the erasure of south asian women.
      I don’t understand why Aziz and Mindy don’t include major south asian characters on their show. They are the show runners. The worst part is Aziz actually had the episode about the one indian per show rule. He should have been honest and stated that his issue is with shows that have one indian male.

      I’ll keep watching because I still think he’s doing something different, even with the shortcomings. He’s inclusive of many identities that we rarely get to see on tv or film.

      • tenniswho says:

        Agree with your analysis!

      • fiorucci says:

        That’s interesting to hear! I didnt realize the erasure at all. But to be fair I don’t recall a bunch of south Asian people in general, it was very mixed, not sure how realistic that is is for NYC. Yes like Mindy he dated a white person (or people?). Unlike mindy (haven’t kept up with her show but plan to finish it) he’s only done one season so maybe that will come. I wonder if “they” think it will alienate white viewers if the romantic interest isn’t white? As a white woman l think I’d still like the show lots- his romance was the least enjoyable part for me. Really liked the friendship and career stuff. We didn’t find every episode funny either but touching and poignant i guess? Entertaining to say the least. (Sorry for the ramble)

  4. Coconut says:

    Adorable! Love MON and this video.

  5. ar_uu says:

    I live in Turkey, being a Turkish person who became a US citizen when he was 25. The only muslim people I see are not on US tv shows. We have just replaced our government system with dictatorship and in two years we will elect our first Islamist dictator! Such joyous times!

    Today saying you are an atheist, gay or even secular can land you in prison in my lovely country.

    No, Mr. American muslim Standup Comic who never actually lived in a muslim country; I know what it means to live in a muslim country, surrounded by people who scream “Allahu Akbar” while lynching journalists, the lgbt community and feminists.

    And I am an American myself. Now moderate and delete this post if you like. My days are numbered anyway, since I have no hope of leaving this hell hole even if I’m a US citizen.

    • sevda says:

      I am a Turkish person who lives in Turkey too. Such obvious lies. This comment proves Aziz Ansari’s point.

    • vauvert says:

      what is stopping you from leaving? As an American citizen, why can’t you move to the US?

      And – sorry but I have close family living in Turkey. We visit every year. Yes the direction Turkey is taking is not good – headed towards the opposite of Ataturk’s vision, but calling it a hellhole is a bit of a stretch. The whole world seems headed to the alt-right and it’s up to everyone everywhere to stand up, protest, use their voice and funds to fight for their li real values, if they have them. I have Muslim friends in both Turkey and Canada and no, I am not afraid they’ll ask me to convert to Islam at there point of a sword.

    • Spaniard says:

      ar_uu is not telling lies and is such a brave person. Last week the turkish government illegally retained and put in jail a spanish citizen and her egyptian girlfriend who were escaping from the girilfriend’s family. It seems that the egyptian girl family, who were muslims living in Dubai, threatened the girls to death and stripped their passports. Luckily spanish diplomacy helped both girls out of the country.

      So if you are atheist, gay or a free journalist, muslim countries can be a hellhole.

      • Tally says:

        I do not know what the girls are telling, but I am pretty sure they were retained because they entered Turkey illegaly, without having a proper visa-actually without having a passport. No country gives you a free pass if you enter illegaly. I am pretty sure they are knowingly or unknowingly destorting the causality -thus the truth- in that case.

    • Des says:

      @ar_uu If only you’d learned to click on stories and read the full article instead of just responding to whatever you think the story might be about. Aziz has nothing to say about Muslim countries. He’s talking about the way Muslims are portrayed in American pop culture and how it’s different from his own experiences growing up Muslim American. He clearly identifies strongly with where he grew up – and that’s the United States. Even if he were to “go back where he came from” so to speak, he’s of Indian origin so he wouldn’t be going back to a Muslim country anyway.

      I highly encourage you to read his interview if you have strong opinions about American Muslims because he has a lot of interesting things to say.

  6. Hollz says:

    I haven’t checked this out yet, but I’m going to!

    I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but everyone should watch Vox’s “Secret Lives of Muslims.” It does an excellent job of showing that Muslims are just people like us “WASPs,” and I feel if more people watched the clips, it could really make a difference especially in communities where the only time a person might see someone of a different race or religion is on shows like 24.

  7. kay says:

    this article is fantastic.
    excellent read from an intelligent and funny dude.