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The best new TV comedy this fall isn't actually on TV. Well, not exactly … unless you stream Netflix onto your television.
Aziz Ansari is back in "Master of None," a downright hilarious 10-part comedy that begins streaming on Friday. He said he's playing a guy who is "fictionalized version" of himself.
"I don't think this guy is exactly like me," Ansari said, "but there's definitely things in there that are versions of things that have happened to me."
Ansari stars as Dev, an aspiring actor whose success has to date has pretty much been limited to a yogurt commercial. He's 30 years old and he's sort of drifting hanging out with his friends, not really sure where he's going.
Pretty much where Ansari would be if he hadn't found success as a stand-up comedian and as a member of the "Parks and Recreation" cast.
Ansari teamed up with "Parks" writer/producer Alan Yang they're the creators/executive producers of "Master of None." And they're both drawing on their lives for the show.
They considered putting Dev in an office. "Then, at a certain point, we were, like I don't know what that world is," Ansari said. "But if he's an actor, I know that world a little bit. And we can do that and write that well and draw from our own experience of being on sets and things like that.
"This is the first thing I've done acting-wise where it's felt as personal to me as stand-up."
"Master of None" is very much in the style of "Louis," except it is funnier. Really. It's far less about drama and more about comedy.
This is a show for adults, about adults. In the first episode, Dev is making love to a woman he's just met and his condom breaks … so the two head off to the drug store to make sure she doesn't get pregnant.
Just what you want to do on a first date buy the Plan B contraceptive. But what are you gonna do?
"Now two people who barely know one another won't be raising a kid together," Dev says.
While waiting, Dev imagines what his life would have been like if he was a husband and father in an idealized TV-style family. And any time children are involved, life is less than idyllic.
In the second episode, Ansari's parents who are not actors guest star as Dev's parents. Dad is sort of the immigrant version of Frank Barone in "Everybody Loves Raymond," and it's very funny stuff.
Dev is very likable. He's sort of drifting, but he's not lost. And he's not annoying.
"I think this guy is, like, in his early 30s, and he's doing pretty good," Ansari said. "He's fine. He's got a job. He's got good friends. He's pretty good. But I feel like there's this period of your life, kind of, where you realize 'Oh (expletive)! Like, I'm an adult now. Like, what I'm doing now that's me. Like, I'm grown. Like, whatever, this is it.' And that's, like, kind of a scary moment.
"And you realize there's really big decisions about, like, am I ever going to have kids? Am I going to get married?"
"It's possible to have anxiety about these really big decisions and not know which direction to go and not necessarily be a man child. Be super immature," Yang said. "He's not he's not completely stunted developmentally, but he is having problems making up his mind about these decisions because they are difficult decisions to make."
The difficult life decisions make for some great comedy. "Master of None" is a winner.