Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series Master of None managed to pull off what Hollywood considers a miraculous task: a successful show featuring a cast and crew that reflects the real world. Aziz used his Peabody Awards speech on Saturday to take a few shots at the establishment on the issue of diversity.
Master of None’s showrunner Alan Yang got his jokes in first while accepting his Peabody at the awards show, which was hosted by Keegan-Michael Key. Yang referenced the award’s namesake George Foster Peabody in his speech and said, “If you told him that someday an award would be given in his name to an Asian man and an Indian man for creating a show that is magically beamed to people’s computers and phones whenever they want, he definitely would have been very confused and terrified.”
Every awards show should be used as a platform to rag on Hollywood about its whiteness. So, in accepting the Peabody, Aziz thanked Yang: “You know, Alan works behind the scenes, and sometimes people confuse him for the Asian actor Kelvin Yu on our show,” said Ansari. “And so I feel like I can’t overstate how important he is to the show.”
Aziz also acknowledged the corporate powers that helped push Master of None into getting made. “I want to thank Netflix and Universal for believing in us, and letting us tell our stories. I think they really seem to get what diversity really is,” said Aziz. “It’s not, ‘Hey, let’s give this white protagonist a brown friend!’ No. It’s ‘Let’s have a show where there’s a token white guy.’”
Aziz added a final dig at the Oscars. “The Peabody is great because it seems like you guys actually watched all our shit, and decided it was good!” he said. “There was no schmoozing, no weird-ass dinners.”
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