Certainly the reality of having men of color in the writers room, and the inclusion of the perspectives of women, makes a project like Master of None or The Big Sick different from Midnight in Paris (not to mention the fact that neither Ansari nor Nanjiani have ever been accused of abuse).
And Ansari, Nanjiani, and Minhaj are able to follow in the footsteps of black men like Chris Rock, who mentors Ansari and is cited by Minhaj as a hero, as well as South Asian folks like Russell Peters and Mindy Kaling. Take for instance, Master of None’s “Thanksgiving,” directed by Melina Matsoukas and co-written by Lena Waithe about her experiences coming out to her family as a queer black woman.
But what makes it especially notable here is the fact that Kumail is a Pakistani-American man, and when the camera cuts to his face receiving and then expressing love, it upends what we’re accustomed to seeing in most classic movie romances.
In a recent New York Times profile of Nanjiani, producer Judd Apatow explains that The Big Sick “had to be the perfect script to try to get funding.” Though it’s directed by comedy scene veteran Michael Showalter, Apatow suggests that because the romantic comedy focuses on the experiences of an immigrant Muslim comedian in love, it breaks certain rules of the genre and was therefore a harder sell.
Namely, like only a few Apatow-produced films before it (Bridesmaids, Trainwreck) — The Big Sick doesn’t center around a white guy.
Following the May debut of its second season on Netflix, Aziz Ansari’s Master of None is the most talked about romantic comedy on TV right now.
And The Daily Show’s Hasan Minhaj, who hosted the White House Correspondents' Dinner in April, released his own widely praised Netflix comedy special Homecoming King last month, which is itself a romantic comedy of sorts .