I first heard of Netflix’s television series “Master of None” last November when listening to Terry Gross’s Fresh Air program’s fantastic interview with Indian American Aziz Ansari and Taiwanese American co-creator and co-writer Alan Yang.
When Season 1 was released, I quickly binged watch the series and really loved it, especially the one most relevant to the Asian American experience – Episode 2, “Parents.” Master of None has recently been renewed for Season 2 (coming in 2017)
This year at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Festival 2016 (“CAAMFest”), when I saw that there was going to an interview with co-creater Alan Yang and cast member Kelvin Yu (who happen to both be Taiwanese Americans) on Saturday, March 12th, I definitely wanted to attend and I wasn’t disappointed.
Masashi Niwano, CAAMFest Festival & Exhibitions Director and emcee / interviewer (and former 8Asians blogger) Dino-Ray Ramos made some welcoming remarks, then a viewing of “Parents,” then a discussion with Alan & Kelvin facilitated by Dino, and ending with a Q&A session with the audience.
I really enjoyed the event – Alan and Kelvin describing their experience with Master of None, their experiences in the entertainment industry and encouraging Asian Americans to pursue their interests and passions – especially to those aspiring actors and actresses.
Alan addressed a question regarding “Master of None” winning Best Comedy Series at Critics’ Choice Television Awards and his remarks during the acceptance speech:
“Thank you to all of the straight white guys who dominated movies and TV so hard and for so long that stories about anyone else seem kind of fresh and original now.”
Alan said that he had thought about what he was going to say, but didn’t necessarily have them as prepared remarks – it was part of a discussion he was having with an executive producer a few days before.
Alan and Kelvin also expressed their thoughts on the Asian joke by Chris Rock during the recent 2016 Oscars, how they loved Chris Rock, but thought the joke was just bad, and that there was only one joke about Asians – being good at math and hard work, and how that in itself showed the limitations of how Asians are viewed within not only Hollywood, but in American society overall.
There were a lot of other interesting observations and insights that would take a bit of time to summarize, so I encourage you to watch for yourself the interview and Q&A.
By the way, CAAMFest (or when I first moved to the Bay Area – it was known as San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival), is one of the things I love about the Bay Area. I grew up in Western Massachusetts and after college, happened to wind up living at home finding a job close by, then graduate school in North Carolina. Now living in the epicenter in Asian America in California and the Bay Area, I really appreciate CAAMFest while others who grew up here take such festivals for granted!