Just above a store called Quality Neon Signs on La Cienega and Sawyer in Los Angeles is a billboard, and now, on that billboard is an Emmy “for your consideration” ad (for Outstanding Guest Actor) for gastroenterologist, Dr. Shoukath Ansari. For this gastroenterologist is, of course, now a widely adored sitcom actor.
Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series Master of None was noted for its casting of Ansari’s actual parents (his mother, Fatima Ansari, also appeared on the show) as his character Dev’s parents. As Entertainment Weekly mentions, Ansari had initially auditioned others to play Dev’s parents, but ultimately decided against using anyone else. Ansari had said on Fallon that he “wanted those characters to feel real, because sometimes when you see immigrant parents on TV and film they are very broad and they’re vehicles for this kind of hacky, ethnic jokes…” He also noted how critics had said singled out his father’s memorable presence, saying:
I asked my parents to do it and my dad and mom agreed and they were fantastic. And I’ve seen reviews where they singled out my dad and go, ‘Oh my god Shoukath Ansari steals the show,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh my god this is not what I wanted to do.'”
After Aziz Ansari and his father appeared on Colbert together, the comedian wrote a long tribute to his parents, and the personal value of working with his them:
My dad took off most of his vacation time for the year to act in Master of None. So I’m really relieved this all worked out. Tonight after we did Colbert together he said: “This is all fun and I liked acting in the show, but I really just did it so I could spend more time with you.” I almost instantly collapsed into tears at the thought of how much this person cares about me and took care of me and gave me everything to give me the amazing life I have.
All of which is to say that that makes this billboard — Ansari’s father’s sudden, (literally) towering presence in Hollywood, and then the fact that Aziz Ansari posted on Twitter — a continuation of the sweetness and optimism of this public familial collaboration.