Aziz Ansari might have already been a recognizable face when he launched his groundbreaking self-penned comedy show Master of None, but it was his previously unknown real-life parents who stole the show.
Although they might have skyrocketed from obscurity to national treasures in record time, there still isn't that much info about Shoukath and Fatima Ansari out there, but below is everything we know so far about the lovable couple.
Shoukath Ansari - From Colon Doctor To Comedy Legend
The India-born, South Carolina-based gastroenterologist arguably totally eclipsed his son in Master of None and plenty of the stories and anecdotes, especially in the moving "Parents" episode, were directly plucked from his own life story.
Due to his status as an accidental celebrity, there isn't an enormous amount of information floating around the internet about Shoukath, but below are some facts about the natural comic's life and work.
- Shoukath is a doctor who works in the field of gastroenterologist and, along with gathering impressive reviews from his patients online, he also occasionally writes about health for his local paper.
- Shoukath really did work in a zipper factory in India while training as a doctor and many of the flashback scenes are taken from his own personal experiences. The Elder Ansari spoke to Vulture and explained:
"[It takes from] my life story in a sense, you know, how it's a story of the immigrant and how they come here. What the immigrant’s children, the first generation, do for them. That is the theme behind it, and some of the incidents — like how I went to medical school and worked in the zipper factory — most of them are real."
- It's hard to imagine anyone but Shoukath in the role of Aziz's father, but he still had to audition for the park. Shoukath beat 18 other hopefuls in what must have been a totally surreal set of auditions to win the role.
- Despite stereotypes about Indian families pressuring their kids into conventionally well-respected careers, Shoukath always supported Aziz's desire to hurl himself into showbiz, he explained:
"The whole thing is, he came and he asked me, 'Can I do this show business as a permanent thing?' I said, 'If you like it. You have a passion for this, go for it.' If boy comes and says, 'I can do very well,' and he's studying Seinfeld and the other big guys, as long as you can support yourself, go for it. We wished him good luck."
- Shoukah expressed an interest in portraying Aziz's father on screen before he finally succeeded with Master of None, he told Vulture that:
"When 'Parks and Rec' came into production, I saw that in one of the seasons they wanted a father to come in to play a role. I was just joking with Aziz, 'Can I play that role?' He said, 'Are you serious about it?' I said, 'Yeah, give me a chance. I will work on that.' So in fact, I was having a conference in Chicago when he called me and said, 'OK, they want you to play the role of one of the actor's fathers.' I was supposed to go in [to the studio] but the next day he called me and said, 'No they gave it to somebody else.'"
Fatima Ansari - A Reluctant Star Shines Bright
Although Shoukah has expressed an interest in acting back in Aziz Ansari's early Parks & Recreation days, Fatima was much more reluctant to step into the spotlight and it took plenty of persuasion to get her in front of the camera. Due to her more reticent personality, not much is known about Fatima, but below are some facts about her life.
- Fatima Ansari was born and raised in Indian before moving to America after her marriage in 1981.
- Although it's easy to draw parallels between Shoukah and Aziz, Fatima thinks she and her son are very alike, she told Lucky Peach that:
"I think Aziz has lot of my qualities (I hope). I know he loves to cook and entertain friends."
- The feelings of admiration between mother and son are mutual and in the same adorable interview Aziz described her in a way that would make any mom overjoyed:
"My mom’s the nicest, most caring person I have ever met. Also she’s very strong and brave — a personal hero."
- Oh, and Fatima once met Kanye West and, from the looks of it, she enjoyed it quite a lot. So, there you go.
Could Other Family Members Appear In Season 2?
Although he didn't appear on Masters of None in the first season, Aziz does actually have a brother named Aniz who helped him co-write the first season.
Along with writing with his brother and editing books for DC comics, Aniz has a BFA in Photography from the Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia and specializes in surreal portraiture.
Aziz would also like you to know that he met Master P when he was 12. Siblings, eh?
Who is your favorite Master of None character and why?