Tonight: Master of None Screening and Discussion

Asian Arts Initiative will show the Netflix comedy and host a panel discussion on its social themes.

Aziz Ansari fans who don’t have Netflix will be happy to know they can finally watch (and talk about) the comic’s newest show Master of None this Thursday evening for free.

The Asian Arts Initiative will screen three episodes at its arts space in Chinatown. After the screening, a panel of five writers, educators, and artists will lead a conversation on the show and its social themes.

Master of None — popular and well-reviewed because it’s hilarious and brilliant — explores issues of race with a diverse cast. It was renewed for a second season last month. Ansari, who also produces, writes and directs the show, stars as aspiring actor Dev Shah.

Nancy Chen, program director at the Asian Arts Initiative, wanted to provide a space for people to watch the show communally, and then talk about it. “The show has been very popular among Asian American community,” says Chen. “There’s a different energy when you watch it as a room, and then discuss it with other viewers.”

Peter Feng, one of Thursday night’s panelists and an English professor at the University of Delaware, says the show is revolutionary because it’s creative instead of reactive. “Ansari is very conscious of the trap for politically minded media artists,” says Feng.

What’s the trap?

“If your goal is to create diversity on network television, you’ve lost before you’ve begun,” says Feng. “You have to create something completely new.”

Master of None Screening & Roundtable, Thursday, February 18, 6 p.m., free., at the Asian Arts Initiative in Chinatown North, 1219 Vine Street. More info here.