The religion-focused third episode of this season of Master Of None introduces Navid, who learns about the world of pork products from his cousin Dev, played by series creator Aziz Ansari. Harris Gani is the actor tasked with portraying Navid, but he’s not just any old “Harris.” Rather he’s Ansari’s “chubby cousin Harris” (a.k.a. “little cousin Harris”), who has been a frequent subject of comedy in Ansari’s stand-up and on his Tumblr Aziz Is Bored.
Ansari explained in an interview with Vulture how he ended up casting another member of his family (his real-life mom and dad also star) for the series. ”We had people audition and no one kind of had the charm that Harris had,” he said. “So I just asked Harris if he would do it. And he was down. He’d never acted in anything before.” Gani himself elaborated on the experience on his Instagram account, saying: “Not only was it pretty awesome (and very funny) working with @azizansari and my Aunt and Uncle, but it was also great for my personal growth.”
You might remember Gani from his love of Cinnabon, his college essay, and that time Ansari infiltrated his AP World History Facebook group. You’ll also take note that Gani can no longer be described as “chubby;” in fact, the show makes reference to how “jacked” he is.