Yang at the 75th Annual Peabody Awards in 2016
|Born||Alan Michael Yang
August 22, 1983
Riverside, California, US
|Known for||Parks and Recreation, Master of None|
Alan Michael Yang (born August 22, 1983) is an American screenwriter, producer and actor. He was a writer and producer for the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, for which he received his first Emmy nomination. With Aziz Ansari, Yang co-created the Netflix series Master of None, which premiered in 2015 to critical acclaim. The series was awarded a Peabody Award, and at the 68th Emmy Awards in 2016, Yang and Anzari won for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for Master of None, which was also nominated in the Outstanding Comedy Series category. Yang also was the screenwriter of the 2014 comedy Date and Switch.
Yang was born and raised in Riverside, California. His parents were originally from Taiwan. His father, Dr. Peter Yang, is a retired OB-GYN from Huwei and his mother was a high school teacher. Yang studied biology at Harvard University and wrote for the college's humor magazine, the Harvard Lampoon. Yang also wrote for "Fire Joe Morgan", a sports journalism blog, under the pseudonym "Junior."
After graduating from Harvard, Yang tried to break into a career in comedy writing—with law school as a fall back. He wrote for Last Call with Carson Daly and contributed to South Park before he landed a job in 2008 as a staff writer for the then-upcoming NBC comedy Parks and Recreation. He was hired six months before the job began, so he wrote two screenplays, White Dad and Gay Dude. White Dad was sold to Sony in 2008 and Gay Dude was on the Hollywood blacklist before being sold to Lionsgate Films in 2011 and was released in 2014 as Date and Switch.
He also wrote the film Date and Switch (2014), directed by Chris Nelson and starring Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Dakota Johnson and more. He also wrote the Funny or Die short, Parks and Recreation is the Wu Tang of Comedy (2010) directed by Dean Holland and Michael Schur, with Parks and Rec stars Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Amy Poehler, as well as RZA and Questlove.
In 2012, Yang started writing a sitcom about a father-son relationship; when Parks and Rec producer Greg Daniels suggested he make the characters Asian, Yang declined as he assumed it would not be successful. On Parks and Recreation, however, he became friends with actor/comedian Aziz Ansari, and the two later co-created Master of None, which debuted November 6, 2015 on Netflix. The series was well received—especially for its diverse cast and subject matter—and earned four Emmy nominations, and Yang and Ansari shared the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Yang and Ansari were also awarded a Peabody Award in May 2016. According to Yang, while topics on the show include racial diversity and racism, the main goal is to be authentic to their life experiences. "We try to do a blend in our show of what we talk about in our real lives," he told Variety in June 2016. "There's an episode or two about being Indian or Asian on TV, about dealing with your parents who are immigrants — but we fall in love, we have work trouble, we have all these other stories that make the characters more well rounded." The second season was released in 2017.
Directing and producing
For Parks and Recreation, he has directed two episodes : "New Beginnings" (2014) (Season 6, Episode 11) and "Swing Vote" (2013) (Season 5, Episode 21). In addition to being a writer on the show and writing 16 episodes (a "written by" credit), Yang has also served as a story editor for 24 episodes and an executive story editor for 6 episodes.
He has additionally served as an Executive Producer for Master of None, as a Co-Executive Producer, Supervising Producer, Producer and Co-Producer on Parks and Recreation, an Executive Producer on Date and Switch (2014), a Consulting Producer on South Park (the episode "Miss Teacher Bangs A Boy" (2006)), a Producer on the Funny or Die short Parks and Recreation is the Wu Tang of Comedy (2010), and as an Associate Producer on Last Call with Carson Daly. He has also served as a consultant for the 2007 MTV Movie Awards.
Yang has appeared as "Chang" (or "Bass Player" or "Alan") on 14 episodes of Parks and Recreation. He also appears in the short film Food Club (2014), directed by Eric Wareheim, and on Kroll Show as a contestant on the episode "Sponsored by Stamps" (2014). He also is a performer on the song "5,000 Candles In The Wind" on two episodes of Parks and Recreation ("Moving Up: Part 2" and "Lil' Sebastian").
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- Fire Joe Morgan: About Us
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