Lena Waithe (‘Master of None’) chats acting and writing ‘Thanksgiving’ coming out episode ‘autobiographically’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

“I compare it to having to drop a sophomore album after everybody really likes your debut,” divulges Lena Waithe as we chat via webcam (watch the exclusive video above) about the second season of “Master of None.” Created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, this Netflix original series stars Ansari as Dev, a 33-year-old actor in New York struggling with his career and love life. Waithe plays Denise, one of Dev’s best friends. The first season won an Emmy for Best Comedy Writing (Ansari and Yang) and competed for Best Comedy Series, Best Comedy Actor (Ansari), and Best Comedy Directing (Ansari), so expectations for Season 2 were high. As Waithe describes it, “You’re excited to get back in the studio, but you’re also nervous because you don’t wanna mess up.”

In addition to starring, Waithe also co-wrote the episode “Thanksgiving” with Ansari, basing it on her own experiences of coming out to her family. The story takes place over the course of several Thanksgivings, in which we gain insight into Denise and Dev’s friendship through the years, and watch as her mother (Angela Bassett) grows to accept her. “I always tend to write autobiographically,” she reveals. “That’s always when you get the best result, pulling from things you know, pulling from real experiences. I think that’s when people can really connect to the material.”

Waithe has had roles in “The Comeback” and “Transparent,” and can next be seen in Steven Spielberg‘s “Ready Player One,” due for release in 2018. She has written for such shows as “Bones,” “How to Rock,” and the upcoming TV movie “The Chi.” She was also one of the producers on Justin Simien‘s film “Dear White People” (2014). Check out our full interview above for more about her work on “Master of None.”

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Related: Watch our interview with Zach Cowie (‘Master of None’ music supervisor)

Related: Aziz Ansari and more discuss ‘Master of None’ at Netflix Emmy FYSEE event

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