Actor Allusion: The Season 2 finale has a lampshaded example: When Raven-Symoné, as herself, accuses Dev of befriending a sexual harasser, with whom he co-hosts a travel program, Dev tries to make a crack about her not really being able to see into the future. Neither Raven nor her viewers appreciate his That's So Raven reference, with Raven actually name-dropping the show as she declares such.
Actor-Inspired Element: The writers originally intended Denise as a potential love interest for Dev, until Lena Waithe earned the part, and the writers decided Denise's sexuality should match hers.
Actor-Shared Background: Aziz Ansari shares a lot of background traits with Dev, to the point where it's almost easier to list the things that are different: Dev is from New York, whereas Aziz is from South Carolina, Dev started out acting while Aziz started out in stand-up and sketch comedy, and Aziz has obviously had a much more successful career.
Real-Life Relative: Dev's parents are played by Shoukath and Fatima Ansari, Aziz's parents. It's very heartwarming; Shoukath in particular took months of acting classes so he could do a good job. Dev's cousin in "Religion" was played by Aziz's real life cousin (and butt of many jokes in his early stand-up specials), Harris.
Real Life Writes the Plot: This applies to at least one of the flashbacks from "Parents": According to writer Alan Yang, his grandmother really did cook Yang's father's pet chicken for dinner.
Harris Wittels' presence as one of the central members of the show's writing staff was cut short when he tragically died in February of 2015.
Denise's character was initially conceived as a working woman who would've had a Will They or Won't They? dynamic with Dev. When Lena Waithe got recommended for the part, they decided to rewrite the character to be a better reflection of her.
Written by Cast Member: Lena Waithe (Denise) co-wrote "Thanksgiving", the episode about Denise's discovery of her sexual identity and subsequent coming out to her family.