Kumail Nanjiani

“There are moments where I force myself to confront what I’m terrified of, which is how I felt with Welcome To Chippendales. Every single time I’ve shot something, I’ve found a way into the character.

-Kumail Nanjiani, episode 307 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Today, we’re joined by actor, writer, and comedian, Kumail Nanjiani! We discuss his new series, Welcome to Chippendales, playing real-life entrepreneur Steve Banerjee (4:39), his fascination with American culture growing up in Pakistan (11:45), moving to America as a teenager (17:23), and performing standup as a college student in Des Moines (22:21).

On the back-half, Nanjiani describes performing in Chicago in 2006 (26:17), his family-inspired solo act, Unpronounceable (31:46), and how he and Emily Gordon captured their personal events in the acclaimed film, The Big Sick (35:12). To close, we walk through his dramatic pivot in films like Eternals and Obi-Wan Kenobi (41:55), the aftermath of that transformation (45:58), and how he continues to tell rich and complex immigrant stories through Little America and now, Welcome to Chippendales (53:37).

Original illustration by Krishna ShenoiReference image by Brian Bowen Smith.

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