Kumail Nanjiani Bio: In His Own Words – Video Exclusive, News, Photos
Kumail Nanjiani (born February 21, 1978, age 40) is a Pakistani-American actor, comedian and screenwriter. His most famous role is that of Pakistani programmer Dinesh Chugtai on the HBO comedy show Silicon Valley.
He was born in the Pakistani city of Karachi in the province of Sindh and grew up a Shia Muslim, but is reportedly no longer a practicing member of that faith.
When he was 18, he relocated to the United States and enrolled in Grinnell College, a private liberal arts school in Iowa, and ended up graduating in 2001 with a dual degree in philosophy and computer science.
KUMAIL NANJIANI: AGE, RELIGION, EARLY CAREER
Nanjiani began his career as a podcast host: in 2011, he and X-Play staffer Ali Baker started hosting a podcast about video games called The Indoor Kids. After just a few months, Baker left the podcast and Nanjiani’s wife Emily Gordon replaced Baker as co-host.
Nanjiani also played recurring roles on the TNT legal comedy-drama series Franklin & Bash, the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time, as well as the Adult Swim series Newsreaders.
Nanjiani then hosted the Comedy Central stand-up comedy television series The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail with Jonah Ray from 2014 to 2016 (three seasons). Gordon served as a producer and booker for the show.
In July 2014, Nanjiani started a weekly podcast named The X-Files Files, which was meant to start conversations about the popular series The X-Files.
In 2015 and 2016, he starred in Old Navy commercials with Snoop Dogg, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Saturday Night Live cast members Jay Pharoah, Cecily Strong and Nasim Pedrad.
KUMAIL NANJIANI: SILICON VALLEY AND THE BIG SICK
Nanjiani gained fame in April 2014 by playing sarcastic and romantically unsuccessful programmer Dinesh Chutgai on the HBO comedy series Silicon Valley.
His first lead role in a feature film came in 2017, when he starred in and co-wrote (with Gordon) the romantic comedy The Big Sick. Directed by Michael Showalter and produced by Judd Apatow, the movie is based on the true story of how Nanjiani and his wife (played by Zoe Kazan) met and how he bonded with her parents (played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter) while she was in the hospital with a serious illness. The movie, which partly dealt with themes of cultural clashes between Americans and Pakistanis, earned rave reviews. The movie — in which Nanjiani played a fictionalized version of himself, a struggling stand-up comedian — was nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Nanjiani also hosted SNL for the first time on Oct. 14, 2017 with musical guest P!nk.
He also had a voice role in the animated comedy The Lego Ninjago Movie, and minor roles in the comedies Brother Nature (2016) and Fist Fight (2017).
KUMAIL NANJIANI & EMILY GORDON VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: THE BIG SICK
In an exclusive interview with uInterview, Nanjiani and Gordon discussed their movie and how accurate to reality it was, their relationship baggage, and what it was like to work with comedy and screen-acting legends, Ray Romano and Holly Hunter.
The real-life couple, who co-wrote the film together, argued about what percentage of the movie is accurate to reality. Nanjiani said it was about 65% true, whereas Gordon put that figure at around 60%. “If you describe the movie in 10 seconds, then absolutely every part of that is true,” said the latter. “But then we did a lot of changing of characterizations of people, we moved events around, we created events, so I would say 60.” “65,” Nanjiani added, smiling.
Ray Romano also stars in the film as Emily’s father, and the pair say working with him was “awesome.” “I was just really excited to work with him as a comedian, he’s one of the legendary comedians. He was awesome, we still text all the time, we’re friends,” Nanjiani said. With regards to Holly Hunter, who plays Emily’s mother, he added: “She’s a legendary actress, she’s won Oscars, she’s been nominated many times, so I was intimidated, but then when I met her, she’s awesome, generous, and lovely, and giving, so it really was like such a thrill to work with them.”
Nanjiani also said his love of stand-up comedy first started when he was in college.
“I got so obsessed with it that I said to myself, ‘I have to try it at least once,'” he revealed. “If I hadn’t been good at it, I think I would have quit.”
KUMAIL NANJIANI: QUOTES, NET WORTH
Nanjiani has an estimated net worth of $2 million, according to celebritynetworth.com. He and Gordon, a former therapist, have been married since 2007.
On Silicon Valley: “We only hear success stories. You don’t hear about the hundreds and hundreds – the overwhelming majority that don’t go anywhere. This is a more realistic portrayal of what happens in startups.”
“My stories take three or four months to fix, and it’s not magical of a process. Ultimately it’s a boring, difficult process. I write everything out, and then the parts I think are funny I put in bold. Then I go perform it. Then the parts that aren’t funny, I unbold them.”
“The whole religion of Islam is based on reward and punishment and reward and punishment, and it becomes a part of how you think of everything. Even yourself.”
“I thought of America as this crazy, happy, exciting place where everybody’s rich and there’s stuff everywhere. Compared to Pakistan, it’s not untrue.”
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