Kumail Nanjiani

Last updated

Kumail Nanjiani
Kumail Nanjiani by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Nanjiani at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Born1977/1978(age 42–43) [1] [2]
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
  • Pakistani
  • American
Education Grinnell College
  • Comedian
  • actor
  • screenwriter
Years active2008–present
(m. 2007)
Relatives Shereen Nanjiani (cousin)

Kumail Ali Nanjiani ( /kʊˌmɛlnɑːnɪˈɑːni/ ; [3] born 1977 or 1978) [1] [2] is a Pakistani-American comedian, actor, screenwriter, and podcaster primarily known for his role as Dinesh in the HBO comedy series Silicon Valley (2014–2019) and for co-writing and starring in the romantic comedy film The Big Sick (2017). For co-writing the latter with his wife, Emily V. Gordon, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. In 2018, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. [4]


Nanjiani has also voiced Prismo on the animated series Adventure Time and starred in the TNT series Franklin & Bash and the Adult Swim series Newsreaders . He also co-hosted the Comedy Central show The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail , as well as playing various roles on the comedy series Portlandia. He also starred in the action film Stuber (2019).

Early life

Nanjiani was born in 1977 or 1978 and grew up in Karachi, [1] the first of two sons of Sindhi couple Shabana and Aijaz Nanjiani. [5] Nanjiani was raised as a Muslim, [6] though he later became an atheist. [7] Scottish Pakistani radio presenter Shereen Nanjiani is his second cousin. [8] [9] [10] During his childhood, he lived in Karachi and attended St. Michael's Convent School for his O Levels and graduated from Karachi Grammar School to complete his A Levels, where he was the class-fellow of Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. At 18, he moved to the U.S. and enrolled at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, where he graduated in 2001 with a double major in computer science and philosophy. [2] [11] [12]


Nanjiani in January 2017 Kumail Nanjiani in 2017.jpg
Nanjiani in January 2017

In 2011, Nanjiani and X-Play staffer Ali Baker began hosting a video game-themed podcast, titled The Indoor Kids . In late August of the same year Baker left the show and Nanjiani began hosting with his wife, Emily V. Gordon. [13] Until other commitments took over, he appeared regularly on Dan Harmon's podcast Harmontown , where he played Dungeons & Dragons with Harmon as a character named Chris de Burgh. He played a delivery man in the 2013 film, The Kings of Summer . [14] In addition to guest-starring in various comedy shows like Portlandia , Nanjiani was featured in a supporting role in the TNT series Franklin & Bash . He played the role of Pindar Singh, an agoraphobic fiction nerd working for the title characters.

Nanjiani guest-starred on HBO's Veep as a statistician. He had a recurring role of Amir Larussa on Newsreaders , as well as Prismo on Adventure Time . His Comedy Central special titled Beta Male aired in July 2013. [15] In late June 2013, Comedy Central announced the pickup of a show The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail hosted by Jonah Ray and Nanjiani. [16] The show, featuring Nerd Melt comedy regulars and various comedians, began airing in July 2014. [17] In April 2014, he began playing the character Dinesh in the HBO sitcom Silicon Valley . [12] He voiced Reggie in the video game The Walking Dead: Season Two . [18] In July 2014, Nanjiani hosted a weekly podcast titled The X-Files Files, dedicated to discussion and fond reminiscences about The X-Files . Each episode features him and a guest, including former The X-Files writers, producers, actors and directors, in light-hearted banter about one or two episodes of the series. [19] [20] On July 30, 2014, Nanjiani appeared on Ken Reid's TV Guidance Counselor Podcast. [21]

In 2015, Nanjiani guest-starred in an episode of Broad City called "In Heat". [22] Starting on March 22, 2015 he provided his voice for the character of Mshak Moradi in the Hunt the Truth audio drama, part of the marketing campaign for Halo 5: Guardians . [23] On May 5, 2015, he appeared on Inside Amy Schumer in the episode "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer", a parody of 12 Angry Men , as one of the members of the jury. [24] In July 2015, Nanjiani provided guest voices on Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero . [25]

In 2017, Nanjiani starred in the romantic comedy film The Big Sick , which he wrote with his wife Emily V. Gordon. [26] The film is about their relationship, with Nanjiani playing himself and Zoe Kazan playing Gordon (renamed Emily Gardner). The film was one of the most acclaimed films of 2017, and was chosen by American Film Institute as one of the top 10 films of the year and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. [27] [28] The film was also the third highest grossing independent film released in 2017, grossing over 40 million dollars. [29]

In 2019, Nanjiani headlined the first episode of the CBS All Access revival of the anthology series The Twilight Zone. For his role on The Twilight Zone, Nanjiani received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. In film, Nanjiani voiced the alien Pawny in Men in Black International , which was released on June 14. [30] [31] [32] Nanjiani stated, "I play an alien so you won't see my face but you'll hear my voice, I'm a little alien frog/lizard... thing." [33] Nanjiani also stars in the action-comedy film Stuber , released on July 12. [34] [35] In 2020, Nanjiani lent his voice to Plimpton, an ostrich, in the adventure comedy film Dolittle . [36] He also wrote for and produced the Apple TV+ anthology series Little America , which premiered in January 2020. The series is based on the story collection of the same name from Epic Magazine which focuses on stories from immigrants. To promote the series, Nanjiani appeared at the Apple Event of March 25, 2019. [37] [38]

In March, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon launched a podcast, Staying In with Emily and Kumail. [39] The series chronicles their experiences as a couple forced to live in isolation during the global pandemic. The podcast has been widely acclaimed in the media, as a welcome respite during a period of high anxiety. [40] GQ described it as "consistently endearing, actually useful, and often hilarious." [41] New York magazine relates that "all advice is shared via cute and charming banter." [42]

Nanjiani starred with Issa Rae in the comedy-chase film The Lovebirds , directed by Michael Showalter, produced by Paramount Pictures, and released by Netflix in May 2020. [43]

Upcoming projects

Nanjiani will star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Eternals . [44] Eternals is set to be released on November 5, 2021, with Nanjiani playing Kingo Sunen. In February 2020, Nanjiani signed on to star in The Independent, a political thriller to be directed by Amy Rice. [45]

Personal life

In 2007 at Chicago City Hall, Nanjiani married author, producer, and former couples and family therapist Emily V. Gordon. [46] She was the producer of The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail (2014–2016). [47] In an interview with The A.V. Club, he described his journey from being a devout Muslim to an atheist. [7]


Dagger-14-plain.pngDenotes films that have not yet been released


2010 Life as We Know It Simon
2012 The Five-Year Engagement Pakistani Chef
2013 The Kings of Summer Gary the Delivery Guy
Hell Baby Cable Guy
Bad Milo Bobbi
2014The Last of the Great RomanticsGeorge the Counter Guy
Sex Tape Punit
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Brad
Addicted to Fresno Damon
Hello, My Name Is Doris Nasir
Hell and Back Dave the Demon (voice)
Goosebumps Foreman
2016 Central Intelligence Jared the Airport Security GuardCameo
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Keanu
Brother Nature Riggleman
Flock of Dudes Ro
The Late Bloomer Rich
2017 The Big Sick Kumail NanjianiAlso writer
Fist Fight Officer Mehar
A Happening of Monumental Proportions HR Rep Perry
Funny: The DocumentaryHimself
The Lego Ninjago Movie Jay (voice)
2018 Duck Butter Jake
2019 Stuber Stu Prasad
Men in Black: International Pawny (voice)
2020 Dolittle Plimpton (voice)
The Lovebirds Jibran
2021 Eternals Dagger-14-plain.png Kingo Sunen Post-production


2008 Saturday Night Live Indian ReporterUncredited
Episode: "James Franco/Kings of Leon"
2009 The Colbert Report Various characters2 episodes
2009 Michael & Michael Have Issues Kumail7 episodes
2010 Ugly Americans Neilando Patel (voice)Episode: "Treegasm"
2011 Traffic Light PaulEpisode: "Where the Heart Is"
2011CollegeHumor OriginalsVendorEpisode: "Batman Chooses His Voice"
2011GoogyDwayne6 episodes
2011–2014 Franklin & Bash Pindar Singh31 episodes
2011–2018 Portlandia Various characters13 episodes
2012–2016 Adventure Time Prismo (voice)7 episodes
2013–2015 Newsreaders Amir Larussa11 episodes
2013 Burning Love Zakir17 episodes
2013 Veep StatisticianEpisode: "Midterms"
2013 Drunk History Lakota ChiefEpisode: "Nashville"
2013 Ghost Ghirls Mr. MattooEpisode: "I Believe in Mira-ghouls"
2014–2019 Silicon Valley Dinesh Chugtai53 episodes
2014Math BitesShowoff GuyEpisode: "Math Heads: Do Math in Your Head"
2014 The Pete Holmes Show DhalsimEpisode: "Erin Hamlin and Kate Hansen"
2014–2016 The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail Himself (host)24 episodes
2014 TripTank Dick Genie (voice)4 episodes
2014 Garfunkel and Oates JordanEpisode: "Hair Swap"
2014 Key and Peele College Kid #1Episode: "Scariest Movie Ever"
2014–2015 Bob's Burgers Skip (voice)2 episodes
2014–2015 Community Custodian Lapari2 episodes
2015 Broad City Benny CalitriEpisode: "In Heat"
2015 Archer Farooq Ashkani (voice)Episode: "Sitting"
2015 Inside Amy Schumer Juror #11Episode: "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer"
2015Scheer-RL Mariah Carey Episode: "Mariah Carey"
2015 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Cuteling Mayor (voice)Episode: "The Ripple Effect"
2015 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Frylock's bees (voice)Episode: "Sweet C"
2015 The Grinder Prosecutor Leonard2 episodes
2016 The X-Files PashaEpisode: "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster"
2016 Animals. Rusty (voice)Episode: "Dogs."
2016 31st Independent Spirit Awards Himself (host)Television special
2016–2017 HarmonQuest Eddie Lizard2 episodes
2017 Saturday Night Live Himself (host)Episode: "Kumail Nanjiani/Pink"
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race Himself (judge)Episode: "Drag Con Panel Extravaganza"
2019 The Twilight Zone Samir WassanEpisode: "The Comedian" [48]
2019–present Bless the Harts Jesus Christ (voice)Series regular
2020 Little America Executive producer
2020 Kal Penn Approves This Message HimselfEpisode: "Kal Penn Approves Education"
2020 Death to 2020 Bark MultiverseTelevision special

Video games

YearTitleVoice role
2013 The Walking Dead: Season Two Reggie
2017 Mass Effect: Andromeda [49] Jarun Tann
Middle-earth: Shadow of War The Agonizer


2009 Jake and Amir Kumail4 episodes
2015 Hunt the Truth Mshak Moradi [50]
2013–2017 Harmontown Himself
2017 Game Grumps 1 episode; on the same episode as Paul Scheer
Movie Fights
2019 Achievement Hunter Himself1 episode
2019 Gay of Thrones Himself1 episode; "Gay Of Thrones S8 E4 Recap"
2019 Hot Ones Himself1 episode

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
2017 Academy Awards Best Original Screenplay The Big Sick Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Actor in a Comedy Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society Best ScreenplayNominated
Best EnsembleNominated
Kanbar Award for Storytelling Won
Gotham Awards Best Screenplay Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best First Screenplay Won
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Silicon Valley Nominated
San Diego International Film Festival Auteur Award SelfWon
2019 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series The Twilight Zone Nominated

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