Kumail Ali Nanjiani (born February 21, 1978) is a Pakistani-American stand-up comedian, actor, podcast host, and writer. He is best known for writing and starring in the romantic comedy The Big Sick (2017) and for being a main cast member on HBO's comedy series Silicon Valley (2014–present). For writing the former with his wife, Nanjiani was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. In 2018, Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Nanjiani at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Kumail Ali Nanjiani
February 21, 1978
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Alma mater||Karachi Grammar School, Grinnell College|
|Occupation||Stand-up comedian, actor, podcast host, writer|
|Known for||The Big Sick, Silicon Valley|
Emily V. Gordon (m. 2007)
|Relatives||Shereen Nanjiani |
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 in the series Portlandia. In film, he has starred in the action film Stuber (2019).
Kumail Nanjiani was born in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, the son of Shabana and Aijaz Nanjiani. He grew up in a religious Sindhi Shia Muslim family. The Scottish radio presenter Shereen Nanjiani is his second cousin.
During his childhood, Nanjiani lived in Karachi and attended St. Michael's Convent School for his O Levels, and graduated Karachi Grammar School to complete his A Levels. At 18, he moved to the United States and attended Grinnell College in Iowa, from which he graduated in 2001. He completed a double major in computer science and philosophy.
2008–2016: Television workEdit
In July 2011, he 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. 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. 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. In late June 2013, Comedy Central announced the pickup of a show The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail hosted by Jonah Ray and Nanjiani. The show, featuring Nerd Melt comedy regulars and various comedians, began airing in July 2014. In April 2014, he began playing the character Dinesh in the HBO sitcom Silicon Valley. He voiced Reggie in the video game The Walking Dead: Season Two. 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. On July 30, 2014, Nanjiani appeared on Ken Reid's TV Guidance Counselor Podcast.TV Guidance Counselor Podcast: TV Guidance Counselor Episode 26: Kumail Nanjiani
In 2015, Nanjiani guest-starred in an episode of Broad City called "In Heat". 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. 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. In July 2015, Nanjiani provided guest voices on Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero. In November 2015, he starred in an Old Navy TV commercial together with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Snoop Dogg. In April 2016, he starred in another Old Navy advertisement with SNL cast members Jay Pharoah, Cecily Strong, and Nasim Pedrad.
2017–present: Breakthrough in filmEdit
In 2017, Nanjiani starred in the romantic comedy film The Big Sick, which he wrote with his wife Emily V. Gordon. 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. The film was also the third highest grossing independent film released in 2017, grossing over 40 million dollars.
In 2019, Najiani 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. Nanjiani has 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".  Nanjiani also stars in the action-comedy Stuber opposite Dave Bautista, which was released on July 12.
In 2020, Nanjiani will lend his voice to Plimpton, an ostrich, in The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle. Additionally, Nanjiani will costar with Issa Rae in The Lovebirds, to be directed by Michael Showalter, who directed The Big Sick, and released by Paramount Pictures. Furthermore, Nanjiani will star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film The Eternals with Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden and Salma Hayek. The Eternals is set to be released on November 6, 2020.
Nanjiana will also write and produce the Apple TV+ anthology series Little America. 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, Najiani appeared at the Apple Event of March 25, 2019.
In 2007, Nanjiani married Emily V. Gordon, an author, comedy producer, and former couples and family therapist in Chicago City Hall. Gordon was the booker and producer of The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail (2014–2016). Nanjiani was raised as a Shia Muslim but is at present not practising and is agnostic.
|Denotes 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|
|2014||The Last of the Great Romantics||George the Counter Guy|
|Hot Tub Time Machine 2||Brad|
|Addicted to Fresno||Damon|
|Hello, My Name Is Doris||Nasir|
|Hell and Back||Dave the Demon (voice)|
|2016||Central Intelligence||Jared the Airport Security Guard||Cameo|
|Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates||Keanu|
|Flock of Dudes||Ro|
|The Late Bloomer||Rich|
|2017||The Big Sick||Kumail Nanjiani||Also writer|
|Fist Fight||Officer Mehar|
|A Happening of Monumental Proportions||HR Rep Perry|
|Funny: The Documentary||Himself|
|The Lego Ninjago Movie||Jay (voice)|
|Men in Black: International||Pawny (voice)|
|The Eternals||Kingo Sunen||Filming|
|2008||Saturday Night Live||Indian Reporter||Uncredited|
Episode: "James Franco/Kings of Leon"
|2009||The Colbert Report||Various characters||2 episodes|
|2009||Michael & Michael Have Issues||Kumail||7 episodes|
|2010||Ugly Americans||Neilando Patel (voice)||Episode: "Treegasm"|
|2011||Traffic Light||Paul||Episode: "Where the Heart Is"|
|2011||CollegeHumor Originals||Vendor||Episode: "Batman Chooses His Voice"|
|2011–2014||Franklin & Bash||Pindar Singh||31 episodes|
|2011–2018||Portlandia||Various characters||13 episodes|
|2012–2016||Adventure Time||Prismo (voice)||7 episodes|
|2013–2015||Newsreaders||Amir Larussa||11 episodes|
|2013||Burning Love||Zakir||17 episodes|
|2013||Drunk History||Lakota Chief||Episode: "Nashville"|
|2013||Ghost Ghirls||Mr. Mattoo||Episode: "I Believe in Mira-ghouls"|
|2014–present||Silicon Valley||Dinesh Chugtai||46 episodes|
|2014||Math Bites||Showoff Guy||Episode: "Math Heads: Do Math in Your Head"|
|2014||The Pete Holmes Show||Dhalsim||Episode: "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||Jordan||Episode: "Hair Swap"|
|2014||Key and Peele||College Kid #1||Episode: "Scariest Movie Ever"|
|2014–2015||Bob's Burgers||Skip (voice)||2 episodes|
|2014–2015||Community||Custodian Lapari||2 episodes|
|2015||Broad City||Benny Calitri||Episode: "In Heat"|
|2015||Archer||Farooq Ashkani (voice)||Episode: "Sitting"|
|2015||Inside Amy Schumer||Juror #11||Episode: "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer"|
|2015||Scheer-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 Leonard||2 episodes|
|2016||The X-Files||Pasha||Episode: "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 Lizard||2 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 Wassan||Episode: "The Comedian"|
|TBA||Little America||—||Executive producer|
|2013||The Walking Dead: Season Two||Reggie|
|2017||Mass Effect: Andromeda||Jarun Tann|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of War||The Agonizer|
|2009||Jake and Amir||Kumail||4 episodes|
|2015||Hunt the Truth||Mshak Moradi |
|2017||Game Grumps||1 episode; on the same episode as Paul Scheer|
|2019||Achievement Hunter||Himself||1 episode|
|2019||Hot Ones||Himself||1 episode|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|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 Screenplay||Nominated|
|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||Self||Won|
|2019||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series||The Twilight Zone||Pending|
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