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Kumail Ali Nanjiani (born February 21, 1978)[1][2] 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.[3]

Kumail Nanjiani
Kumail Nanjiani by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Nanjiani at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Kumail Ali Nanjiani

(1978-02-21) February 21, 1978 (age 41)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, United States
Alma materKarachi Grammar School, Grinnell College
OccupationStand-up comedian, actor, podcast host, writer
Years active2008–present
Known forThe Big Sick, Silicon Valley
Emily V. Gordon (m. 2007)
RelativesShereen Nanjiani
(second cousin)

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).


Early lifeEdit

Kumail Nanjiani was born in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, the son of Shabana and Aijaz Nanjiani.[4] He grew up in a religious Sindhi Shia Muslim family.[5] The Scottish radio presenter Shereen Nanjiani is his second cousin.[6][7][8]

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.[1][9][10]


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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] In late June 2013, Comedy Central announced the pickup of a show The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail hosted by Jonah Ray and Nanjiani.[14] The show, featuring Nerd Melt comedy regulars and various comedians, began airing in July 2014.[15] In April 2014, he began playing the character Dinesh in the HBO sitcom Silicon Valley.[10] He voiced Reggie in the video game The Walking Dead: Season Two.[16] 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.[17][18] 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".[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] In July 2015, Nanjiani provided guest voices on Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero.[22] In November 2015, he starred in an Old Navy TV commercial together with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Snoop Dogg.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25][26] The film was also the third highest grossing independent film released in 2017, grossing over 40 million dollars.[27]

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.[28][29][30] 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". [31] Nanjiani also stars in the action-comedy Stuber opposite Dave Bautista, which was released on July 12.[32][33]

Upcoming projectsEdit

In 2020, Nanjiani will lend his voice to Plimpton, an ostrich, in The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle.[34] 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.[35] Furthermore, Nanjiani will star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film The Eternals with Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden and Salma Hayek.[36] 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.[37][38]

Personal lifeEdit

In 2007, Nanjiani married Emily V. Gordon, an author, comedy producer, and former couples and family therapist in Chicago City Hall.[39] Gordon was the booker and producer of The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail (2014–2016).[40] Nanjiani was raised as a Shia Muslim but is at present not practising and is agnostic.[41]


  Denotes films that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes
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
2014 The Last of the Great Romantics George the Counter Guy
Sex Tape Punit
2015 Loaded Reza
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 Guard Cameo
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Keanu
Brother Nature Riggleman
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)
2018 Duck Butter Jake
2019 Stuber Stu Prasad
Men in Black: International Pawny (voice)
2020 Dolittle   Plimpton (voice) Post-production
The Lovebirds   Eric Post-production
The Eternals   Kingo Sunen Filming


Year Title Role Notes
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 Googy Dwayne 6 episodes
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 Veep Statistician Episode: "Midterms"
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"[42]
TBA Little America   Executive producer

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Voice role
2013 The Walking Dead: Season Two Reggie
2017 Mass Effect: Andromeda[43] Jarun Tann
Middle-earth: Shadow of War The Agonizer


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Jake and Amir Kumail 4 episodes
2015 Hunt the Truth Mshak Moradi [44]
2013–2017 Harmontown Himself
2017 Game Grumps 1 episode; on the same episode as Paul Scheer
Movie Fights
2019 Achievement Hunter Himself 1 episode
2019 Hot Ones Himself 1 episode

Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ a b Konigsberg, Eric (October 30, 2009). "It's Not a Bad Time to Be Funny in the City". The New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  2. ^ "Twitter / TVsJonDore: Happy Birthday Kumail Nanjiani!!". Twitter. February 21, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  3. ^ "The 100 Most Influential People in the World". Time. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  4. ^ Marantz, Andrew (May 1, 2017). "Kumail Nanjiani's Culture-Clash Comedy" – via
  5. ^ Nanjiani, Kumail. "For Comedian Kumail Nanjiani, Getting Personal Is Complicated".
  6. ^ Nanjiani, Shereen (September 1, 2012). "Extended Interview with Kumail Nanjiani". Shereen. BBC Radio Scotland. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  7. ^ Allison, Kevin (February 11, 2013). "Live From San Francisco!". Risk!. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  8. ^ "Interview: Kumail Nanjiani Explains Pakistani Culture (Full Interview)". June 28, 2017.
  9. ^ "Interview with Comedian Kumail Nanjiani '01". Grinnell College. September 22, 2010. Archived from the original on March 18, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  10. ^ a b Kavner, Lucas (April 4, 2014). "'Silicon Valley,' a Comedy Central project and a killer bidet joke: Kumail Nanjiani has it all". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  11. ^ Baker, Ali; Nanjiani, Kumail (July 15, 2012). "#1 Steve Agee". The Indoor Kids. Nerdist Industries. Archived from the original on May 4, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  12. ^ "The Kings of Summer Red-Band Trailer". May 20, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  13. ^ Sims, David (July 23, 2013). "Kumail Nanjiani: Beta Male". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  14. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (June 20, 2013). "Comedy Central Greenlights 'The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  15. ^ "The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail". Archived from the original on July 1, 2014. Retrieved June 29, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  16. ^ Casey, Dan (May 13, 2014). "Game Review: The Walking Dead Season 2: In Harm's Way". Nerdist Industries. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  17. ^ Eakin, Marah (June 9, 2014). "Kumail Nanjiani to take on every episode of The X-Files in new podcast". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  18. ^ "The X-Files Files". iTunes. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  19. ^ Cruz, Lenika (January 14, 2015). "Bed, Bath, and Bong Rips: The Glorious Return of Broad City". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  20. ^ Xbox Wire Staff (May 17, 2015). "Halo 5: Guardians #HuntTheTruth – Has the Master Chief Gone AWOL?".
  21. ^ Holmes, Linda (May 6, 2015). "Amy Schumer Puts Her Own Looks On Trial". Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  22. ^ "New Listings for Disney XD – July 2015". The Disney Driven Life. June 30, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  23. ^ Liviu Marica. "Old Navy: Snoopin' Around featurig Snoop Dogg". Daily Commercials. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  24. ^ Winfrey, Graham (January 22, 2017). "Amazon Wins 'The Big Sick' Bidding War $12 Million Buy Sundance 2017". IndieWire. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  25. ^ "AFI Awards 2017". AFI. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  26. ^ "Oscars: 'Shape of Water' Leads With 13 Noms". The Hollywood Reporter. January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  27. ^ Erbland, Kate. "The 20 Highest Grossing Indies of 2017 (A Running List) – IndieWire". IndieWire. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  28. ^ "'Men in Black' Movie Spin-Off Adds 'Jurassic' Actor to Cast (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  29. ^ Busch, Anita (January 18, 2018). "'Men In Black' Spinoff Gets Summer 2019 Release Date Change". Deadline. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  30. ^ Chitwood, Adam (December 5, 2018). "The 'Men in Black' Reboot Is Titled 'Men in Black: International'". Collider. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  31. ^ "Kumail Nanjiani Goes Undercover on Reddit, YouTube and Twitter (GQ)". Youtube.
  32. ^ "Kumail Nanjiani to Star Opposite Dave Bautista in Action Comedy 'Stuber' (Exclusive)".
  33. ^ Haring, Bruce; Haring, Bruce (June 23, 2018). "20th Century Fox Sets Dates For Untitled James Mangold Ferrari Project, Kenneth Branagh's 'Death On The Nile'".
  34. ^ "Robert Downey Jr. Unveils Voice Cast for 'Voyage of Doctor Dolittle'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  35. ^ Galuppo, Gia (January 17, 2019). "Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae to Star in Romantic Comedy 'The Lovebirds' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  36. ^ Kit, Borys (April 5, 2019). "Kumail Nanjiani in Talks to Join Angelina Jolie in Marvel's 'The Eternals' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  37. ^ Otterson, Joe; Otterson, Joe (June 19, 2018). "Apple Orders 'Little America' Anthology Series From 'Big Sick' Duo, Lee Eisenberg". Variety. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  38. ^ Burton, Bonnie. "Kumail Nanjiani's Little America Apple series to look at immigrant life". CNET. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  39. ^ Marie, Jane (May 20, 2014). "The Secret Life of Marrieds: Why We Kept Our Marriage Secret for Years". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  40. ^ Marantz, Andrew (May 8, 2017). "Kumail Nanjiani's Culture-Clash Comedy". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  41. ^ Wolinsky, David. "Kumail Nanjiani". The A.V. Club.
  42. ^ Petski, Denise (November 15, 2018). "'The Twilight Zone': Kumail Nanjiani To Star In Episode Of CBS All Access Reboot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  43. ^ Kumail Nanjiani as Jarun Tann. BioWare Base. March 1, 2017.
  44. ^ "Halo 5: Guardians #HuntTheTruth - Has the Master Chief Gone AWOL?". May 17, 2015.

External linksEdit