Kumail Nanjiani, Stand-up Comedian, Actor & Writer | MAKERS Profile


KUMAIL NANJIANI:
I think the most important thing that
we could do right now is to listen to women. We’ve been talking
for fucking centuries. I think it’s time for us
to shut up and listen. I grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. Pretty typical family. Mom, dad, and one brother. I watched a lot of
Indian movies as a kid, Bollywood movies, but
also a lot of Hollywood movies, a lot of them. I really loved
“Ghostbusters”, and I was like, that’s a pretty
good job if you can get it, saving New York from ghosts. The transition was very
difficult initially. I was super shy in Karachi, so
I never really felt confident in myself or anything. And it wasn’t until
I came to America and was sort of on my own,
and was forced to interact with people and be genuinely
social, that I started coming out of my shell and
being funny and kind of feeling like a person. I mean, the hardest
part of doing standup is going up on stage. It’s so, so scary
in the beginning. I remember I’d go and sign
up for these open mics and then kind of, before
I went up, be like, should I just leave? I should just leave. You know, when I was younger,
I had this list of, like, the perfect woman will
have these qualities. And then you grow
up and you realize that stuff doesn’t matter. What matters is a real
connection and all of that. And then with Emily,
got the real connection, but also all that stuff
that was on shallow teenage Jumail’s list. She has that too. So really kind of perfect. We found this place
perfect for a comedy show behind this comic book
store called The Meltdown. We kind of hit the
ground running. Like the first show we did,
I think we had 30 or 40 people there, which is huge. Then eventually we sold
out every single week. I think of how scary it was for
me starting comedy in Chicago, and then how much scarier
it would have been if I was a woman starting
comedy there because it really was such a boys club. And it was very aggressive. It was very locker room. We wanted Meltdown to
feel very inclusive. Emily focused on having
a diverse lineup. She wanted to have different
points of view on the show, and she wanted to have a lot of
female comics on the show, too. We wanted it to be a good comedy
show, but also a good place to just hang out for
comedians, and that’s sort of what it became. At no point did it feel
like here’s the big break, because it went from doing
standup with these people to then writing for a show,
then to being on a small show in a small part, then
having a small part in a slightly bigger show. I was lucky that I was
ready for each little step. And it wasn’t until I went back
and looked, and I was like, oh, I guess that show
was kind of a big deal. The movie is called
“The Big Sick”, and it’s based on the
real life experience that Emily and I had when
we were first dating, and she got really sick and
went into a coma for eight days. Hi, I’m looking
for Emily Gardner. – She’s checked in. We need to put her in a
medically induced coma. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Coma. It’s sort of a love story about
these two characters meeting, but it’s centered on that
chunk of time at the hospital. And it’s a comedy. Her notes weren’t just notes. It was like another
perspective on the whole thing. And I was like, oh, this is not
my story, this is our story. I think it would be a very
incomplete story if Emily wasn’t writing this movie. Her perspective as a woman
completely changed the movie. There’s a scene in the movie
where Emily and I are first dating and she has
to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. And so she’s trying to
leave to go to a diner nearby to use the bathroom. EMILY GARDNER: You’re
being so weird. KUMAIL NANJIANI: How am I weird? I want to sleep while
it’s sleep time. EMILY GARDNER: This is normal. Girls go to get coffee in
the middle of the night. Have you never had
a girlfriend before? This is what it’s like. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Are you OK? We’ve had so many women
point out that scene, like, all the time, being
like, oh my god, that exactly is what happened to me. I’ve never seen that in a movie. Even though rom coms are
generally seen as targeted towards females, most
of them are still from the guy’s perspective. It’s a bunch of dudes trying
to guess what a woman would do. Well, then get a few
women writers in there. Here’s the big thing. Having more women writers, more
women directors, more women executives, more women
in positions of power, you don’t just do that to
make a more equal society. You do that because the
product will be better.

5 Replies to “Kumail Nanjiani, Stand-up Comedian, Actor & Writer | MAKERS Profile”

  1. Jay ! Voice love ninjago movie ! โ™ฅ.โ™ฅ ๐Ÿ˜™๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ‘ผ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ’‘๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ™†๐Ÿ’‡๐Ÿ™‡

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