Prep for Kumail Nanjiani’s ‘SNL’ Hosting Gig With These 7 Funny Clips

By Sameer Rao Oct 13, 2017

Tomorrow night (October 14) won’t be the first time that comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani appears on "Saturday Night Live" (SNL). According to his International Movie Database page, Nanjiani actually made his television debut during a 2008 episode with an uncredited role as "Indian Reporter." Following nearly a decade of hustling in comedy clubs and acting, the Pakistani-American comic returns to 30 Rockefeller Center for his first "SNL" hosting gig.


Nanjiani is the sketch comedy program’s first host from South Asia, and the second Desi host after fellow comedian Aziz Ansari

Per a recent profile in The New Yorker, Nanjiani was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. He moved to the United States at age 19 to attend Grinnell College in Iowa, where he performed his first stand-up comedy set. He booked acting gigs on comedy shows like "Michael & Michael Have Issues," "Franklin & Bash" and "Portlandia," and went on to co-host "The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail" on Comedy Central and star in HBO’s "Silicon Valley." He recently earned critical acclaim for "The Big Sick," which he co-wrote with his wife, Emily Gordon.

In anticipation of tomorrow’s show, familiarize yourself with Nanjiani’s comedic chops via these seven clips:

"Call of Duty"

Nanjiani’s stand-up frequently addresses one of his favorite hobbies: playing video games. In this segment from his 2013 special "Beta Male," he talks about how the war game "Call of Duty" hypocritically misrepresents his hometown while accurately portraying characters’ individual hair follicles. 

"The Simply Everything Plus Plan" 

Nanjiani makes recurring appearances on IFC’s "Portlandia" as a service employee who laconically forces his customers into unnecessarily detailed packages—in this instance, a ridiculous cell phone plan.

"Cheese Heroin"

In this old stand-up bit, Nanjiani explores the absurdity of labeling any drug cocktail with heroin as anything but heroin. 

"Hey, Kumar"

Nanjiani addresses White screen dominance and the stupidity of racist comparisons to other South Asian characters while relating an incident in Orange County, California. 

"Clueless Gamer: Shadow of War"

Nanjiani plays the fantasy video game "Shadow of War" with his friend, Conan O’Brien. Nanjiani discusses his voice cameo as a comic relief-providing ogre. 

"American TV Didn’t Help Kumail Nanjiani & Riz Ahmed"

Nanjiani appears with fellow Pakistani diasporic screen artist Riz Ahmed in this interview from "The Late Late Show with James Corden." At 1:21, Nanjiani jokes about Brown people imitating MacGyver and how the interview "looks like a panel on colonialism." 

"Dinesh’s Gold Chain" 

Lastly, this compilation of "Silicon Valley" scenes feature Nanjiani’s character Dinesh nonchalantly flaunting his new gold necklace while incurring his colleagues’ ridicule. 

Catch Nanjiani on "SNL" tomorrow with musical guest Pink.