STAND UP TUESDAYS: Kumail Nanjiani


Stand-Up Tuesdays is a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny.

This week, Angie puts a spotlight on Kumail Nanjiani’s comedy career. If you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email

“Just do the heroin.”

Such is the message comedian Kumail Nanjiani offers in his new special, Beta Male – along with other helpful life tips regarding inter-species fighting and ridding one’s attic of an unwanted visitor. The comedian’s first ever one-hour special – which fans have been patiently and anxiously awaiting – is an incredibly clever and enjoyable presentation that is sure to further cement Nanjiani’s place in the world of stand up.

Dishing about his childhood in Karachi, Pakistan, Nanjiani shares with his audience several tales from his youth, including a particularly hilarious instance in which he had to figure out how to remove a porn tape from his parents’ VCR during a rolling blackout as well as a cautionary tale of having a mongoose fight a cobra in the middle of a child’s birthday party, ultimately ripping the cobra’s head off.

“If you had that move,” Nanjiani observes, “that should have been move number one.”

In true ‘beta male’ fashion, Najiani interacts well with his audience, at times trying to make jokes at certain people’s expense. When an audience member offers up a rather pretentious online gaming user name, the comedian attempts to call him on his douchery. He can’t quite pull it off without erupting into laughter, though.

There are so many great tidbits in Beta Male that come together to make the special an overall success. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I enjoy just listening to Nanjiani’s voice – he’s incredibly articulate and posseses such a varied inflection that one can’t help but hang on his every word.

When it comes to Nanjiani’s advice on drugs, the comedian takes a moment to break from riffing on himself to talk about the latest drug craze to sweep the country: cheese. According to the comedian, ‘cheese’ is essentially Tylenol PM and, well, heroin – which perplexes Nanjiani, who doesn’t understand why heroin would need a boost from anything.

Kumail Nanjiani first gained attention for his critically acclaimed one-man show “Unpronounceable,” directed by Paul Provenza, and has performed stand-up on “Conan,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”  He is currently one of the stars of the TNT show “Franklin & Bash” and is a heavy recurring character on both IFC’s “Portlandia” and the web series “Burning Love,” produced by Ben Stiller.  He recently appeared in HBO’s “Veep,” and will be a series regular on the upcoming HBO series “Silicon Valley.”  On Comedy Central, Nanjiani has appeared on “John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show,” “Live at Gotham,” and “Mash Up.”  Comedy Central recently announced it has greenlit “The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail,” based on Nanjiani and Jonah Ray’s weekly live show at Meltdown Comics on Sunset Blvd.

The Beta Male extended and uncensored CD/DVD combo will be released on July 23 by Comedy Central Records, featuring material not seen in the broadcast, including a post-show audience Q&A. Beta Male will be available on July 23 in HD and SD on iTunes, Xbox Video, Amazon Instant Video and Sony Entertainment Network.  The album will be available on all digital platforms.

Leading up to the on-air premiere, the Comedy Central Stand-Up Web site will feature preview clips from the special and Nanjiani will also engage with Comedy Central fans via a CC Tumblr “Ask a Professional Comedian” live event. He will also live tweet the premiere of the special from @kumailn.

Grade:  A-




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