Stand-up comedian Kumail Nanjiani has done a lot of work in television, but he says nothing compares to his experience on HBO’s "Silicon Valley," where he gets paid to goof around with some of his best friends all day.
Nanjiani, who plays Dinesh in the Mike Judge-created series about the tech industry, works alongside fellow cast members and close friends Martin Starr, Zach Woods, Thomas Middleditch and T.J. Miller, some of whom he's known for more than a decade.
“I’ve known T.J. since I started doing comedy in Chicago, which was about 12 years. Then Thomas and I met about 10 years ago,” Nanjiani told The Huffington Post over the phone. “I knew all of these guys, and I was a big fan of them before we started filming the show.”
According to Nanjiani, Judge was unaware of the actors' pre-existing friendships before he cast them -- and he didn't find out until they were filming the pilot episode.
“He came over at one point when we were shooting and was like, ‘Boy, you guys really bonded, huh?’ and I had to be like, ‘We’ve known each other for 10 years!’”
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While the chemistry between the show's actors shined through enough to merit a second season order from HBO, it also allowed the group to have an easy time at work while filming season one. During every lunch break, the cast would gather in Nanjiani’s trailer to play his Xbox 360. Nanjiani -- who hosts a podcast about video games with his wife, Emily Gordon -- said they played an entire season of “NBA 2K” throughout filming. (They ultimately lost.)
“I remember one day thinking, ‘I don’t really feel like I’m working. Is that bad?’ I literally had to tell myself, ‘No! It shouldn’t be like work to be on a funny TV show,” he said.
The gang has been enjoying themselves so much that they might not be kept apart for too long. Nanjiani revealed that a possible live tour with the cast is in the works.
“There have been very, very preliminary talks about doing a live ‘Silicon Valley’ tour with all five of us. Very early talks to see if we can do a little tour before we start shooting the next season,” he said. “I would love to do that. I feel like it would be super fun.”
When asked what fans can expect from the show in its second season, he wasn’t able to give much information. However, he did say the conversation between Richard and Monica at the end of the season one finale was a pretty direct setup for the tone of season two.(Story continues below)
Nanjiani was able to be a little forthcoming about what fans might see from his character, Dinesh, though. He revealed that there's a rich backstory for the character that’s been discussed behind the scenes but has yet to be presented on screen.
“We know where he’s from and why he is the way he is and everything,” he said. “I can say that he’s obviously a guy who wants to be very successful, and when he says that he’s afraid of being poor and doesn’t want to be poor [this past season], I think that really speaks to his character.”
As far as his stand-up is concerned, Nanjiani has the summer free before filming for "Silicon Valley" season two begins. In that time, he's going on a tour, where he hopes to start the early stages of crafting a follow up to his 2013 comedy album, “Beta Male.”
“I’ll use the tour to find the holes in my hour and what I need to work on. Then I’ll go back and shoot 'Silicon Valley' until February. Hopefully while I’m doing that I’ll be able to rewrite and perform what little I can and really polish it next year and then try and record another album next summer, early next summer,” he said.
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The second season of HBO’s "Silicon Valley" is scheduled to premiere next year.