Broadway fans, B Positive stans, those who miss Masters of Sex and those who just love angelic voices: Be aware that Annaleigh Ashford serenades Kumail Nanjiani with the disco classic “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” in the opening moments of the video above.
His amused response: “Is that a real song?”
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We’ll put aside our umbrage on Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand’s behalves and instead focus on Nanjiani and Ashford’s new series: Welcome to Chippendales, Hulu’s look at the true-life rise and fall of the iconic, gyrating all-male revue and the man who created it.
Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, Obi-Wan Kenobi) and plays Somen “Steve” Banerjee, who is a gas-station attendant at the beginning of the series’ premiere. But he dreams of achieving the American dream and eventually settles on opening a nightclub in late 1970s Los Angeles. After a few false starts, he strikes gold with the idea of a “strip club for women,” featuring an all-male show. Chippendales would go on to become a household name in the 1980s, with several clubs across the country and touring casts both in the United States and abroad.
In the video above, Ashford — who portrays Irene, Steve’s wife — references Saturday Night Live‘s 1990 sketch about Chippendales, in which host Patrick Swayze and cast member Chris Farley play dancers competing for a spot on the revue’s roster. Nanjiani adds that he was aware of the troupe “as an American institution, and I knew that sketch, but I didn’t know anything about the story behind it. I assumed, ‘The excess of the 80s!'”
As Welcome to Chippendales unfolds — particularly after the arrival of Murray Bartlett (White Lotus) as choreographer/Steve’s business parter Nick De Noia — Banerjee’s insecurities grow along with his business. Eventually, the story becomes a tale of murder and deceit… of which Ashford was aware, she says, thanks to her mom’s love of true crime.
“That’s a dramatic, uncomfortable, very twisty-turny, can’t-believe-it-happened-in-real-life show,” she remembers thinking upon hearing the story. “That must be television.”
Welcome to Chippendales
‘ cast also includes Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey), Juliette Lewis (Yellowjackets), Andrew Rannells (Girls5Eva), Robin de Jesús (Law & Order: SVU), Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel) and Quentin Plair (Roswell, New Mexico.) Robert Siegel (Pam & Tommy) wrote and executive-produced the series; EPs also include Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, Dylan Sellers, Rajiv Joseph and Mehar Sethi.
Welcome to Chippendales will premiere with two episodes on Tuesday; the rest of the eight-episode season will follow with one hour released each Tuesday.
Press PLAY on the video above to hear Nanjiani and Ashford tee up the show, then hit the comments: Are you planning to watch?
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