Kumail Nanjiani says he 'didn't feel great' about his appearance being used as a punchline on 'Silicon Valley'

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Kumail Nanjiani says he 'didn't feel great' about his appearance being used as a punchline on 'Silicon Valley'
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Kumail Nanjiani. Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images
  • Kumail Nanjiani was the only character of color on "Silicon Valley."

  • He told Vulture that it "didn't feel great" for his appearance to be used as a punchline.

  • "Brown Asian men are completely desexualized," he added.

Oscar-nominated writer and actor Kumail Nanjiani spoke about the discomfort he felt with his physical appearance being used as a continual joke on the HBO comedy "Silicon Valley" during a wide-ranging interview with Vulture magazine earlier this week.

Nanjiani played Dinesh Chugtai, one of the main characters and the only character of color in all six seasons of "Silicon Valley." Throughout the show's run, there were multiple jokes and storylines based around Dinesh being the least attractive character on the show.

"There were entire storylines around it," Nanjiani told Vulture. "That stuff does get to you, where you're like, 'Aww…that's not a great feeling.' I love everyone on the show, and I never voiced this concern. Maybe I should have. Other actors did when they had stuff that they didn't enjoy doing. I understand that storyline ended up being funny. But yeah, parts of that didn't feel great."

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"Silicon Valley" stars, from left, Kumail Nanjiani, Thomas Middleditch, Martin Starr, and Zach Woods. John P. Johnson/HBO

Nanjiani's wife and screenwriting partner Emily V. Gordon joined the interview with Vulture and expressed her frustration with the dynamics of the show.

She said: "I did not like that you were considered unattractive on the show. That really fucking bothered me…The assumption that [Kumail's] not attractive did feel a little bit tied… because when you look at those men… If I were ranking completely objectively… Even my mom would call me and be like, 'Why are they saying that about him? I don't understand.' But yeah, it bugged me. I didn't like it."

Later during the interview, Nanjiani added that the jokes about his appearance on "Silicon Valley" were part of a wider issue of how some racialized groups are portrayed in media.

"Generally speaking, a big part of the ascribing of things that happens is sometimes it puts a filter on the world, and brown Asian men are completely desexualized," he said.

Nanjiani has recently made headlines for his appearance. This time, however, the attention has been focused on the body transformation he underwent to play the role of Kingo in Marvel's upcoming film "Eternals."

The 42-year-old actor first shared a photo of his transformation in December 2019. The actor revealed back then that he had trained for a full year to get into superhero shape for his role. At the time, Nanjiani's trainer, Grant Roberts, told The Hollywood Reporter they worked together to build a realistic goal for him to increase muscle, drop excess body fat, and create body symmetry. To get into superhero shape, the actor trained four to five days a week at the gym, sometimes heading there twice in one day.

During an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" a month later in January 2020, Nanjiani said he had given up pizza and donuts for over a year.

"I've had no refined sugar in a year, I've had almost no carbs at all," Nanjiani told Kimmel.

"You know what my snack is? I get a bag of sugar snap peas and I eat them," he added. "That's what I've been doing at night when I'm like, 'I'm a little hungry. I'm going to treat myself.'"

Read the original article on Insider