Kumail Nanjiani's Comedy "Big Sick" Is Finally Happening

Kumail Nanjiani’s Comedy “Big Sick” Is Finally Happening

After the hit success teaming up with big time comedian Amy Schumer for “Trainwreck”, Judd Apatow has teamed up with comedy’s beloved stand up comedian/actor Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, Portlandia, The Five Year Engagement).

Kumail hosts a weekly comedy show called “The Meltdown” in the back of Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Alongside friend and comedian Jonah Ray, he owns the stage of “The Meltdown With Jonah And Kumail”.

The show has been going on live for years and was recently picked up for a third season on Comedy Central. It is produced by his wife and partner in writing and crime, Emily Gordon.

Kumail teamed with Judd Apatow and his wife Emily (Former therapist, author of “Super You: Release Your Inner Superhero,” and a writer on NBC’s “The Carmichael Show”) to tell the true story of the early days of their relationship.

Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani at the premiere of HBO’s Silicon Valley

Eight months into dating each other Emily was diagnosed with adult-onset Still’s, an inflammatory disease, that forced her into a coma.

This terrifying time in their past where the story that Kumail and Emily worked on for the script takes place. Emily spent eight days in a coma. During these eight days Kumail was left with a strange conflict of emotions.

He told Cosmopolitan magazine, “When I told my parents, I was like, “Hey! Good news/bad news — actually, for you guys, bad news/good news? — I dunno. Anyway, I’m in love with a white girl and she’s in a coma.” Luckily… they saw how distraught I was, because if I was just like, “It’s a white girl…” Emily concluded for him, “They’d be like, “Break up with her right now!”

The film will deal with the classic relationship dilemmas you see in Hollywood productions. Like, meeting the parents for the first time. But with the twist of the things you don’t see in Hollywood—Like horrific circumstances and health scares, and of course racial, religious, and cultural divides.

Kumail does admit the coma was a large deciding factor in why they got married, because he wouldn’t have had the courage he learned from the event to tell his parents about Emily. His parents had wanted him to have an arranged marriage.

The raw emotions that came from his connection to Emily at this hard point in her life, “sort of forced [him] to confront all of that stuff at once.” They were later married in a traditional, huge, three day long Muslim Pakistani wedding. The two have been a golden relationship paradigm for many in their field and amongst their friends.

“It’s a weird thing to sort of be a symbol of good a relationship,” Kumail mentioned on a podcast hosted by their good friend comedian Pete Holmes. On that same podcast (You Made It Weird) he later mentioned that the eight days Emily spent in her coma, has since been the longest they have ever gone without talking to each other.

The project is titled “Big Sick” and has been acquired by  FilmNation Entertainment who will fully finance the film with Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel producing. Directing the project will be none other than comedy’s own Michael Showalter (2015 SXSW Film Festival audience award winner for “Hello, My Name Is Doris”).

Jonah Ray, Emily Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, and Edward Salazar backstage at “The Meltdown”

On “You Made It Weird” Kumail detailed the emotional release and turmoil writing the script called for in him. “People wish that bad things hadn’t happened to them. But everything that has happened to you has made you who you are. So to wish that something hadn’t happened, is to wish that you weren’t yourself.” The film is expected to be packed with humor, emotions, and truths rarely spoken about in Hollywood films. Pete Holmes jokingly offered his advice to Kumail on pitching the project to Apatow with the line, “You did knocked up, this would be knocked out.”


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