Mother Jones

KING OF UNCOOL

Kumail Nanjiani on sex, Silicon Valley, and the skepticism of Dana Scully

LONG BEFORE HE WAS CAST as the insecure coder Dinesh on HBO’s Silicon Valley, before he began voicing Prismo for the dystopian children’s cartoon Adventure Time, before Comedy Central gave him his own special, and before he began popping up on shows like snl, Portlandia, and Inside Amy Schumer, Kumail Nanjiani was just a teenager in Karachi, Pakistan, obsessed with Western movies and television. He was particularly taken with The X-Files, the long-running 1990s sci-fi conspiracy drama starring Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, FBI agents investigating the paranormal. Nanjiani, now 37, would eventually make his way to Iowa’s Grinnell College and then work in tech for five years before having a go at stand-up comedy, a rare discipline in his homeland. His

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