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June 02, 2017

Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani speaks up on show's unexpected cast departure

Celebrities TV
Carroll - The Big Sick Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Stand-up comedian and actor, Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon.

Writer and performer Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, writer-producer Emily Gordon, visited Philadelphia Wednesday to promote Judd Apatow’s latest film, “The Big Sick.” The film, co-written by Nanjiani, is a semi-autobiographical account of his life with Gordon and how they met, and a popular favorite at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. 

Among Nanjiani’s most memorable roles to date is his character Dinesh Chugtai on HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” now airing its fourth season.

The show follows the trials and tribulations of aspiring tech innovators as they attempt (and mostly fail) to get their startup, Pied Piper, on its feet. Though already slated for a fifth season run, the show got hit hard with news last week that T.J. Miller, a member of the core cast who portrays pompous stoner “incubator” Erlich Bachman, will not be returning to the show.

05_060117_TheBigSick_Carroll.jpgThom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Emily Gordon, who is married to Kumail Nanjiani, co-wrote and and co-executive produced 'The Big Sick.'

During an interview with PhillyVoice at the Ritz-Carlton in Center City, Nanjiani addressed Miller’s departure.

“I think it’s very sad,” he said. “I love working with T.J., he was one of my best friends and I’ve known him for a very long time. I think he created a really great character and I’m bummed that he’s leaving.”

Critics have wondered how the show will reframe itself with the departure. Unfortunately, this is the second time “Silicon Valley” will have to adjust to the loss of a main character. Following the show’s first season, the untimely death of Christopher Evan Welch to lung cancer left the show with an unexpected (though still successful) second season plot without Welch’s reprisal of eccentric tech investor Peter Gregory.

07_060117_TheBigSick_Carroll.jpgThom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Stand-up comedian and actor, Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon.

“The dynamic will have to change,” Nanjiani said of the show. “I think it’s interesting that the show will have to be a little bit different.”

Nanjiani also noted he’s interested to see Miller’s future work.

“I’m excited to see the other stuff he does,” Nanjiani said. “I’m hoping to work with him again at some point.”

“You definitely will,” Gordon said to her husband. “There’s no world in which you won’t.”