Kumail Nanjiani is an outstanding stand-up comedian, with a voice uniquely his own, and his opening monologue in the Saturday Night Live hosting gig was first and uniformly great.
Looking like an old school movie star in his Don Draper suit, Kumail had the audience in his grasp throughout, touching on the topic of Islamophobia and racism with a touch both light and jabbing.
Stand-Up Comedian Kumail Nanjiani Brings Some Style To A Middling Saturday Night Live
He comes at subjects from delightfull odd angles, following them according to their own unexpected logic as when he acts out the well-intentioned defense of Sikhs mistakenly attacked for being Muslim by bigots, or when he refutes other bigots assertion that Islam is against women because “the Koran says women can’t drive.”
With his animated hunky face and those expressive eyebrows working to punctuate the material, Kumail killed.
Video: Kumail Nanjiani Standup Monologue - SNL
For the rest of the night, while fluffing a line or two, Kumail did a good job with some just-okay material for the most part. Playing a weird retirement home doctor, a smugly weird concierge, and a douchey game show contestant, Kumail applied himself but he was too often left propping up some questionable premises.