‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Kunal Nayyar: Emmy Buzz ‘Gives Me Goosebumps’
If you’re not familiar, let us catch you up to speed: The season ended with the lovable but painfully shy-around-ladies (unless booze is involved) Raj, played by Kunal Nayyar, hooking up with his best friend Leonard’s ex-girlfriend Penny. Gasp! Fans have been wondering what this will mean for their friendship and lucky for you, Celebuzz got an answer straight from the source!
Celebuzz got a chance to catch up with Kunal and chatted with him about the intense cliffhanger, his craziest Comic-Con stories (shots with Darth Vader, anyone?) and all that Emmy buzz.
Let’s just dive right into it. Do you know what we can expect from season 5 yet?
No, the writers just got back to the writing room last week. We typically don’t know anything until literally the night before the episode begins to rehearse. That’s the way it’s always been. I normally get the script in August the night before we begin season 5. So, if you call me then — at like 10:30 at night, I’ll let you know! [Laughs]
The season obviously ended in a pretty big cliffhanger with Raj and Penny. What do you think will end up happening? We know you said you have no idea what will happen until August, but do you have any kind of inkling of what you think could possibly happen?
I have no idea what I think might happen. I do hope though that Raj and Leonard continue to stay friends because I love the friendship that these guys have. That’s what I would love to see -– you know, them figuring it out. Even if it takes the whole season, it’ll be fun to see them figuring it out. But, at the end of the day, I have no clue what might happen. I don’t really think that Penny and Raj would date seriously, although they do have a lovely connection so maybe they would. You know, I really have no idea. You see, that’s my answer: I really hope these guys as friends can stay together and I’m sure they will. Their friendship runs very deep.
There’s been a lot going on between Raj and Leonard this past season with Leonard dating Raj’s sister so that’s created a little bit of tension there. Do you think that if you had a younger sister, you would be cool with your best friend dating her?
It depends on the friend. If that friend — my best friend — was Leonard, yeah, I would be cool. Leonard’s a really good guy, you know. I have some friends who are lovely people but it all depends on the personality someone is. If someone is a playboy or a connoisseur of many women then, yeah, I wouldn’t want that person dating my younger sister. At the end of the day, it’s always the decision of the two people. That’s all that really matters — what the two people decide.
You’ve been getting a lot of Emmy buzz from this past season. Let’s just pretend it’s August, it’s Emmy night and you’re nominated: Would you have something prepared for if you’ve won or do you think you would just go up there and wing it?
You know, I would have something prepare not because I’m presumptuous, but, only because—well, to be completely honest, ever since I’ve wanted to really become an actor I’ve prepared some sort of speech, whether it’s in the shower or wherever you day dream about winning an Oscar. I can say for myself I’ve definitely dreamt of winning an award where I have to give a speech — so, I would imagine all the people I would thank and everything. But I also do believe that if I were to win at any time in my career that it would be such an overwhelming moment that I would want something prepared because only to have as a safety because in that moment I would not know how to react. You work for a very long time and very hard to be in a position to be able to win, and when you do, a lot of emotions come out, as you can tell from people who win awards. So, I think I would have something prepared but not because I’m presumptuous, only because I know that it would be. I mean, it gives me goosebumps thinking about the fact that you mention any buzz. I try not to think about because as an actor you have to stay even keel. I’m just enjoying the light and trying not to get ahead of myself.
You guys are going to Comic-Con again this year, right?
Are you excited to go back?
Yes. This will be our fourth time going. We go every year. I’m very very excited. It happens in July and we start approximately one or two weeks after that. We start the season always after Comic Con. To start a season after having a reception like that from fans, it gives us a lot of energy and excitement going into a new season. Not that that’s not bad – it’s just a lovely way to start the season.
You know, it’s really our target audience and when you walk into a panel when there’s 5000 screaming fans just to see—Sometimes when you’re on a TV show, often times you live in a cocoon: you go from your house to the studio to people who are like your family and then you go home. We’re not a tabloid show. We’re not in People magazine. We’re not being picked up by the paparazzi when I’m walking down Rodeo Drive or whatever. My life is pretty insolated. I have the same friends and I have a pretty normal life. So, sometimes you forget the affect and reach the show has and then when you go there and you see it, it really gives you the sense of fulfillment and joy and, just, humility. I cannot wait—maybe for selfish reasons. It’s like a shot of love adrenaline.
You said you’ve been there four times now. Do you have any crazy Comic-Con stories or crazy fan encounters?
I’ve never met a crazy fan, like a crazy fan. I’ve met interesting people. Our fans have really just been amazing — really polite and sweet and honest and just lovely. I have some funny-Comic Con stories: I remember last year I was at a party doing shot with Darth Vader, which was pretty cool. You know, only in Comic Con. And then you’re in the bathroom and you’re taking a leak and there’s a Stormtrooper taking a leak beside you. That’s really crazy.
The first time we went to Comic-Con, the five of us rented a motorboat and we were out in the ocean, which probably didn’t go down well with the show. They were like, “Wait a second, our entire cast of our hit show was alone on a motor boat in the middle of the ocean?” That was really funny. We have some really really fun times at Comic-Con. I love it there.
The cast has great chemistry and obviously there’s great writing, but why do you think there’s such a big reception to the show?
Other than the obvious reasons you’ve mentioned, which starts at the writing, I think what has happened is that people have fallen in love with these characters. They’ve become part of your Thursday night life or they’ve become a part of your family schedule in essence. I think the five of them—and now even adding Mayim as Amy and Melissa Rauch—are good people. When you watch the show, when you watch these people, it’s funny and you laugh and stuff but you love these people. These are good people. There’s no malice. They’re horrible liars. They don’t do anything intentionally to hurt each other. It’s not that sort of gossip-mongering, mean people to each other. They’re genuinely nice. I think that’s a big reason of success for the show because people like them. If you like someone, you’re going to invite them to your home, right? So, I think that’s been one of the reasons of our success because they are really likable characters.
Earlier you’ve mentioned that this isn’t a tabloid-saturated of show – it’s not like any time you step out of your house it’s a news story. I think it helps because sometimes you get so over-exposed with certain things. But for you guys, it’s just a refreshingly good show.
The lifestyle is by choice too. With the five of us, we’re not the type of people that are sequencing the secret socialite charity parties — although not that those things are bad, but I think it’s just a different lifestyle. There’s being a personality and then there’s being an actor, and then there’s being an actor who’s also a personality. And sometimes people fall in between that, and sometimes people in the spectrum of that. I love to have a good time and stuff but I tend to stay away from locations that I know the paparazzi will be there because I don’t want that invitation into my private life.
It’s always flattering to be followed around and having pictures taken, but if I was better looking, maybe there would be more pictures of me.
We know that Raj is partial to his Aquaman and Catwoman costumes, but going back to Comic-Con, if you had to nerd out and dress up as something, what would you dress up as?
Oh, that’s a really good question. Man, I would love to dress up as a Jedi or Aragon from Lord of the Rings. That’s like the dream because I’m so not a badass in real life. I mean, if I dress like a badass — like not a Luke Jedi but like Obi-Wan Jedi, you know? Like a young Obi-Wan Jedi, or Aragon. I think Aragon would take the cake.
But if I dressed like Aragon, I would probably look like a girl. That’s the problem. If I looked at all masculine, it would be cool. But the problem is that I have feminine features so I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’ll probably look like Legolas, like a brown Legolas.