We’ve all been the accidental villain before, so when SNL host Kumail Nanjiani‘s trash talking game show contestant realizes his smarmy persona wasn’t the right call, it’s relatable. Quite possibly too relatable. It’s also remarkably funny.
Nanjiani goes up against Cecily Strong‘s impossibly sympathetic war vet on the faux game show Bank Breakers. A remorseful Najiani tries everything he can to make things better after playful taunting goes south real fast. Not doing Kumail any favors is the portion of the game show where the host (Mikey Day) asks what the unintentional bad guy does for a living. (“I do online advertising for Marlboro cigarettes.”) Even when he pleads his case he can’t help but dig himself a bigger hole.
“I didn’t know about all their stuff!” exclaims Nanjiani. “I’m so so sorry. You know, it’s difficult for an immigrant like me to navigate this country’s culture. I grew up in Pakistan. Life there is very hard.”
Even that approach winds up backfiring on Nanjiani who gives an endearingly squirmy performance trapped in this no-win situation. You almost want to reach through the screen to help him.
Saturday Night Live returns on November 4th with the combo of Larry David and Miley Cyrus.