5 Questions With … Kunal Nayyar of CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory”

Jeff Pfeiffer

kunal-nayyar-big-bang-theoryIt’s hard to be the only single friend among a group of geeky dudes. That’s the situation Kunal Nayyar’s Raj Koothrappali often found himself in throughout the past few seasons of The Big Bang Theory, before he finally settled down with a gal of his own in the form of Emily Sweeney (Laura Spencer).

Unfortunately for Raj, Emily’s penchant for horror wasn’t exactly well-suited with his own gentler personality, and the pair called it quits by the end of Season 8. They weren’t the only couple to do so, as Amy (Mayim Bialik) pressed pause on her relationship with Sheldon (Jim Parsons). For those hoping that means plenty of fun single times with Sheldon and Raj ahead, however, they may not want to count Emily down and out just yet.

“He really likes Emily and it’s nice because she kind of freaks him out and takes him out of his skin a little bit,” Nayyar told us at the Television Critics Association CBS Summer All-Stars party in Los Angeles at the Pacific Design Center. “That’s what he needs. So we’ll see where that goes.”

If Nayyar had his choice, Raj would probably be a ladies’ man with exceptional basketball skills, given his own personal love of the game.

“I don’t see Raj as a one-woman guy,” Nayyar jokes, before pointing out that the season picks up where it left off with Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) driving off to get married in Vegas. Meanwhile back home, when everyone learns about Sheldon’s new breakup, it will be “awkward for everyone.”

To get us prepped for the ninth season return (Monday, Sept. 21, at 8pm ET on CBS), Nayyar answered our “5 Questions.” 

  1. What’s a movie you can watch over and over again?

Independence Day? Rush Hour? Lord of the Rings. Definitely Lord of the Rings. Really, either The Return of the King or The Two Towers. I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. I’m obsessive and I cried at the book. When Return of the King came on, and when the scene opens up in the mountains, after we see Gollum’s sort of prequel scene, and the theme song came on, I cried. So I’d definitely have to say Return of the King. 

  1. If you weren’t an actor, what occupation would you have most likely pursued?

I think it would be fun to be one of those advertising people on Mad Men. One of those guys that gets to mack on all the women and drink like old fashioneds and martinis all day. 

  1. What three things do you have to have in your fridge or pantry?

Energy bars, sparkling water and chocolate digestive biscuits. Don’t judge. 

  1. What has been your strangest fan encounter?

I had a fan who took a picture next to me in the urinal. He was like “Hey, you’re from The Big Bang Theory!” and then took a picture of me. Another dude. He just got a picture of me, but not like down there, just my face. I couldn’t chase him out because I was still doing the deed. 

  1. Tell us about a time when you were starstruck.

When I first met Chris Bosh. I saw him at one of the Emmy parties and I went up to him and I was like, “Mr. Bosh, how are you?” and he recognized me. Oh, and before that LeBron James just tweeted that he watches The Big Bang Theory. He said, “Time to eat dinner and watch The Big Bang Theory.” Now we need to get him on the show.


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