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Nerdy comedian Kumail Nanjiani hits the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse Stage

Kumail Nanjiani performs at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse Friday (Comedy Central) Kumail Nanjiani performs at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse Friday (Comedy Central)

When new late-night comedy programs “@Midnight” and “The Pete Holmes Show” debuted a week apart in October, both series tapped the same guy as the first guest. Kumail Nanjiani, a self-effacing, nerdy Los Angeles comic, isn’t quite a household name, but that’s changing, thanks to his upcoming projects. First, though, he’ll share the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse stage with friend and fellow stand-up Jonah Ray on Friday.

‘Portlandia’ State of Mind

Nanjiani is best known for his recurring role on IFC’s “Portlandia” as the salesman who won’t stop asking questions. In Season 1, he sold Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen a convoluted cellphone plan. Then, he was a waiter at a restaurant with 80 dishes. Most recently, he played something called a “birthday loan officer.”

The Gamer Life

With his wife, Emily Gordon, Nanjiani co-hosts “The Indoor Kids,” a podcast where the couple and guests play video games and discuss gaming culture.

Television Takeover

Nanjiani and Ray will co-host Comedy Central’s “The Meltdown,” premiering later this year. The stand-up showcase is based on the weekly live show the pair curates at L.A.’s Meltdown Comics. Nanjiani will also appear on HBO’s new Mike Judge series about tech billionaires, “Silicon Valley,” starting in April.

Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike; Fri., 7 p.m., sold out; 703-486-2345.

Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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