Let’s All Appreciate Kumail Nanjiani’s Masterful 9/11 Joke From The Big Sick

By Joe Berkowitz , June 20, 2017

WHAT: The best 9/11 joke you have ever heard, not that there should be a system for ranking the best joke about the worst terrorist attack on American soil.

WHO: Kumail Nanjiani, in a clip from The Big Sick, an autobiographical film he co-wrote with his wife, comedy writer Emily V. Gordon.

WHY WE CARE: “Too soon?” That’s the question any comedian must ask herself before making a joke about a tragedy. Anthony Jeselnik made an insensitive tweet about the Boston Bombing on the day of, which he was soon forced to delete under pressure from then-employer Comedy Central. National tragedies make for tricky subject matter, ever in danger of inciting public ire. It’s likely, however, that even the #BoycottColbert crowd will get a laugh out of Kumail Nanjiani’s rock-solid 9/11 joke in The Big Sick, which is in theaters this weekend. As the comedian revealed to Marc Maron on a recent episode of the WTF podcast, it’s a joke that would never work on stage, but rather in the context of a specific kind of conversation. Given the cultural themes of The Big Sick, a film in which Nanjiani’s Pakistani Muslim parents cannot find out he’s dating the non-Muslim love interest played by Zoe Kazan, it fits in perfectly. To describe the joke any further would spoil it, so have a look for yourself in the clip below.

The Big Sick is out in limited release on June 23.

This joke uses your discomfort against you in a clever way.

WHAT: The best 9/11 joke you have ever heard, not that there should be a ranking system for deciding which is the greatest joke about the worst-ever terrorist attack on American soil.


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