News & Politics

It's Not a Comedian’s Job to be ‘Fair and Balanced’ Politically, Kumail Nanjiani Says

WASHINGTON – Actor and Comedian Kumail Nanjiani said that “every piece of comedy is always going to be one-sided” and it’s not a comedian’s job to be fair to both sides of the political spectrum.

Comedian Jay Leno, former host of the Tonight Show, recently said that “when people see you as one-sided, it just makes it tough” and that he would like to “see a bit of civility come back to it.” Leno later clarified he was not only referring to late-night television hosts but comedians in general.

Nanjiani, star of the comedy The Big Sick, was asked for his reaction to Leno’s assessment.

“A comedian’s job is to represent their point of view. I don’t think it’s their job to do a fair and balanced thing. You speak about what you believe so every comedian, every piece of comedy is always going to be one-sided – that’s kind of the point,” Nanjiani said on the red carpet before a screening of his new comedy Stuber with actor Dave Bautista.

In response to Leno’s call for more “civility” in comedy, Nanjiani said, “This is not about Jay Leno but I feel like whenever people are complaining about comedy being anything it’s because they are not doing well on stage. So, I think people are always trying to blame comedy and trying to be like, ‘oh, it used to be like this and now it’s like this,’ that’s not true. There’s been civil comedy and there’s been uncivil comedy – always. I mean, look at Lenny Bruce, that’s not civil or look at Richard Pryor – that’s not civil.”

Stuber hits theaters on July 12.