Kumail Nanjiani is a Pakistani-American. He's a Muslim, a comedian and he's the star of the latest critically acclaimed Judd Apatow-produced comedy The Big Sick.
He recently appeared on Chelsea Handler's Netflix talk show and discussed his upbringing and his faith, along with perceptions of Muslims in the United States.
He asked the host Handler:
I think the issue with Islam has been that there’s no pop culture image of Muslims who are open-minded really.
Like, when you think of Muslims, what do you see in your head?
Handler replied, honestly that she thinks of serious men with beards.
Nanjiani explained that that's part of the stereotyping issue - that there's a tendency to see certain demographics in certain contexts and that needs to be fought against:
Right, that’s what I mean!
My wife … she wanted to start a Tumblr called, ‘Muslims Having Fun.’
Because you never see them!
Like, when you go to like, a theme park, you see Muslim people and they’re eating ice cream and they’re screaming on roller coasters.
Why don’t we ever see those Muslims?
Why do we only think of Muslims on the news when we think of Muslims?
Kumail also took a swing at subject matters and ethnicity with Margaret Cho, Richard Lewis and Jeffrey Ross on The Green Room with Paul Provenza (this is a full episode and contains foul language, but it's a great discussion):