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Big Bang Alum Kunal Nayyar Teases His Slick Night Court Character: He’s the ‘Opposite of Everything That Raj Is’

Big Bang Alum Kunal Nayyar Teases His Slick Night Court Character: He’s the ‘Opposite of Everything That Raj Is’

The Big Bang Theory star Kunal Nayyar is back on network TV — but in a way you’ve never seen him before.

Nayyar guest-stars on this Tuesday’s Night Court (NBC, 8/7c), reuniting with his Big Bang co-star Melissa Rauch, but his character is a far cry from Big Bang’s painfully awkward Raj. He plays Martini Toddwallis, a flashy fashion designer who is a hit with the ladies… and who takes a special interest in Rauch’s Abby.

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This role marks Nayyar’s first time doing TV comedy since Big Bang ended its CBS run in 2019, and “I didn’t think it was gonna be this soon,” he tells TVLine. But “Melissa is as close to a sister as I could ever have,” he says, and he was eager to share a soundstage with her again: “When [Night Court] got on the air, I was like, ‘Melissa, you’ve got to have me on at some point, right?’ It was less her and more me forcing, I guess. I just wanted to really have an opportunity to work with her again.”

Night Court Melissa Rauch Kunal Nayyar
Night Court Melissa Rauch Kunal Nayyar

Plus, playing Martini allowed Nayyar to stretch his acting range a bit, he notes. Martini “certainly dresses better” and is “certainly more confident” than Raj was: “He’s literally [the] opposite of everything that Raj is… I was very appreciative that they gave me an opportunity to show a different side.” Martini also appreciates how different Abby is from the vapid runway models he usually encounters: “He’s used to having these very quick romances with people who don’t seem to be that deep, and then in her, he sees a soul.”

But beyond the acting, the Night Court guest spot gave Nayyar a chance to reconnect with an old friend in Rauch. “The whole week [of shooting], to be honest, was really spent with us just staring at each other because we couldn’t believe that we were on stage again. People forget that right after Big Bang [ended], the pandemic started,” so “we didn’t have the ability to be together, and we were used to being together every single day of our lives for almost 12 years.” So when they reunited, Nayyar remembers, “we don’t even know what to say. We just want to hug each other and hold each other and look at each other.”

Are you looking forward to seeing Nayyar reunite with his Big Bang co-star on Night Court? Hit the comments to share your thoughts, and head back to TVLine after the episode for more from Nayyar.

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