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Kumail Nanjiani Didn't See The Welcome To Chippendales Performances Until Their Actual On-Set Production - Exclusive

Hulu's new series "Welcome to Chippendales" is finally here, highlighting the seedy unknown story behind the Chippendales male revue empire. The series showcases "Eternals" star Kumail Nanjiani as Chippendales founder Somen "Steve" Banerjee, an immigrant with a lust for success who gets pushed to the edge when he feels his organizational power slipping away. Murray Bartlett plays real-life frenemy Nick De Noia, a choreographer with a major role in Chippendales' success who also provides a growing foil for Banerjee's control of the stripper empire. 

De Noia's early contributions separated Chippendales from the pack, with stories, costumes, strong choreography, and a growing theatricality building its quality and helping the company grow its rhetorical brand. The growing scale and quality of productions shock Banerjee, and Nanjiani easily sells the awe and surprise. As it turns out, Kumail Nanjiani was himself often surprised by the stellar productions. In an exclusive interview with Looper, Nanjiani revealed that the elaborate production and choreography of "Welcome to Chippendales" was often kept apart from him. As a consequence, his first experiences of many of the series' spectacles were their on-set performances. 

Turns out Room Service was code on the Chippendales set

Nanjiani first reveals that many of the productions we see in "Welcome to Chippendales" were original creations. "They were made up for the show," he explains, "because there was some issue using the real performances." The series still continued to create and ratchet up the performances because "that's what happened to the Chippendales."

Nanjiani told Looper, "Nick wanted to do Broadway shows, so he brought more and more theatricality to those productions." It's a part of the series that the star appreciates. "I like that aspect of it," Nanjiani notes. "As Nick's ambitions grow bigger, the way he expresses them gets more and more elaborate, and it's something that Steve will never really understand." In Steve's world, which is all business, "he's not enjoying the performance" but rather "he's enjoying people's reactions to the performance [and] if the people in the audience didn't like it, he wouldn't like it."

Nanjiani did appreciate the growing productions, however. It was always exciting to see new performers for the first time because I didn't get to be in any of the dance rehearsals," and indeed he was purposely kept out of them. He recounts that he'd always hear "Oh, 'Room Service'" thrown around set.

When Nanjiani asked where everyone was, he was simply told "They're doing 'Room Service' over there." He routinely wondered "What's 'Room Service'? What's 'Room Service' going to be?" When he finally saw the larger production on-set, he often thought "Wow. No wonder they were rehearsing for so long, that's f****** great!" Steve Banerjee may have needed to read the audience to gauge the productions' success, but Nanjiani loved them (once he was finally allowed to see them).

"Welcome to Chippendales" is now available on Hulu.