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Kumail Nanjiani, Annaleigh Ashford star in Hulu’s ‘Welcome to Chippendales’

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Erin Simkin/Hulu

The new Hulu series Welcome to Chippendales debuts today, chronicling the dramatic story of the Chippendales founders Steve Banerjee and his business partner Nick De Noia, and how their relationship went from success to scandal.

Kumail Nanjiani portrays Banerjee, an Indian immigrant who realized the American dream, and he tells ABC Audio he can relate to some of Banerjee’s journey, specifically “the idea of coming here and having to prove yourself and trying to make it.”

“And then coming here with an idea of what American success looks like and seeing how different it is from the reality of it… I sort of understood coming here, wanting to make your mark,” says Nanjiani, before adding, “However, I would like to think we chose different paths to get there.”

Surprisingly, neither Nanjiani nor his costar, Annaleigh Ashford, who plays Banerjee’s wife Irene, have actually been to a Chippendales show, but they feel they got the full experience through the recreations on set.

“There were times where we would have to, like, be silent because we needed sound, and there would be a part where they’d rip off their pants. And all of us would still go, Oh!” Ashford recalls.

“200 women and me going, Oh!,” adds Nanjiani.

Despite not making it a show, Ashford was familiar with this story before filming, thanks to her mother, who also has never been.

“I actually have a mother who really likes to watch crime shows. She’s a murder porn person… she likes murder porn,” she explains. “And so from my mother, I knew the ins and outs of the dark dramas of the Chippendales legacy.”

As for how she thinks her mother would react to a Chippendales show?

“… My mom would have a Diet Coke and a good scream in the corner,” she says.

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