Next to our table was Kunal Nayyar, who plays Rajesh Koothrappali. The following is a few excerpts of our conversation with him.
Do you actually like grasshoppers or is that a cruel joke they slipped in there by making you drink that?
It would be fun if they were real grasshoppers on the show, but I’m sort of lactose intolerant so I get water — it’s disgusting, it’s water with artificial whitening powder and a little bit of green color.
[Alice]: Do you try to understand a lot of the subject matter you’re given? Did you know about comics before?
Not at this level, not at all. I love Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and video games and stuff. The comic book world is a separate world altogether, one that I don’t know. I read Archie comics growing up in India, we read a lot of Archie comics, but in terms of superheroes in comics, no idea.
I’m fascinated. In the comic book store episode they built an entire comic book store on set. That’s a real comic book store built on set. Fascinating. We just got an Emmy nomination in art direction because of how amazing the sets are. I was like a child. The colors, before you know it you’re touching all the magazines and playing with the toys. What’s wrong with me? I’m germing everything. And you know a lot of stuff is rented and you’ve got to give it back in one piece, but I’m touching.
You know that in the time machine episode we got to see a real replica. It’s a $50,000 replica of the time machine. It came with a bodyguard. I’m like, “This is your job?” This is what he said. “This is your job, this is my job.” [I told him] “Cool. I didn’t mean to offend you, I was just seriously asking.”
So what, you got to stand six feet away from the time machine?
It’s always there. It’s like guarding a really expensive jewel.
You guys are big on ping pong, right? How’s that going? Where are you in the standings?
I don’t want to talk about it. Just had a tough defeat in the tournament. You know, the thing is, the director who bought us the table? I’m positive he goes back and practices. Because I always lose to him in the tournament. And, then Kaley comes in wearing short, sexy clothes to like mess with us. So this year in the tournament, I wore short, sexy clothes.
Did it work for you?
No! Could you imagine me in a tank top and hot pants? Exactly! I don’t know what I was thinking. I lost. I distracted myself because I was itching.
All of that aside, is Kaley pretty good anyway?
She’s very good. She’s got a mean attitude and a mean forehand. And I think that’s what works for her.
On the last question, someone asked about Leonard Nimoy and the infamous napkin signed by him. It turns out the napkin used in the episode was not the real one. They got the real one later. Kunal pulled out his iPhone and passed around a picture of Jim Parsons holding the real napkin. This picture was priceless. The pure joy on Jim’s face was incredible. After that, Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz) took over for a brief chat. The following are excerpts of that interview.
In terms of the show’s evolution do you have any idea where things will be going?
I think that these guys don’t change much. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. They’ve figured out everything to a T and when they stray, they kind of get pulled back in. So, I think we’re going to see them constantly try to break a little from their habits, or from my mother, from being heavily immersed in video games, but they always come back and that’s where they’re comfortable.
When they’re in the Arctic and you sit down on the couch and Sheldon’s first response is, “That’s my spot…”
They can travel across the world and into a hut and its going to look exactly the same as the apartment, and he’s going to have his spot and there’s going to be freeze dried Chinese food.
With your mom, is it hard not to laugh at that stuff? It’s so hysterical, I don’t know how you don’t laugh when you’re shooting it.
You’ve just got to commit to the scene. You can laugh sometimes, [but] it’s painful too, I guess, from my character’s perspective. There’s nothing funny about it. So I can try and get into that mode, but yeah, it’s hard sometimes.
Do you find it funny?
Oh, I find it funny, yes. I laugh when we’re just reading it at the table. Once we get out there, I gotta try to keep it together.
Is the actress live on the set yelling at you from a distance?
Yeah, she’s actually right behind the door of the bedroom and I can hear her, she’s yelling. Always yelling.
What’s her name?
Her name’s Carol Ann Suzi.
[Alice]: Any chance we’ll get to see her someday?
I think they like to keep her hidden. They like that device. You leave it up to the imagination. It’s horrific what she might look like with that voice.
After that, Simon was taken away and the press panel was over. Apparently they ran long. I suspected that when I was packing up my things and suddenly Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku were in the room talking Dollhouse. They didn’t do table Q & As though, so I just relished in the fact I was a few feet away, watching them look good.