Broadway fans, B Positive stans, those who miss Masters of Sex and those who just love angelic voices: Be aware that Annaleigh Ashford serenades Kumail Nanjiani with the disco classic “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” in the opening moments of the video above.
His amused response: “Is that a real song?”
We’ll put aside our umbrage on Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand’s behalves and instead focus on Nanjiani and Ashford’s new series: Welcome to Chippendales, Hulu’s look at the true-life rise and fall of the iconic, gyrating all-male revue and the man who created it.
Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, Obi-Wan Kenobi) and plays Somen “Steve” Banerjee, who is a gas-station attendant at the beginning of the series’ premiere. But he dreams of achieving the American dream and eventually settles on opening a nightclub in late 1970s Los Angeles. After a few false starts, he strikes gold with the idea of a “strip club for women,” featuring an all-male show. Chippendales would go on to become a household name in the 1980s, with several clubs across the country and touring casts both in the United States and abroad.
In the video above, Ashford — who portrays Irene, Steve’s wife — references Saturday Night Live‘s 1990 sketch about Chippendales, in which host Patrick Swayze and cast member Chris Farley play dancers competing for a spot on the revue’s roster. Nanjiani adds that he was aware of the troupe “as an American institution, and I knew that sketch, but I didn’t know anything about the story behind it. I assumed, ‘The excess of the 80s!'”
As Welcome to Chippendales unfolds — particularly after the arrival of Murray Bartlett (White Lotus) as choreographer/Steve’s business parter Nick De Noia — Banerjee’s insecurities grow along with his business. Eventually, the story becomes a tale of murder and deceit… of which Ashford was aware, she says, thanks to her mom’s love of true crime.
“That’s a dramatic, uncomfortable, very twisty-turny, can’t-believe-it-happened-in-real-life show,” she remembers thinking upon hearing the story. “That must be television.”
Welcome to Chippendales‘ cast also includes Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey), Juliette Lewis (Yellowjackets), Andrew Rannells (Girls5Eva), Robin de Jesús (Law & Order: SVU), Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel) and Quentin Plair (Roswell, New Mexico.) Robert Siegel (Pam & Tommy) wrote and executive-produced the series; EPs also include Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, Dylan Sellers, Rajiv Joseph and Mehar Sethi.
Welcome to Chippendales will premiere with two episodes on Tuesday; the rest of the eight-episode season will follow with one hour released each Tuesday.
Press PLAY on the video above to hear Nanjiani and Ashford tee up the show, then hit the comments: Are you planning to watch?