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Comic-Con 2011: 'The Big Bang Theory's' Kunal Nayyar (Q&A)

The actor recalls being worried about filling up a 1,000-person ballroom ahead of the show's first appearance at the annual event.

Kunal Nayyar
Matt Kennedy/CBS
Kunal Nayyar

With hundreds of thousands of people attending San Diego Comic-Con every year and the July 20-24 event quickly approaching, The Hollywood Reporter chatted with the big names in television to discuss their favorite memories and tips for attending the annual event. THR’s Live Feed will talk Comic-Con with actors, writers and producers in the days leading up to the event so check back soon for interviews and the latest news on panels and screenings.

Kunal Nayyar

Geek Cred: CBS’ The Big Bang Theory
Comic-Con panel: Friday, July 22, 12:30 p.m. Ballroom 20

THR: What’s one thing that stands out from your first Comic-Con?
Kunal Nayyar:
Our first year, we had just come on the air. I didn’t know what to expect with our fan base because it was our first season and we had never been. We were worried. We asked the publicist for the show, “How big is this room we’re having the panel in?” She said, “It can hold about 1,000 people.” We asked if we could get a smaller room because we weren’t sure if people were going come. When we came in, we heard that people had been lining up for hours and they had to turn people away. When the cast came onstage thousands of people were screaming our names. It felt like we were in a rock band. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed in that moment.

THR: What questions do you recommend fans not as at panels?
Nayyar:
The only thing that bugs me is when someone knows I’m on the show and says, “Kaley Cuoco’s hot.” She’s like a sister to me so if that’s going be your only comment about the show, I don’t want to talk to you.

THR: The Barenaked Ladies played Big Bang Theory’s panel last year. What makes a kick-ass panel?
Nayyar:
Gag reels are really fun. The panels I enjoy are the ones that are the most honest. The Barenaked Ladies one was so cool because it was done in such a classy way. I would stay away from gimmicks because people come to see the cast, crew and creators and want to ask questions. I would love the audience to just hang out and talk as opposed to creating hoopla, which creates a barrier between fan and cast member.

THR: Who throws the best parties?
Nayyar:
I love going to the G4 sci-fi-type parties. Last year I was having shots with Darth Vader and wound up in the bathroom next to a Stormtrooper. The Xbox parties are fun because you get to play video games for hours and no one can say, “Stop playing video games because your brain is going fry.”

Comic-Con 2011: The TV Lineup

THR: What tips do you have for Comic-Con first-timers?
Nayyar: Carry hand sanitizer because you’re going to be shaking a lot of hands. If you want to go on the floor, go in disguise because otherwise you won’t be able to. I would just put on a full Darth Vader costume and walk through Comic-Con so I can actually check it out and enjoy it as opposed to being approached by everyone, which is lovely but it gets very difficult to enjoy because there’s so many people there.

THR: If you were to attend in costume, what would it be?
Nayyar:
A Stormtrooper; I’ve always wanted to dress like one.

THR: When you first read the script for the finale, what was your reaction to Penny and Raj hooking up?
Nayyar:
It was a surprise to me. There was nothing during the season that indicated that’s where the story was heading.

THR: What would you like to see happen next?
Nayyar:
It would be very difficult for Penny (Cuoco) and Raj to have a future because he doesn’t talk to women and because of the friendship the four guys as well as Penny’s loyalty to the guys. It’s obvious they both felt, at least he at some level, felt like that was a mistake. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens. I hope that Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Raj stay friends.   

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit