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Here's the 'audacious' 9/11 joke from Kumail Nanjiani's The Big Sick

Watch a scene from the new comedy

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Kumail Nanjiani’s character in The Big Sick — who is also named Kumail Nanjiani — has a lot on his plate. He and his girlfriend, Emily (Zoe Kazan), have recently broken up, only for Emily to come down with an undiagnosed illness and fall into a coma. Also, he’s been keeping his relationship with Emily a secret from his traditional Muslim parents, who are eager to set him up in an arranged marriage. Oh, and he’s also navigating the perils of meeting Emily’s parents for the first time… in the hospital… with their daughter in a coma.

In this new clip from the upcoming comedy, things get even more awkward when Emily’s father (Ray Romano) decides that he’d like to “have a conversation” with the Pakistan-born Kumail about the 9/11 terror attacks. Jokes Kumail in response, “It was a tragedy. We lost 19 of our best guys.” After a moment of uncomfortable silence, he adds, “That was a joke. Obviously.”

After the film’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, the one-liner (seen in the video above) was called “audacious,” a “[brave] gamble,” and the “best 9/11 joke ever made.”

The Big Sick is based on Nanjiani’s real-life relationship with his now-wife Emily V. Gordon, and the pair co-wrote the script together, with Michael Showalter directing and Judd Apatow producing. The film premiered earlier this year to rave reviews at Sundance, and despite the heavy premise, Nanjiani swears that it’s not your standard sick-person weepie.

“It sounds so serious on paper: A Pakistani guy whose parents want him to have an arranged marriage has his white girlfriend go into a coma,” Nanjiani told EW earlier this year. “But it is a comedy!”

The Big Sick will hit theaters June 23.