One of the cast members on the hit sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, was specifically asked to be unfunny. The Big Bang Theory premiered in 2007, and lasted twelve seasons, becoming a wildly popular comedy show. Along with a main cast that audiences loved, including fan-favorite Jim Parsons, the show featured many series regulars, guest stars, and other cast members.
One of the celebrities who appeared on the show, Aarti Mann, wasn't familiar with The Big Bang Theory before she was cast as Raj's (Kunal Nayyar) sister, Priya Koothrappali. Mann also didn't have a background in comedy. However, this worked out for the actress, because Mann was specifically asked to be unfunny during her time on the show.
The Big Bang Theory became hugely successful, and its main cast members have become stars because of the show. There were many memorable appearances by celebrity guest-stars who have spoken about the show, including Adam West, James Earl Jones and Bill Nye.
One of the show's cast members, Aarti Mann, did not expect to be hired for the series. Mann was specifically told to be unfunny during her time on the show.
Before being hired on the show, actress Aarti Majmudar, who goes by stage name Aarti Mann, didn't have a background in comedy, and was unfamiliar with The Big Bang Theory. However, she landed a role on the hit series during the show's fourth, fifth and sixth seasons.
The Suits actress was cast as Raj Koothrappali's (Kunal Nayyar) younger sister, Priya Koothrappali, and Leonard Hofstadter's (Johnny Galecki) love interest.
Prior to being cast, she had studied film in college, and then was "bit by the acting bug," while working on the 2006 film, The Memsahib.
About being cast on The Big Bang Theory, Mann said, "I convinced them to give me a featured extra part just so I could be in front of the camera."
When asked how she ended up being cast on the show, Mann said, laughing, "I'm asking myself the same question," joking that she doesn't know why she was cast.
Show creators might have a certain idea in their head for how they see the characters on their show acting or behaving. They might allow certain characters to improvise, or not allow actors to stray from the script at all.
Some showrunners might also encourage guest-stars and series regulars to be funny when they can, especially if they're working on a comedy show. However, not every character on a show has to be hilarious or try to get laughs, and sometimes just having a straight-laced, or an unfunny character on a comedy show can be comedic itself.
On the hit series, The Big Bang Theory, Aarti Mann, who played Priya, Raj's sister, and a love interest for Leonard, was asked to be unfunny by co-creator Chuck Lorre.
Mann said that during rehearsals for her scenes, if she would try to say her lines or do things comically, Chuck Lorre would remind her to do things "simply."
"Whenever we're rehearsing, I'll try to play it in a more comedic way and (executive producer) Chuck (Lorre) always comes in and says, 'Play it simply. You're beautiful when you're simple.
Mann added, "I'm constantly told to reel it back in. I think I'm giving them what they need for the show. Every sitcom needs their straight man or straight woman."
Aarti Mann, had a background in acting, but not comedy. Mann added that the role she auditioned for eventually changed into the character she portrayed.
According to Deseret News, Mann said, "The character changed completely. Originally she was engaged and she was going to get married and Leonard was her last fling. We rehearsed it over the week and it became just Priya making a booty call."
She continued, "It was revealed to me after we shot the show that (executive producer) Bill (Prady) wanted to leave the option open for Priya to come back later in the season."
After she shot her first episode, Mann went to India with her husband for seven weeks. Almost as soon as she returned, her agent called to let her know the show wanted her to return.
About her character, Mann said, "It's fun to see how Priya has changed. She's made strong turns, and it's been fun to see how fan sentiment has turned with it."
Mann has also mentioned she would like to get into more dramatic role, "that involves crying and screaming and turmoil." She also added that she wouldn't mind doing more commercials. "I'd really love to get back into commercials, actually. I love how quick and breezy they are. And honestly, they pay really well."
Mann added that although her parents are doctors, they always firmly supported her and her siblings pursuing careers "all over the artistic side of things."
"Our parents were so supportive of us. My mom always knew I was going to be an actor because I was a ham from the very beginning, so she would push me toward it."
Since the show, she has appeared on The Recruit, The Good Doctor, and several other shows. Mann is also directing and writing.