Stand-Up Citizens

10.23.18

Nik Dodani Chats His Role In CBS' "Murphy Brown"

Multiple Emmy Award winners Candice Bergen and series creator Diane English reunite for "Murphy Brown," the revival of the ground-breaking comedy about the eponymous broadcast news legend and her biting take on current events, now in a world of 24-hour cable, social media, “fake news” and a vastly different political climate. Amid a divided nation, chaotic national discourse and rampant attacks on the press, Murphy decides to return to the airwaves and recruits her FYI team: lifestyle reporter Corky Sherwood, investigative journalist Frank Fontana, and her former wunderkind news producer Miles Silverberg. Joining them is social media director Pat Patel (Nik Dodani), who is tasked with bringing Murphy and the team into the 21st century.

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** As Captioned Live ** \M\M

>>> THANKS, EVERYBODY. THANK YOU SO MUCH. KEEP CLAPPING. THANK YOU. OH, YOU'RE IN. OKAY. GREAT. I HAVEN'T EVEN SAID THE NAME OF THE GUEST. YOU'RE CLAPPING FOR ME. OUR NEXT GUEST, DOES TYPICAL STANDUP AND YOU CAN SEE HIM ON THE FANTASTIC REBOOTED "MURPHY BROWN" CURRENTLY AIRING ON CBS. TAKE A LOOK AT A CLIP.

>> I DEVELOPED AN ALGORITHM USING NON-BINARY ANALYTICS TO FIND YOU THE PERFECT ASSISTANT.

>> I NEVER KNOW WHAT THIS KID IS SAYING.

>> ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW IS THAT I FOUND YOU THE PERFECT ASSISTANT. SHE IS TIRELESS, SPEAKS MANY LANGUAGES, HAS WORLDWIDE CONNECTIONS. YOU NEVER HAVE TO TELL HER THE SAME THING TWICE. MEET -- VAL.

>> IT'S A THERMOS.

>> NO. VAL STANDS FOR VOICE ACTIVATED -- LITTLE? ACTUALLY I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE L STANDS FOR. ANYWAY, THIS IS NOT YOUR BASIC AWFUL SHELF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. THIS IS A NEXT GENERATION CUTTING EDGE PIECE OF TECH NOT EVEN ON THE MARKET YET. WATCH THIS. VAL, HOW MANY TIMES DURING HIS ADMINISTRATION HAS TRUMP LIED?

>> PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS MADE FALSE OR MISLEADING STATEMENTS 5,247 TIMES. CORRECTION. 5,248. CORRECTION. APOLOGIES. HE IS CURRENTLY AT A RALLY.

>> EVERYBODY, PLEASE WELCOME NIK DODANI. WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> CONGRATULATIONS ON "MURPHY BROWN." IT'S BACK.

>> THANK YOU. THE BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER.

>> WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING ONE OF THE ADDED CHARACTERS?

>> AH --

>> NEW GUY?

>> I'M THE NEW GUY. MILLENNIAL REPORTING FOR DUTY. THE FUN. A LOT OF FUN. I WATCHED THE SHOW AS A KID WITH MY MOM. HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS HAPPENING. I WAS LIKE THIS BIG. MY MOM WAS A HUGE FAN. NERVOUS, SUCH AN ICONIC CAST. EVERYBODY ON THIS PICTURE, BUT IT WAS, SERIOUSLY, SUCH A FUN ADVENTURE WORKING WITH THEM.

>> WHAT IS IT LIKE? YOU'RE ALSO ON A TYPICAL, HOW DIFFERENT IS IT, A DAY IN THE LIFE SHOOTING SOMETHING LIKE "MURPHY BROWN" VERSUS SHOOTING ATYPICAL?

>> WE SHOOT MURPHY IN FRONT OF A LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE EVERY FRIDAY. MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY REHEARSE. REHEARSE WITH THE CAST, WITH THE CAMERAS. GET CAMERA MOVEMENTS DOWN AND SOMETIMES SHOOT A FEW SCENES THURSDAY. MOST DONE IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE FRIDAY NIGHT.

>> DO YOU ENJOY THAT?

>> LOVE IT. FIRST EPISODE LITERALLY LIKE -- HOLDING A PHONE SHAKING, BUT --

>> SEE IT IN THE EPISODE?

>> I DON'T WANT TO USE THAT TAKE. I THINK THEY KEPT THAT ONE OUT. BUT NOW THAT WE JUST FINISHED EPISODE NINE. SO NOW IT'S JUST FUN. JUST SO MUCH FUN TO BE IN FRONT OF THE AUDIENCE. 300 PEOPLE GOING NUTS. MOST ARE FANS OF THE ORIGINAL AND SO THEY'RE REALLY SUPPORTIVE.

>> IS IT CATHARTIC TO BE ON A COMEDY SHOW ALSO TAKING PRETTY CLEAR SHOTS AT A LOT OF CURRENT EVENTS NOW?

>> YEAH. MAKES ME FEEL BETTER ABOUT NOT SIGNING PETITIONS ALL THE TIME. YOU KNOW? SO IT'S -- FEELS LIKE I'M DOING MY PART A LITTLE BIT.

>> LIKE BEING ON THE SHOW?

>> CAN I SAY THAT? WHY NOT.

>> SAY WHATEVER YOU WANT. I VOTE. YEAH. I HOPE EVERYONE HERE IS REGISTERED TO VOTE. ELECTION'S ONLY TWO WEEKS AWAY.

>> DEAR GOD. PLEASE, VOTE IN TWO WEEKS. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING IF YOU'RE NOT VOTING IN TWO WAKES. IT'S CRAZY IF YOU DON'T. I'M BACK. PEOPLE SAY VOTE I GET EXHAUSTED AND MAD AT THE IDEA OF SOMETHING NOT VOTING RIGHT NOW. VERY UPSETTING.

>> I KNOW.

>> WHAT WAS YOUR AUDITION LIKE FOR THE SHOW?

>> STRAIGHT FORWARD. WENT IN, MET WITH DIANE ENGLISH, SHOW AND CREATOR OF THE ORIGINAL, BACK FOR THIS ONE. DID MY SCENES ONCE EACH. THEY SAID, THANK YOU. I LEFT. DIDN'T THINK I'D GET IT, BECAUSE -- JUST SAID, THANK YOU. HAVE A NICE DAY. IF IT'S THAT QUICK, USUALLY IT'S OKAY, GREAT. KEEP MOVING. BUT THEN A WEEK LATER WENT BACK HAD A WORK SESSION WITH DIANE AND CASTING DIRECTORS, SPENT A HALF HOUR WORKING ON THE SCENES, AND SENT IT OFF TO CBS AND WARNER BROTHERS WHAT IS WORKING ON THE SCENES MEAN? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

>> DIANE GIVES NOTES AND DIRECTIONS.

>> TO SEE HOW WELL YOU TAKE NOTES AND DIRECTION?

>> YES AND ALSO TO HELP GET MY PERFORMANCE TO MATCH HER VISION. AND ALSO TO GET US TO A PLACE WHERE THE EXECUTIVES AND SUITS WILL LIKE IT. SHE KNOW WHAT'S THEY'RE LOOKING FOR AND TRY TO GET THE SCENE TO BE WHAT THEY WANT. WHEN THEY SEND THE VIDEO AND HAVE TO APPROVE IT OR DENY IT THEY'LL ACTUALLY LIKE WHAT THEY'RE SEEING.

>> NOT TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE LIKE, I DON'T THINK MY CHARACTER WOULD DO THAT IN THIS SCENE, DIANE?

>> YEAH. I ONLY STARTED SAYING THAT STUFF IN LIKE EPISODE FOUR.

>> GREAT. CREATE ADD MONSTER.

>> JOB SECURITY, I STARTED SPEAKING UP.

>> WHAT'S IT LIKE WORKING WITH CANDICE?

>> CANDICE IS INCREDIBLE. SO FUNNY AND SUCH A BADASS. A NOBLE PERSON, REFRESHING, FUN TO WORK WITH AND TELL YOU EXACTLY WHAT SHE THINKS. AND IT'S SO FUN, I'M LEARNING SO MUCH WORKING WITH HER, HONESTLY.

>> DID YOU GO BACK AND WATCH ANY OF THE OLD "MURPHY BROWN"'S BEFORE YOU STARTED?

>> YEAH. WARNER BROTHERS SENT A SECRET LINK TO WATCH ALL TEN SEASONS AND I WAS REALLY EXCITED. I WATCHED THE FIRST HALF OF THE FIRST SEASON BEFORE I STOPPED BECAUSE IT GOT INTIMIDATING. THE IDEA OF WATCHING THEM AND WORKING WITH THEM THE NEXT DAY WAS TOO MUCH.

>> ONLY ONE DAY FOR TEN SEASONS?

>> PRETTY MUCH.

>> CAN'T GET TOO TIRED FOR WORK?

>> DIDN'T SEND THE LINK UNTIL -- LATE. SO I'M WAITING TO WATCH THE REST OF IT.

>> WHAT'S IT LIKE HAVING WORKED ON ATYPICAL A LITTLE WHILE NOW?

>> AMAZING. WE JUST RELEASED SEASON TWO LAST MONTH AND SO DIFFERENT, BECAUSE THAT IS A SINGLE CAM COMEDY, WHICH MEANS WE SHOOT EVERY DAY ALL DAY. WELL, I DON'T. KEIR DOES MOSTLY. NO AUDIENCE, OF COURSE. YOU DO IT 10, 20 TIMES HOWEVER LONG IT TAKES TO GET THE SHOT. SO IT'S A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF EXPERIENCE. ALSO IT'S A DRAMEDY. MORE SERIOUS THAN "MURPHY BROWN" IS.

>> PLAY THE JOKES IN A, BIT OF A SUBTLER WAY THAN IN FRONTS OF THE LIVE, STUDIO AUDIENCE.

>> EXACTLY. SITCOM, BIGGER, MORE BROAD. HOLD FOR LAUGHTER. PLAYING OFF THE AUDIENCE'S ENERGY. WHEREAS A SINGLE CAM, ATYPICAL, A LOT MORE GROUNDED MORE SUBTLE AND A LITTLE QUIETER.

>> IS IT TOUGH GOING BETWEEN THE TWO OF THOSE? DO YOU FIND YOURSELVES SORT OF HAVING TO REMIND YOURSELF ADJUST?

>> YEAH. FIRST COUPLE EPISODES OF "MURPHY BROWN" BIGGEST NOTE, LOUDER! BE BIGGER! YOU'RE ON A STAGE. AND THAT KIND OF TOOK GETTING USED TO. IT'S JUST SO DIFFERENT. AND DEFAULT, SIT BACK, BE QUIETER. ON A SITCOM WITH BRIGHT LIGHTS --

>> GO BACK TO ATYPICAL THIRD SEASON, BE LIKE, CAN'T GO TO SCHOOL LIKE THAT!

>> I HOPE NOT. HOPE I'M ABLE TO GET BACK INTO THE GROOVE.

>> TURN DOWN THE "MURPHY BROWN" FOR US, YOU'RE ON "ATYPICAL" NOW.

>> HOPEFULLY A FEW MONTHS TO GET BACK TO THAT.

>> WHEN DID YOU START ACTING?

>> 11 OR 12. OLDER SISTER TAKING ACTING CLASSES AND AT THE AGE, I WANT TO DO EVERYTHING SHE WAS DOING. CAN I DO THAT, TOO? I DID IT. ONLY THING I ACTUALLY LIKED. TRIED BASKETBALL, SOCCER, KARATE, ROBOTICS ALL THE STUFF. HATED EVERYTHING.

>> IS SHE WORKING PROFESSIONALLY AS AN ACTOR?

>> SHE IS A CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST --

>> WOW. JEALOUS? YOU TOOK UP ACTING AND WENT WITH IT?

>> PROBABLY SHOULDN'T ANSWER THAT HONESTLY, SO, NO.

>> FAIR.

>> JUST HAPPY FOR ME. YEAH.

>> GREAT. "MURPHY BROWN." GREAT. CONGRATULATIONS.

>> NO. SHE'S AMAZING. SUPPORTIVE, SUPER. MY WHOLE FAMILY IS GREAT, A JAB I HOPE SHE NEVER SEES.

>> WHAT WAS IT LIKE WHEN YOU TOLD THEM YOU WANTED TO BECOME AN ACTOR?

>> MY MOM WANTED TO BE AN ACTRESS SINCE A KID. SHE WAS THRILLED. WANTED TO BE A BOLLYWOOD STAR SINCE SHE WAS REALLY YOUNG. MOVED TO MUMBAI THREE YEARS AGO TO PURSUE ACTING. TURNED 60 AND HAVING A RENAISSANCE.

>> LIVE THERE NOW?

>> PRETTY MUCH FULL TIME.

>> AUDITIONS?

>> YEAH. LIVED WITH A ROOMMATE FOR ROOM, LIKE 30 YEARS OLD.

>> SO COOL.

>> GET HER HERE.

>> LIKE A WHOLE THING.

>> STARTED SMOKING POT --

>> YEAH. PROBABLY SHOULDN'T HAVE SAID THAT.

>> THAT'S GREAT. SO SHE MOVED TO MUMBAI TO BECOME AN ACTRESS?

>> GOT SOME SMALL TV ROLES, IN A PLAY. SHE'S IN REHEARSAL. A FIRST PRESS THING TODAY, ACTUALLY. YEAH. IT'S KIND OF -- COOL. IT'S REALLY COOL TO WITNESS AND ALSO STRANGE. ASKED ME TO SMOKE HER OUT SOMETIMES AND IT'S NOT COOL.

>> YOU DON'T DO IT WITH HER?

>> RELENTED EVENTUALLY, BUT NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO DO.

>> WHY NOT?

>> YOU WANT TO SMOKE OUT YOUR MOM?

>> I DON'T SMOKE POT IN GENERAL BECAUSE IT FREAKS ME OUT. NOT THAT I'M ANTI-DRUG. I HAVE MY OWN FUN.

>> I'M WALKING OFF NOW.

>> I COULD NOT, NEVER SMOKE POT WITH MY MOTHER BECAUSE I WOULD GET FREAKED OUT. SHE WOULD GET FREAKED THAN ME. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SMOKED POT WITH HER?

>> WE SHOULD GO ON TO THE NEXT QUESTION.

>> I LIKE THIS TOPIC. SEEN ANY EPISODES OF "MURPHY BROWN"? YOUR MOM?

>> WATCHING EVERY WEEK. A HUGE FAN OF THE ORIGINAL. ALWAYS ASKING, WHAT'S CANDICE LIKE.

>> IS IT A RESPONSIBILITY TO PLAY'S RESIDENT MILLENNIAL AND REPRESENT ALL OF US?

>> YEAH. SORRY THAT I'M THE ONE PICKED TO DO THAT. ME AND JAKE. ME AND JAKE AND ACTOR DON ROCHA, NEWEST ADDITION TO THE CAST ARE THE YOUTH CAUCUS. ON SET. YEAH. SO --

>> CHARACTER'S KIND OF NERDY?

>> NERDY COOL. HE'S A NERD. ALSO A VERY FASHION-FORWARD -- KIND OF DUDE. THERE'S SOME STUFF COMING OUT LATER IN THE SEASON MAKING HILL COOLER THAN NERD. BASICALLY A FICTIONAL SELF.

>> ARE YOU KIND OF NERDY?

>> YEAH. I DIDN'T WEAR MY GLASSES BECAUSE I FEEL IT'S A ENOUGH. BUT, YEAH.

>> THAT'S ENOUGH.

>> YOU GET THE GIST ON ME. THAT'S THAT.

>> YEAH.

>> WHAT MAKES YOU NERDY?

>> UM -- WELL, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION. A REALLY GOOD QUESTION. I THINK, YOU KNOW, I'M VERY JUST -- I OBSESS OVER DIFFERENT FANDOMS AND SHOWS. MORE GEEK THAN NERD I GUESS.

>> I HAVE MY THINGS I OBSESS OVER, TOO. IT'S SAD IF YOU DON'T HAVE A THING TO OBSESS OVER.

>> I'M A HUGE HARRY POTTER NERD. HIS TATTOO.

>> CAN WE ZOOM IN AND SEE THAT TATTOO? WHAT MADE YOU GET A HARRY POTTER TATTOO?

>> THE "THE" THING. IT WAS LIKE MY EDUCATION FOR THE WORLD WHEN I WAS A KID, TAUGHT ME ABOUT EVERYTHING AND GOT ME THROUGH ALL THE DARK STUFF AS A KID AND, KNOW, WANTING TO GET SNAG REMINDED ME OF MY PAST, BUT ALSO HAD A POSITIVE MESSAGE.

>> HARRY POULTER FIGURINES, POSTERS THE BOOKS, SIGNS?

>> USED TO. USED TO DO ALL THAT STUFF. I THOUGHT I WAS A WIZARD UNTIL I WAS 15 OR SOMETHING. I STILL REALLY HOPE I AM.

>> WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WEREN'T A WIZARD? WHAT HAPPENED?

>> I JUST -- THE MAGIC NEVER CAME. JUST NEVER HAPPENED. YOU KNOW. REALLY HOPING THE AGE IN THE REAL WORLD IS NOT 11. THAT THE LIKE 30. WHEN I TURN 30 I'LL GET A LETTER IN THE MAIL. IT YOU'RE A WIZARD, NIK AND -- I'LL BE SAVED, BUT --

>> I IMAGINE BEING 15 AND TRYING TO CAST A SPELL AND A BIGGER KID WALKING BY. WIZARDS AREN'T REAL. BYE.

>> I DIDN'T DO THAT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE.

>> YEAH.

>> ARE YOU CRAZY?

>> LET'S GET QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE. WHO HAS A QUESTION?

>> WHAT'S GOING ON, NIK. CONGRATS ON THE SHOW.

>> THANK YOU.

>> WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR OWN COMEDY DO YOU GET TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE SHOW?

>> SO FOR "MURPHY BROWN," KNOW, ALL THE CREDIT GOES TO THE WRITERS AND DIANE. WHEN WE'RE DEVELOPING THE CHARACTER, DIANE WAS REALLY OPEN AND COLLABORATIVE IN DEVELOPING IT. IN TERMS OF WRITING, THIS WRITER'S ROOM IS ON IT AND THEY ARE SO SMART AND SO FUNNY. AS WE'VE GONE ON I THINK -- WE REALLY HAVE GOTTEN INTO A GROOVE. THEY FOUND MY CHARACTER'S VOICE MORE, AND WRITING TOWARDS MY STRENGTHS AND, YOU KNOW, CREDIT REALLY GOES TO THEM.

>> NEXT QUESTION.

>> HI, NIK. I'VE SEEN YOU DO STAND-UP ON THE LATE SHOW AND ENJOYED IT. WONDERED DID YOU START DOING STAND JUSTIFY AFTER ACCESS AS AN ACTOR AND DO YOU INTEND TO PURSUE STANDUP COMEDY?

>> STARTED STAND-UP THREE AND A HALF YEARS AGO. ACTING WASN'T GOING SO WELL. FREE TIME. WANTED TO DO SOMETHING. GET 0 ONSTAGE. EVERYONE IN L.A. DOES STAND-UP. I'LL TRY IT AND I LOVE IT. IT'S SO MUCH FUN. A REALLY FUN THING TO DO AND ALLOWS ME TO HAVE A CREATIVE OUTLET OF MY OWN. AND I'M TAKING A BREAK NOW. SHOOTING "MURPHY" IT'S A HANDFUL, BUT EXCITED TO EXPLORE THE NEW YORK SCENE ESPECIALLY.

>> ARE YOU -- HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT WRITING YOUR MATERIAL?

>> START WITH A REALLY SAD, DEPRESSING STORY. OR TRAUMATIC INCIDENT. AND THEN KIND OF JUST TRY TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT FUNNY. OH, ALSO CONSTANTLY TAKING NOTES ON MY PHONE OF THINGS I THINK ARE RANDOMLY FUNNY OR NOT AND --. WITH YOUR MOM?

>> AH -- YEAH.

>> SORRY.

>> NO. I -- MY FAULT. I BROUGHT IT UP. BUT, YOU KNOW -- ALSO, WORKING WITH OTHER COMEDIANS, WORKSHOP WITH FRIENDS AND RUN JOKES. WE PUNCH EACH OTHER JOKES UP AND STUFF LIKE THAT.

>> COOL. "MURPHY BROWN" IS ON CBS NOW. IT'S GREAT, FUNNY. CONGRATULATIONS ON THE SHOW. "ATYPICAL" SEASON TWO ON NETFLIX. DROPPED ABOUT A MONTH AGO.

>> YEAH.

>> A REALLY GREAT SEASON OF THE SHOW. CONGRATULATIONS. YOU'RE IN A, THRILLER COMING OUT IN JANUARY AS WELL.

>> YES.

>> RIGHT?

>> YES. "ESCAPE ROOM." A FAN OF ESCAPE ROOMS AND/OR DEATH --

>> IS THAT --

>> IN REAL LIFE YOU WALK OUT BUT IN THIS MOVIE, YOU DIE. AH -- SO, YOU KNOW. LIKE A FUN -- SILLY THRILLER.

>> FANTASTIC. COMES OUT IN JANUARY?

>> JANUARY 4th.

>> AMAZING.

>> THEATERS NEAR YOU. I DON'T KNOW. [ LAUGHTER ]

>> THAT WAS GOOD! THEY SHOULD PUT YOUR VOICE AT THE END OF THE TRAILER.

>> YEAH. WHY NOT?

>> IN THEATERS NEAR YOU. I DON'T KNOW.

>> I GUESS.

>> YEAH. EVERYBODY, A BIG ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR NIK DODANI. LET'S HEAR IT. [ APPLAUSE ]

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