Emily V. Gordon is an American therapist turned writer, producer, and podcast host, who is best known as the co-creator of the stand-up comedy television show ‘The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail’ and as the co-writer of the semi-autobiographical romantic comedy film ‘The Big Sick’, which her husband comedian, Kumail Nanjiani, acted in. He also wrote the story of the film along with her, and they based it primarily on the incidents that happened before they could get married. In the film, her character, which was renamed to Emily Gardner, was played by Zoe Kazan, while her parents were portrayed by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. The film has been immensely successful and has earned over five times its budget, becoming one of the highest-grossing independent films of 2017. Since she left her job as a therapist, she worked as a freelance writer with a number of prestigious publications like the ‘Bust’ magazine, ‘AOL’, ‘The Daily Beast’, ‘The Atlantic’, 'GQ', ‘Mashable’, and ‘The New York Times’. She also wrote contents for the websites ‘Power Up’ and ‘ExploreD’ at Disney.com, and the tongue-in-cheek self-improvement guide book, ‘SuperYou: Release Your Inner Superhero’ in 2015. She worked as a writer on ‘The Carmichael Show’ on NBC.
The Meteoric Rise to Stardom
Following her marriage to Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, found it increasingly difficult to spend time together with her husband as with his rising popularity, his schedules also became more hectic, and they could hardly meet outside of his work environment. Already dissatisfied with her job as a therapist, she eventually determined to switch career and look for different ways to sustain herself. By 2009, she started booking standup comedy shows for live audiences and television, which gradually led to writing jobs.
In 2010, she created the comedy show ‘The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail’ with Jonah Ray and her husband Kumail as co-hosts. The next year, she was approached by comedian and actor Chris Hardwick to turn the location in the back of Meltdown Comics into a curated comedy venue, Nerdist Showroom, where she served as the program director till 2012. The show was later broadcast as a TV program on Comedy Central in 2014. She did freelance writing jobs for various publications for a while, and started working on a semi-autobiographical story with Kumail, covering their unique love story. After it was made into the hugely successful film ‘The Big Sick’ in 2017, she attained the status of a celebrity.
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Sudden Illness and Marriage
Emily V. Gordon met her future husband Kumail Nanjiani at a stand-up set at Chicago’s Lincoln Lodge, where she had heckled him during his show. He approached her after the show and playfully accused her of interrupting his act. In the ensuing conversation, they got to know each other, following which he showed her what her name looks like in Urdu writing, a signature pickup move he often employed.
The two soon started dating, but the relationship came to a sudden halt eight months later after she became sick with a mysterious inflammatory disease. She had to be put into medically induced coma to prevent further spreading of the disease. After eight days of performing various tests on her, doctors discovered that she had adult-onset Still's disease (AOSD), an extremely rare form of arthritis which, if left untreated, can shut down vital organs. In the meantime, Kumail mustered the courage to tell his parents about his relationship, which was kept secret from them as he was certain that his conservative parents would not consent to the union. However, it is most probably because she was in a coma that they were more supportive than they would have been. However, as soon as she was well enough, his parents insisted that they get married. They subsequently got married in a secret courthouse wedding in Chicago on July 14, 2007. Two weeks later, they had a three-day-long traditional Muslim-Pakistani wedding arranged by Kumail's family. However, the marriage was still kept secret from many of their friends and acquaintances in order to avoid detailing all the circumstances that led to the sudden decision. A few years later, they held a reception at a bar in New York to announce the news of their marriage.
Emily Vance Gordon was born on May 3, 1979 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and later MS/EdS in couples and family counseling from there. After completing her education, Emily V. Gordon began her career as a couples and family therapist in North Carolina in 2004. For her practice, she moved to Chicago, Illinois in 2005, and again to Brooklyn, New York in 2007. After becoming a writer, she relocated to Los Angeles in 2010.