The ‘Welcome to Chippendales’ cast couldn’t keep silent for strip scenes

There was no way to keep calm This set to.

The cast of Welcome to Chippendales – the limited series that fictionalizes the tragic story of the groundbreaking all-male strip club – could hardly contain their enthusiasm during the strip scenes.

“We’d have to be silent on some takes,” said Annaleigh Ashford, who played Irene, the wife of club owner Somen “Steve” Banerjee.

“When the guys ripped their pants off during the silent taping, we’d all still scream.”

“Not on purpose,” added lead actor Kumail Nanjiani, who portrayed the doomed Banerjee on the show, which premieres Nov. 22 on Hulu.

Kumail Nanjiani, Annaleigh Ashford
Kumail Nanjiani and Annaleigh Ashford played real-life couple Steve and Irene Banerjee.
Erin Simkin/Hulu

In preparation for playing his character, 44-year-old Nanjiani spent some time asking himself, “How can you understand a guy doing things that don’t inherently make sense?”

Banerjee, an immigrant from India, founded Chippendales in Los Angeles in 1979 and opened a second location in Midtown in 1983.

His business partner, famed choreographer Nick De Noia, played by Emmy Award-winner Murray Bartlett of The White Lotus, ran their New York venue, and Banerjee had him assassinated while sitting in his office on West 40th Street.

Hours before his sentencing, Banerjee hanged himself in his federal prison cell, preventing the government from seizing his assets. His fortune passed to Irene, who had two children with him, including a son Christian, who started his own business, Strippendales, in 2020.

Nanjiani as Banerjee
To play the doomed Banerjee, Nanjiani spent a lot of time asking himself, “How can you understand a guy doing things that don’t inherently make sense?”
Erin Simkin/Hulu

Though the real story is murky, the set was “super joyful,” according to Ashford, who won a Tony Award on Broadway for her work in You Can’t Take It With You.

Nanjiani appreciated the fact that he didn’t have to remove his shirt, unlike his peers who stripped down to their G-strings.

The cast of Welcome to Chippendales
“So if the guys ripped their pants during the silent taps…we’d all still just scream,” Ashford said.
Erin Simkin/Hulu

“I’m grateful every day when I eat cake, cheesecake and chicken sandwiches,” said the Pakistan-born, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Big Sick.

“I ate a lot of ice cream. I ate about four meals a day. It was amazing,” said Nanjiani, who transformed his body for the 2021 Marvel film Eternals and debuted his toned abs on Instagram before filming ended in July.

Actor Quentin Plair, on the other hand, took off his clothes – and was “really nervous”.

Quentin Plair, Murray Bartlett
Quentin Plair (r) who played a Chippendales dancer with Murray Bartlett who portrayed choreographer Nick De Noia.
Lara Solanki/Hulu

“I’m not an exhibitionist. I’m not a stripper. I’m not even a dancer,” explained Plair, 34, who played Otis. “And you know, we’re in there, hundreds of women are waiting for me there.”

However, all ended on a high note.

“We literally had to stop the scene because the background was so loud we couldn’t hear anything,” Plair said.

“There was a very palpable energy in the club … it was like, ‘Oh, that’s why it got big the way it was.'” The ‘Welcome to Chippendales’ cast couldn’t keep silent for strip scenes

Emma Bowman

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