Q: What was it about the show ďMike and MollyĒ that really drew you to wanting to be a part of it and the role?
A: Well, at the time I was broke. I saw it and I had just graduated from NYU and it was my first opportunity to audition for a sitcom. It felt like, hey, Iíll do this. It looked like fun. I get to play a character where I can celebrate my family by bringing about an uncle or a cousin or whatever. I sort of just played around in the audition and then forgot about it. After a month from after I did the audition, which I put on tape in New York, I got a call saying that they want to fly me out to test me for the show, and Iím like, what? They want to fly me out of town? Oh my god, whatís going on, okay? You know, I was in shock because I wasnít sure where I was as far as my auditioning, as far as television, because for me everything was theater. So when they said they want to fly me out to test me, everything after that was just icing, you know, whipped cream, all kinds of stuff. Ice cream on top of icing on top of whipped cream on top of ice cream on top of a cherry. So when they said they want to fly me out to test me, Iím like, they want to fly me out and test me? What? Really? Oh my God! I donít have to pay for it? Okay, all right! Then they were like, they will put you up in a hotel. Theyíre going to put me up in a hotel? Yeah, right. Yeah, theyíre going to put you up in a hotel. Okay, all right! I donít have to pay for it? Nope, you donít have to pay for it. Okay, all right! Then they were going to pay for my meals per diem. Iím like, what? Theyíre going to pay for my meals? Hold on now. Now youíre playing with me. Theyíre going to pay for my meals? Yeah, theyíre going to pay for your meals. Oh my God. Then when you go to the studio, catch a cab and theyíre going to reimburse you and I'm like okay, yeah, all right. When they said they were going to reimburse me I thought, reimburse? Whatís that mean? They will pay you back. They will pay me back? What? Okay! I mean, it was all icing. They said theyíre going to meet you at Gate 7 at Warner Brothers, youíre going to go to a certain building, I think 136, Iím not sure which one, but I say okay, cool. When I get there, itís like a flashback moment, because two years earlier when I graduated from NYU we all get mentors and my mentor was Danny Pino from ďCold Case.Ē Danny was like, meet me at Gate 7, then Iíll take you over to meet the cast and then weíll do a little tour of Warner Brothers and then weíll sit down at a certain building and swap thoughts. I was like cool, did all that, and then fast-forward two years later, I go to Gate 7 and Iím like, this all looks familiar, oh my God! Wait a minute. So I go to the building, and Iím like why this is the same building Danny and I had our conversation in, oh my God! Everything was lining up. Then I go into the room and I meet with Nikki Valco, and Nikki Valco was like is this your first test? Iím like yeah, this is my first test, I know nothing. So she says okay, thatís good, you know nothing, okay. Then I go in and I see Chuck Lorre and Mark Roberts, and then Nikki is like, this is Nyambi Nyambi, this is his first test, and he knows nothing. Iím like yep, I know nothing. Chuck Lorre is like, thatís great. Then I asked him does he have anything for me and Chuck Lorre says, I love your instincts, just do what you do. Hearing that was so much validation as far as just, youíre in your head trying to figure out who you are as an artist, what you bring to the table, whether or not itís good enough, and to hear him say he loves my instincts, just do what you do, I mean I was ready to do anything at that moment. So when I started, this laugh came out of both of them, especially Chuck, he just laughed. He has this unique laugh that is so contagious that it makes you want to make him laugh even more. Already then, I was like, Iím in heaven. Then I finished that and then went into the actual test and I did so well, thatís great, and fifteen minutes later I got the call that I got the job. It was all just right, it just seemed right.
Q: Is that your most recent project, or have you been getting to work on a couple of films or other projects as well?
A: For me, this has been the most recent project. Everything prior to that has been all theater, and last summer I had the summer to travel, so I traveled around to different countries to see theater in different places. This will be the first summer that Iím pursuing work outside of ďMike and MollyĒ so weíll see. Weíre working on that right now.
Q: Is there anything about your role as Samuel that you found challenging?
A: There have been episodes where you may have two or three lines, but theyíre like killer lines and you have to nail it. Thatís a challenge in many ways. With theater you go through a long process and you find the character over a long period of time, whereas this character, you donít know who he is from week to week because it can change from week to week in television and you only know whatís been given so far. That was the challenge as far as building the character, but then what you find out is that whatever you brought to the table to begin with is the character. The other difficult thing about the character is also, because the character is Senegalese, and my family was Nigerian, and just being able to bring a character that was not only Senegalese, but also someone that people will love and laugh at. So that was a challenge.
Q: The show is just so funny and Melissa McCarthy and the entire cast has such wonderful great chemistry. Has that come organically or did it take a little bit of time to develop?
A: Nah, it was natural from day one. When we were shooting the pilot we all looked at each other and were like, man, thereís something in the water here. Thereís something special here. It was love from day one. The humility that was coming from each and every one of us, because for some of these guys, for example this was the seventeenth pilot for Billy (Gardell) and he was going to be heading back to Pittsburgh. This was his last test, the last project he was pursuing, and if he failed to get that he was going to go back to Pittsburgh. Everyone in the cast has a story that led them to fully and truly appreciate the moment that weíre in right now.
Q: Has comedic timing been something thatís been natural for you or is that something that youíve studied?
A: You know whatís funny? I mean, comedic timing, I have a way of thinking as far as whatís funny. After years, I guess, of watching sitcoms and standup comics, and my own warped, weird sense of humor. People just happen to find it funny as far as the timing. Even in grad school weíre taught to be clowns and the art of play, so itís just me playing and sort of finding the truth in play and teasing out moments. They taught us how to play with time and itís all about finding the truth in play.
Q: The show continues to get such great critical acclaim. Melissa has had a huge year. What do you think it is about the show that has drawn in so many viewers?
A: A, itís funny. Thatís first of all. B, I think the genuine love between Mike and Molly, the relationship between the two and how vulnerable they are. I think that also is what draws people to the show. Itís a heart-felt show, itís something you can truly believe in because weíve all been in situations like these. This people, you see their lives that they live, you see where they live, and you can say oh yeah, I believe that. Itís honest. I think the showís honest. Then also at the end of the day I think the cast and our relationships with each other off screen, I think that shines through the screen. Weíre all great friends off-screen.
Q: What kind of feedback have you been getting from fans? Do people stop you on the street and recognize you from the show?
A: Yesterday a guy walked by, saw me, and said ďhey funny manĒ and kept on walking. Iím like, all right, all right. There was another guy at RiteAid a couple of days ago. He saw me and he looked at me and said, you know, you look like an actor. Iím like, I do? Yeah, you look like an actor. Iím like, oh, okay. He said yeah, you should really think about acting. So I said okay, yeah, you think so? He was like yeah, yeah, you know you start at what you do, you start off as an extra, call up central casting, and work your way up, thatís how you do it. Good luck to you brother. I was like, thank you! Thank you very much. It was really the best advice, really, I loved hearing it, I thought it was great.
Q: Is there a place online that people can go to learn more about you?
A: Iím on Twitter and Iím on Facebook. You can get to know more about me there. One of the things I do, well I havenít been posting a lot of them lately but Iíll start again, is last year I posted a movie a day that I watched. I watched three-hundred-and-fifty-five movies in three-hundred-and-sixty-five days, and Iím doing that again. Iím on three-hundred-and-fifty-six. So thereís stuff like that and I post pictures from the show. Iím on there @nyambinaymbi on Twitter.
Q: For people who are really big fans of the show and have become really big fans of your work from it, what would you really like to say to them?
A: First of all, I want to say thank you. I am completely humbled by the love and the generous words that our fans have expressed. Keep watching and try to get friends to watch. Go to your local churches, your local swap meet, supermarket, and let everybody know that you love ďMike and MollyĒ and that they should be watching it.