Nature calls comedians, scientists to think dirty in ‘Poop Talk’

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Oscar nominee Kumail Nanjiani is among the comedians telling graphic stories in “Poop Talk.” | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Here’s a philosophical query that’s worth pondering from your porcelain throne: Should talking about poo be taboo?

Before you laugh, think about it. Should humans be uncomfortable talking about something that everyone does, regardless of age, race, religion, income or gender?

OK, now you can laugh.

At least that’s what Chicago-based director Aaron Feldman hopes you do while watching “Poop Talk,” now showing at Facets Cinematheque. The documentary aims to open a dialogue about doo-doowith the help of dozens of scientists and comedians.

Guests include Dr. Drew Pinsky (who explains that being grossed out by feces has evolutionary purposes), a skittish Eric Stonestreet (the “Modern Family” actor says he can’t poop ina public restroom), a candid Nicole Byer (she talks about using a plane toilet while eating a burger), a wise Rob Corddry (he owns a tricked-out bidet) and theaffable Kumail Nanjiani.

Nicole Byer shares a graphic personal anecdote in “Poop Talk.” | PROVIDED PHOTO

Nicole Byer shares a graphic personal anecdote in “Poop Talk.” | PROVIDED PHOTO

Yes, that’s the same Nanjianiwho recently earned an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay forhis personal love story, “The Big Sick.”

The critically acclaimed comedycontains its own poop scene, asKumail tries to figure out why his girlfriend, Emily (played by Zoe Kazan), wants to go to a diner at 3 a.m. for, she says, “a cup of coffee.”

“Why are you being so weird?” Kumail asks a shifty Emily, who finally reveals her hidden motive: “I have to take a huge [freaking] dookie!”

In “Poop Talk,” Nanjiani says there are plenty more scatological stories where that one came from.

There’s the joke his dad used to tell about how swallowing gum would make your poop become “a yo-yo.” Nanjiani hated that line, especially because as a child he avoided pooping at all costs.

“I figured [that poop is] all the stuff your body doesn’t need. So if I could figure out the formula and just eat what my body needs, it would all get absorbed into me and then I would never have to poop, right?” he says.

The former Chicago comedian also recalls a time when he was 8 years old. He was talking to another kid at a party, “and I noticed he had [pooped] himself,” Nanjiani says. “He looked me dead in the eyes and said, ‘That’s not poo; it’s party cream.’ “

Can you handle that story? Then you should be able to watch “Poop Talk.”

Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY

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