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Dave Bautista finally gets his Stuber wrap gift from Kumail Nanjiani on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live!

While wrestler-turned-actor and literal-minded superhero Dave Bautista’s first comic lead hasn’t perhaps gone according to plan, it’s hard not to root for the big lug. Appearing on Wednesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Bautista revealed that he’d been so grateful and excited about this latest career milestone that he bought personalized wrap gifts for every cast and crew member on Stuber, the mismatched buddy comedy he’s in with Kumail Nanjiani. (And which our own A.A. Dowd evaluated with particularly clear-eyed harshness, perhaps risking a Demon Bomb in the process.)

Kimmel, as is his way, set up his guest for one of those on-air surprises he likes so much, bringing out a sheepish Nanjiani, who attempted to rectify his own lack of wrap party generosity by gingerly giving his burly co-star a nicely wrapped offering. Bautista, famously an avid lunch box collector (what, an enormous guy can’t have hobbies?), successfully sussed out Kumail’s tardy present (a Bruce Lee lunchbox filled with gluten-free snacks), before wrapping his (relatively) diminutive new pal in an appropriately gargantuan bear hug. (And while Bautista admitted he already has a Bruce Lee lunchbox, he doesn’t have this particular Bruce Lee lunchbox, so all is well.) As was the case with his vocal loyalty to his fired-then-rehired Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn, Bautista’s bonded pretty hard with Nanjiani, calling their Stuber-forged real-life friendship “a real man-love.” (And, according to photographic evidence, Nanjiani’s time with Bautista seems to have rubbed off in the form of his own comics-inspired new gym rat physique.)

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As to Bautista’s future in comedy, Kimmel played upon the burly Bautista’s pugnacious persona in a commercial bit, ostensibly for the star’s first-ever Netflix standup special, fittingly titled I’ve Never Done This Before. It’s basically the Rainier Wolfcastle gag, but with more knock-knock jokes and a concluding beat-down of a heckling audience critic in place of Wolfcastle’s barrage of automatic weapons fire. So, again, A.A., watch your back, son.

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.