Calling emergency services when it turns out there's no real emergency is one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a person - but it certainly informed some great comedy for comedian Kumail Nanjiani, who spoke about his experience on 'The Ellen Show' this week.

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon at the BAFTA Los Angeles tea partyKumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon at the BAFTA Los Angeles tea party

The 'Silicon Valley' star, who last year wrote and appeared in his semi-autobiographical film 'The Big Sick' last year, talks about how sometimes moments with his wife and writing partner Emily V. Gordon helps him write jokes. He opens up about one exchange in particular that took place at 4am recently.

'She woke me up and she's like, 'Do you smell that?'' He recalled to Ellen Degeneres. 'I smell something so I go, 'Yeah, I do smell something' and she goes, 'What do you think it is?' I go, 'I don't know' and she goes, 'I think it's trouble'. Before I could say anything she's got her laptop open and she's Googling smells. Because there's no Shazam for smells.'

'In a messageboard she finds what it probably is', he continues. 'Probably just a wire on fire in one of the walls and tonight we're all gonna perish. So I'm like, 'Let's take care of it in the morning', she's already calling 911. And as she's talking to them, I said, 'Please don't say the phrase 'wire on fire' because it rhymes and it's gonna make us look really stupid'. So she's like, 'It's probably not a big deal, there's a smell and what it probably is is in the walls there's probably a wire... ablaze'.'

And it gets hilariously worse; not only is it dawning on them that it probably wasn't worth phoning up the fire service about their issue, but the help that came felt a little overkill for the situation.

'I'm like, 'Tell them not to send fire trucks because it's nothing'', he adds. 'Four fire trucks show up thirty seconds later! And then she looks at me and goes, 'Not it!' which is what we do when we order food to our house. But if you call 911, you gotta get the door!'

Needless to say, the fire fighters that came served to make him feel a little more stupid. 'I open the door and there's three tall fireMEN. They're 'men'', he explains. 'They're taller than me in every way, physically and spiritually... And I kind want to yell to Emily, 'Emily, they're real men! There's men outside our home!' It's exciting.'

More: Read our review of 'The Big Sick'

At least they managed to solve what was causing the mystery smell. 'They go, 'You called about the smell?' and I'm like, 'Yeah...', and they said, 'You mean the skunk?'' While Kumail has indeed encountered a skunk before, that kind of smell that early in the morning doesn't exactly feel like the most familiar thing in the world.