It's been awhile since the old stereotype that "women aren't funny" was put to bed and thankfully now the "humorless feminist" trope is also meeting its demise.
Aparna Nancherla, the new face of the comedy central, is slowly taking over the standup comedy world. She's got a web series, a podcast, has done writing for late night comedy shows like, Late Night with Seth Meyers, has been featured on Marc Maron, the Nerdist Podcast with Chris Hardwick, XM Radio, and on countless lists including Time Magazine’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2014 and is currently touring with her latest comedy album “Just Putting It Out There” across America.
Nancherla is a welcome change of pace in an art form that is predominantly manic. Her jokes have an existential bent and are delivered at a slower, steadier pace, which allows audiences to pick up on the subtleties. Nancherla's comic act has a near-constant stream of one liners that call out the absurdities of the modern world. For example, this one-liner: “Don’t you think any pizza can be a personal one if you cry while you eat it?” With her oddball wit, she spins dorky puns into absurd ruminations on life.
Aparna Nancherla’s petite size and moderate stage presence suggests a different style of comedy than the gregarious personalities who often grace Netflix and Comedy Central. She may seem quieter, but if anything that only underscores her deadpan wit is by hitting audiences with her classic one or two punch of the unexpected.
Nancherla also has one of the most consistently funny Twitter feeds, filled with gems like, "A handful of almonds is a sensible snack to throw in someone's face & demand where the real snacks are." Below are some of her twitter feeds:
Nancherla’s humor both on and off social media is witty and deadpan, while she even has emotional and vulnerable observations on how Sundays feel ("Walking the plank but you are holding a frittata the whole time") and also observations on dating and being single in New York City, to her experiences with depression.
Nancherla's observations are told largely using dry humor. Many of her stories and jokes are the sort of things that we can relate to ourselves or while discussing with a friend. She relays the woes involved in trying to enjoy. She talks about working from home, working in an office environment and living in New York City.
Nancherla’s observation on the struggles of everyday life comes with a sort of self-awareness reminiscent of someone who has thought a lot about their actions and the effects they may have. Even the names of the segments on the album are self-aware. One segment is called "I Bring up the Weather," while the ending segment, "Welp," strolls about how exactly she finishes the album.
Nancherla's self-directed put-downs aren't just for show. "I use self-deprecation as a coping mechanism a lot of the time," she says. "I also think it's a valuable tool for DE stigmatizing things and opening up conversations that might be hard to just jump into right away”. Like Lady Dynamite's Maria Basford, who she greatly admires, Nancherla has been open about her struggles with depression and anxiety, weaving them into her comedy.
Nancherla is one of the very few well-known Indo-American (a fact she pokes fun at on the album when talking about an acting class she attended in which the only actors the class could compare her to were Mindy Kaling and Aziz Ansari).
Humor has given Nancherla a structure and a language to translate the crippling experience of being a person in the world who doesn’t constantly beam sunshine, self-esteem, and happy thoughts. She understands those who approach existence with a bit more intimidation or reservation and cheekily refers such people as “Stressheads”—because she lives it every day.