Aparna Nancherla’s deadpan delivery of jokes and the confidence to pull off subtle digs at herself and the world around her is what makes her a great comedian. It’s also why her episode on Netflix’s “The Standups” is outstanding. Nanchera’s 30-minute stand up acts as a finale to the six-episode season 2.
Nancherla is relatable because she casually brings up issues we are all probably facing in one form or the other and then injects humor in it organically. She doesn’t need to raise her voice and act out all of her jokes. They do the work for her, like they’re supposed to.
Her strength lies in how easily she segues from one topic to the next. A remark about women’s magazines and the silly advice they come with transfers to her giving shade to the poor state of our current administration. (Side note: for more of her excellent zingers about this subject, you have to follow her on Twitter). None of the jokes overstay their welcome. All of the jokes are on point.
She is as hilarious as she is grounded in reality. She gets the loudest applause when she makes a statement about guns having more rights than a vagina. She doesn’t shy away from talking about her depression, social awkwardness, and anxiety aka taboo topics in most South Asian households. In a recent interview with Time Magazine, she opened up about what it was like for her, as a second generation immigrant, to deal with mental health. Her depression sort of forced her family to address the issue. “Now, it’s more of an open conversation in our household in a way that it maybe might not be in other South Asian households,” she told Time.
It’s the second half of her act in the “Standups” episode that really leaves an impression for one main reason: she uses a powerpoint presentation, y’all. She pulls from her real life experiences to make a point. In this case, its dissecting emojis, and reading out poorly written Yelp reviews, and her texts with parents and some livid dating app responses she’s received. Please look out for her pronounciation of OKCupid because it’s probably what will click with a Desi-American viewer the most.
Nancherla’s added context and commentaries to all of the things she brings up in the presentation make the entire act truly entertaining. You’d think it’s maybe easier to talk about some already funny stuff you’ve seen on the Internet. Fortunately, Nancherla adds props it up with her trademark style of comedy; she’s somehow both nonchalant and poignant.
Her standup episode is just one of her many achievements over the last few months. Nancherla was a series regular on Comedy Central‘s “Corporate,” playing an HR rep named Grace. She was in a season 2 episode of “Master of None” as a wrestling and gaming nerd. Her voiceover work on the most recent “BoJack Horseman” season was brilliant. She’s appeared on “Crashing,” “High Maintainence,” “2 Dope Queens” and written for “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
Get your laugh-on and watch her episode of the “The Standups,” now streaming on Netflix.