Over the last few years, Indian-American comedian Aparna Nancherla has taken center stage in the comedy world. Her work has ranged from stand-up acts across the country to writing for late night shows to getting her own stand-up episode on Netflix to various TV show appearances
Nancherla’s brand of humor is much-needed. She uses her platform to tell jokes and witticisms but also to lend her voice and speak up on various issues ranging from mental health to the current political climate. If you don’t believe, you only need to take a look at her tweets!
She’s opened for comedians like Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, Rob Delaney, and Tig Notaro. Today, she’s come a long way and stands on her own ground when it comes to comedy. It’s not easy to break out as a comedian, let alone an Indian comedian who isn’t afraid to speak her mind.
Let’s look back at the evoultion of Nancherla’s career.
Nancherla’s big break into the world of comedy began with her standup act on the sketch comedy “Top Story! Weekly.” And it’s a pretty freaking good act.
Nancherla appeared in and wrote for multiple episodes of “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” the acclaimed series on FX. While she had previous minor appearances on variety sketch specials, “Totally Biased” marked Nancherla’s first time on a major show. In 2012, she guest starred in an episode of the webseries “Chloe + Zoë” and in 2013, on the TV short “Storytime.”
Nancherla further cemented her reputation as a comic to watch with an appearance on “Conan,” in which she made history as the first South Asian female standup comic to appear on a late night talk show.
After the cancellation of “Totally Biased,” Nancherla bounced back in a big way by joining the writers team of “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” She broke barriers as the first South Asian writer on the variety talk show.
The comedian continued her expansion into digital shorts and webseries with her appearances on “F to 7th,” “The Chris Gethard Show,” and “The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail.” In 2015, Nancherla wrote for the Vimeo series “Your Main Thing.” Her work got her accolades like Marie Claire‘s Funniest Women of 2015 and Vulture’s list of 50 Comedians You Should Know in 2015.
Starting this year, Nancherla shifted her focus more towards acting and bringing her humor in front of the camera. She appeared on sketches and shorts like “Hairpin Bender,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Debate Wars” and “Night Train with Wyatt Cenac.” These episodes propelled her more into the limelight, earning her a spot on Variety’s top 10 comics of 2016 alongside fellow South Asian comic Lilly Singh.
2017 definitely a big year for Nancherla, the comedian appeared in popular TV shows like “Love,” “Crashing,” and Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None.” Her performance in the latter was especially praised. She was featured in Hari Kondabolu‘s documentary “The Problem with Apu,” reuniting with her former “Totally Biased” co-worker Kondabolu.
Nancherla also began recurring in the Netflix acclaimed animated comedy “BoJack Horseman,” voicing the character of the horse Hollyhock, a relative of the titular character.
Nancherla began starring as a series regular in the Comedy Central show “Corporate” earlier this year. Her wacky character Grace is one of her best performances to date. The show focuses on the miserable lives of the employees of a multinational corporation. The show was quickly renewed for a second season.
In this year, she’s continued her “BoJack Horseman” role Hollyhock, a half-human appeared on “2 Dope Queens,” “High Maintainence,” and “Steven Universe.” She was a guest on Rajiv Satyal’s unique talks show “What Do You Bring to the Table” in September 2018.
Nancherla was featured in the Netflix comedy lineup “The Standups,” in which she rocked her 15-minute special, giving us a standout episode of the season. She brought her comedic genius to “The Late Late Show with James Corden” as well.
2018 was also the year Nancherla started branching out more into film. She made her big screen debut in Paul Feig’s comedic thriller “A Simple Favor,” which stars Blake Lively, Anna Kendrick, and “Crazy Rich Asians” breakout Henry Golding.