Brooklyn’s 50 Funniest People: Aparna Nancherla

Aparna Nancherla
Aparna Nancherla likes to start her sets by saying, “It’s okay, I’m surprised I’m a comedian, too.” On her Conan set (yes she was on Conan!!), she says she isn’t a bad person: If she hears someone sneeze, she’ll say bless you. “But if someone sneezes three or more times, it’s like, get your life together.” Cosigned, so hard. But where Nancherla really shines is Twitter, where she has 92,000 followers. Would you like to read some top tweets? 
Let me slip into something more comfortable.
*slides into a vat of pudding, gestures you to leave*
Any moment can be a teen drama if you half-smile as you unsuccessfully brush the hair out of your face
Nobody is more mad with power than an audience member who is handed the mic during a Q&A
Sometimes I feel sad for no reason but then I remember: a few reasons
Again, Cosigned. So hard. 
When was the first time you remember making someone laugh? What happened?
One of the first times I remember laughing a ton was watching Weekend at Bernie’s 2 with my sister when we were kids in a cloistered room while my parents were at a grownup dinner party going on downstairs. My comedy tastes ran fairly erudite back then.
What is the toughest part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn today? What is the best?
The toughest part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn is remembering what hat to wear to what neighborhood to fit into the dominant subculture there. The best part is getting to see creative geniuses on a regular basis, both in comedy but also in plenty of other mediums and platforms.
Who do you find funny?
I am going to be annoying and say I love so many performers that I cannot narrow it down to favorites. But I will name some names for the good of the press.
I think I am not alone in humbly being awed by the minds of people like Maria Bamford, Brent Weinbach, Kate Berlant, Nick Vatterott, Julio Torres, and Jo Firestone. I also think Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are visionaries. They all are such distinct and specific performers in their own right. I think while comedians are respected for bringing to light the universality of experiences, it’s doubly impressive when they can do it with a subtly crafted specificity.
What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Honestly, I think when there was a woman in the audience of a comedy show I was on whose natural laugh was that of an exotic bird.
What are your goals for your comedy career?
I have many goals that change throughout a given year, month, day. But, if you insist, here are three tiny dream capsules: I would love to a) voice a cartoon, b) be noticeably present in the background of a music video, and c) endorse a lifestyle with an accented color palette and impractical chairs.
What is your favorite knock-knock (or otherwise goofy) joke?
As I said, I am terrible with picking favorites, but here is one I just found on the Internet. Get ready.
Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Obama who?
Oo ba ma self…!

To see 49 more of Brooklyn’s funniest people, click here.

Photo by Nicolas Maloof.


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