Originally published with Paste on July 14, 2016.
Aparna Nancherla’s petite size and subdued stage presence suggest a different style of comedy than the gregarious personalities who often grace Netflix, Comedy Central and HBO’s featured specials. She may seem quieter, but if anything that only underscores her deadpan wit by hitting audiences with the classic one-two punch of the unexpected. She doesn’t shy away from discussing the mental tightrope walk that is life, and does so in a way that’s fiercely original in its presentation.
Humor has given Nancherla a structure and a language to translate the at times crippling experience of being a person in the world who doesn’t constantly beam sunshine, self-esteem, and happy thoughts like, say, Taylor Swift and her ever expanding #Squad. She understands those who approach existence with a bit more intimidation or reservation—people Nancherla cheekily refers to as “Stressheads”—because she lives it every day. Thanks to her work, she’s become secure in her insecurity, a contradictory place that allows her to express herself even while what she’s expressing are stories wrought with embarrassment, self-doubt, and at times suffocating social anxiety. “It’s weird because it sounds counterintuitive, but I guess if you’re a nervous or anxious person at some point it starts to become a coping mechanism where you’re more comfortable with it than without it,” Nancherla says over the phone, her trademark articulation landing upon the beats of heavier consonants to provide additional nuance.
[Full article available at Paste.]