Dallas — Aaron Aryanpur is a walking contradiction. For every bit of openness, even vulnerability, about him there’s deep containment, too. He’s the product of a Jewish mother and Persian dad. Easy to smile and just as quick with a scowl. Funny, but doesn’t like being made fun of. A minivan comic with kids in a career that makes domesticity difficult. It’s a heady complexity, one that keeps audiences returning to his shows. He’ll be headlining the special Valentine’s Day show at the Backdoor Comedy Club in Dallas.
Take Aryanpur’s Christmas Eve tweet, for instance:
I've seen hearts melt, minds changed and dreams realized in '13. I wish you the right kind of heartache, real magic, peace of mind and joy.— Aaron Aryanpur (@aaroncomedian) December 25, 2013
Aryanpur’s ability to be serious provides a backdrop that pushes his humor into contrast. Audiences respond to the sense of coiled power and solid equilibrium. Aryanpur emanates a gravity that draws them in. He creates anticipation; attendees can see him thinking and wonder what’s coming next. Because whatever unfolds, it’s purposeful. There’s no drift to Aryanpur.
Relaying his everyman frustrations with dry, precise humor, Aryanpur’s thought-provoking observations convey clever wordplay and logical twists. It garnered him the 2012 win as Funniest Comic in Texas, and he hosted the 2013 finals in December.
“A lot of good stuff was happening to ramp up to last year's Funniest Comic,” he said. “But things really did seem to hit a different level for me after the win. It felt like I was reaping the benefits of several years of laying groundwork.
Aryanpur capped 2014 with Movember, a campaign for men to grow out their facial hair — and vex their spouses — to raise funds for prostate and testicular research.
The last dozen months have been good for Aryanpur, with national level scouts and producers reaching out to him. He was one of 40 comics nationwide to reach the semi-final round of Comedy Central's first Up Next talent search, a plum that garnered him airtime on Comedy Central XM radio.
Aryanpur works the comedy competition circuit like a pro. He was invited to the San Antonio auditions for NBC’s America's Got Talent and made it through it through the initial, non-televised, rounds. Solicited by the Midwest’s mega Comedy 10K Competition and the San Francisco Comedy Competition, he placed decently in each. The man gets around, performing in seven new states in 2013, for a total of 20 states.
Well, it was a good run. The 8yo announced he no longer believes in Santa - a bonehead business decision on his part one week before 12/24.— Aaron Aryanpur (@aaroncomedian) December 17, 2013
All of this has been made possible by that gift all establishing comics yearn for: the ideal day job. A creative director for an advertising and packaging company, he was offered a promotion and raise last spring, and “I turned them down instead, knowing it would mean more time away from comedy and my family,” he said. Wanting to keep him in the fold, Aryanpur’s bosses worked out a part-time schedule so he could be more flexible with travel. “It's a decision I was wrestling with for years and it's worked out better than I could have imagined.”
A voracious consumer of comedy shows, Aryanpur expanded on his favorite leisure by drawing caricatures of comedians. (See some of them here.) He’d connect with headliners at clubs, hoping to get their autographs, and became intrigued. By 2002, the comedian bug had bit. He took Dean Lewis’ comedy workshop and immersed himself in studies of the art. Now he’s hitting that ten-year stride when stand-ups really get their legs. He’s an extremely fortunate fellow to have the support of his wife, Nichole, also a comedy fan. They have two children, aged two and nine.
It's amazing how my kids inspire me to use the very words I'm not allowed to use in front of them.— Aaron Aryanpur (@aaroncomedian) December 22, 2013
From his time as opening act for the Axis of Evil comedy tour in this area, Aryanpur’s maintained a good relationship with Maz Jobrani. In 2013, he joined Jobrani’s Minivan Men podcast that also features Al Madrigal of The Daily Show. “I've known and worked with them for years,” he said. “They're both funny, established guys who are also fathers, so we talk about our crazy lives as dads.” Two national players inviting Aryanpur to their inner circle is quite the testament to his talent.
Here's video of Aryanpur on new dad sensibility: