Fort Worth — You can watch a lifetime of standup comedians and never find one as kind as Aparna Nancherla. Or approachable. Or honest. Or bereft of mean-spiritedness. Or humble. And damn few as funny. Indeed, Aparna Nancherla is the type of person one would do well to try to emulate in life.
These were my (longstanding) impressions of Nancherla going into Wednesday’s show at the Amphibian Stage Productions in Fort Worth, where Nancherla is taking part in the venue’s inventive residency program, where comedians can work out and hone their material over the course of several days. Those impressions were only reinforced by the show. Nancherla is the comedian that good people identify with and connect with.
But forget all that, because you’re not here for a love letter, you just want to laugh. You damn well will if you go see one of her remaining shows (nightly through Saturday at Amphibian). She has her own comedy special on Comedy Central, along with scores of late night TV appearances, for a reason.
So much of her comedy is rooted in the human experience that I defy anyone to attend one of her shows and not deeply relate to at least one joke.
Much, but not all, of her routine deals with anxiety, mental health, and depression. Her anxiety is at a level that she wishes she could wear a helmet onstage like certain musicians (Daft Punk) can.
But she is not at all dark, morose, or even sardonic. She’s actually more or less pretty sunny with her delivery and one does not get the impression that she feels sorry for herself.
Nor is there disconnect between that sunny delivery and her subject matter. You just get the impression that she understands the struggle of life and empathizes with you. It’s okay with her if “you forgot to slay today.”
There are also plenty of great jokes that have nothing to do with mental health, and I think my favorite was about two kids she saw bullying each other. “One said, ‘my Dad’s a cop and he’ll shoot you.’ ‘Oh yeah? Well my Dad’s an artist and he’ll draw your whole family without eyes.”
Let me end it here lest I just start gushing some more. Just do yourself a favor and go see her while she’s still in town. You will be glad you did for reasons far beyond just laughter.