The rise and rise of Aparna Nancherla
If you don’t know her name, you’re about to. Her writing prowess has earned her a job writing for “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” and a Comedy Central ‘Half Hour” special. Tig Notaro chose to record her intricate, observational material for her new label, Bentzen Ball Records’ flagship album, “Just Putting It Out There.” To celebrate her first record, Nancherla is touring the country, bringing her honest, introvert musings to Atlanta’s Relapse Theatre. CL talked to Nancherla about her new album, web projects, and being a part of a diverse Comedy Central “Half Hour” class.
You just put out your debut album. Not only is it your first album, but it’s the first album out under Tig Notaro’s new comedy label, Bentzen Ball Records. How does it feel to be leading the charge?
It definitely feels like a huge
You’ve lived and performed stand-up in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and New York. Why did you
I think, for me, I wanted to do it in New York just because I feel like I sort of hit my stride there in the past few years. The crowds feel like they're very solid and on board with you, so I felt like I knew I wanted to do it in New York. But then the venue I picked, which is Union Hall, is just this really great Brooklyn venue that does a lot of independently-produced shows. They do comedy, and music, and other outside-the-box shows. It's just the perfect size. I think it's no more than 85, 90 people even when it's fully
You just did “Conan” for the second time last week. Between this and your first set, you’ve worked on late-night show, Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Besides having done Conan before, did having experience behind the scenes of a similar show put you more at ease this time around?
Yeah. I think for sure, and it's funny because the first time I did it, I had just started working at “Totally
I love your new
Well, honestly the process behind how it came together was, Refinery 29, which is like a lifestyle website targeted towards women, was launching a comedy channel called RIOT and one of the producers for their new channel, Julie Miller. Jo and I had both worked with her on other things, and she approached Jo about doing a
It came about pretty loosely in that sense, and then how it ended up looking, that was just a back and forth process between me and Jo, and the production team, and our director Anu Valia, who's been great. I feel like the whole feel of it — sort of [an] old VHS, public-access feel of it was definitely something we were going for, but I think how it came out exceeded our expectations.
You both match so perfectly together on that show.
Yeah, it's nice when you can collaborate with someone where you're just equal fans of each other's sensibilities, and can sort of appreciate what's great about the other one. I think that always translates well to
This has been a pretty big year for you. You've also recently shot a Comedy Central “Half Hour.” Looking at the list of recipients this year, I was pleasantly surprised that there were a lot of women. Five really shouldn't be considered "a lot," but when you look at the past years, that's actually a noticeable increase.
I know. No, it felt definitely like a premeditated decision, which is great. I know they've gotten a little backlash in past years for having so few women. It felt really encouraging that they made such a strong shift this year.
Yeah, and so many great, strong comics in this year’s “class.”
I know, yeah. Also, just the whole group is such a diverse range of styles and voices that it was exciting to be a part of that group this year.
You just kicked off this tour. Do you have anything coming up after that you're particularly excited about?
I feel like it's been exciting because I left writing for “Seth Meyers” in February, but it feels like I haven't really had a moment to slow down after that because things have been very busy, which is always great as a performer to have so many opportunities, but yeah. I've been doing a little bit more acting stuff. I did some stuff on [“Inside Amy Schumer”], and have been filming some stuff for Pete Holmes' upcoming show, “Crashing.” So that's been fun. Then working on season two of “Womanhood” with Jo, and then also working on