Day 7: Aparna Nancherla

Each day in the month of May, I’m sharing one stand up set I really like. Today’s is a 2018 Late Late Show appearance by Aparna Nancherla. Here’s a few reasons the comic in me appreciates this set:

• TURN OF PHRASE. A joke often gets its fuel by subverting expectations. Throughout the set, Aparna takes phrases we know and then twists them to get us to a separate landing: “cup of coffee” vs. “cup of terror,” “fear of missing out” vs. “fear of missing in,” “four horsemen of the apocalypse” vs. “four horsebros of the bropocalypse,” and “speed of light” vs. “speed of privilege.” And while arriving to a destination we didn’t think we were going to is horrifying on a plane, it is thrilling in a joke.

• COMPARISON. When a comic places two dissimilar items next to each other, there’s initially dissonance. But when she shows us where the similarities lie, there’s a release of tension and our brains delight. In this set, Aparna has a series of original comparisons in this set - bodies to bands and Michael Bay movies, seltzer water to people who read The Secret, walking to privilege - each of which gives us this enjoyment.

• THE SERIOUS SILLY. Taking something silly and placing it in a serious setting, or vice versa, gets us laughing because we don’t anticipate it. Babies are so silly. Protests are so serious. Babies at a protest? So funny. Aparna draws on this dichotomy to elicit a string of laughs in the first minute, and in the process, makes the clever point that a person fresh to the world would see injustices that we’ve normalized.

Hope you enjoyed it, full link in comments, and check out Aparna on Instagram and Twitter: @aparnapkin