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Aparna Nancherla Quits Her Day Job

aparna nancherla

Fall 2013 was an important time for comedian Aparna Nancherla.

She was continuing her work on Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, the late-night news/stand-up show on FXX. She used her measured delivery to talk about gun control, race and feminism.

In an episode from early October, she reviewed the new hip hop album for kids by Michelle Obama's healthy living campaign Let's Move:

Totally Biased stood out from other satirical news shows thanks to its diverse group of young writers/comedians like Nancherla.

The show was her first time on TV and her first time working with a group of writers. It also marked the first time in her career that she didn't have to work a day-job to pay the bills.

But, the start of that second season was a stressful time.

"It was almost a blur because the show, basically it went from weekly to daily, which was a huge jump in terms of both scheduling and just amount of material we had to create," she says.


She also appeared on Conan for the first time in October 2013, and she was featured on several lists of top young comedians. Nancherla's profile was on the rise in a big way.

And then ten weeks after season two premiered, Totally Biased was canceled.

"It was a strange combination of bitterness and disappointment but also a weird sense of relief,  like everyone felt a little crazy," she says.

She decided to rededicate herself to stand-up, which is where it all started, when she was in school at Amherst College. After graduating, she moved to Washington D.C. to develop her voice as a comic. Then it was off to L.A., where she balanced office jobs during the day with stand-up appearances at night.

She moved to New York City for Totally Biased and she still lives there.

Her stand-up isn't as politically charged as her material from Totally Biased. Instead, she offers observations on the absurdity of our everyday lives. Her everyday life has been changed thanks to her 14 months of a regular paycheck from Totally Biased. She's now able to do stand-up full-time no more day jobs.

This May, she shared a bill with Maria Bamford and Aisha Tyler at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She also made an appearance on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me in April. And on June 2, she's recording her first album at Union Hall in Brooklyn.

But, not so fast, stand-up has this way of deflating your ego.

"Then it'll be two nights later, playing a bar with maybe five people, so it weirdly checks you regularly so you can't get too big for your boots."

It's a give-and-take, though, because unlike television, she has complete creative control over what she writes, what she says and how she performs in her stand-up routine.

"At the end of the day, it still has the satisfaction to it that nothing else can really replace."

Nancherla is still keeping tabs on the TV scene. She just finished writing a pilot script, so perhaps audiences will see her on the small screen again.

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