RIOT's Aparna Nancherla Talks Growing Up & Stand-Up Comedy

Photo: Courtesy of Robyn von Swank.
On RIOT's show, Womanhood, comedian Aparna Nancherla sits down with Jo Firestone to talk about the most pressing questions of growing up. From wearing a pad outside of your clothes to real fears of your dirty 30s ("jeans, skirts, and jean skirts"), the pair demystify the major questions of what it means to live as a lady.

We talked to Nancherla about filming the show and her own experiences with stand-up comedy and growing into adulthood.

Did you watch these kind of public-access videos when you were growing up?
"Probably, yes. But I'm really more familiar with the satires of them in the YouTube age, like 'Between Two Ferns' and that sort of thing."

What do you enjoy about doing Womanhood?
"I think one of the main things that makes the show fun is that Jo Firestone is someone I’ve been a fan of for such a long time. When she offered the chance to work on something together, I wanted to do it. Going in, I knew Jo has an amazing brain. We met through stand-up, but I think the show has brought us closer together just by virtue of shooting and doing full shows. It’s been fun to hang out. The crew can attest that [on] pretty much all the shoot days, we’ve broken into laughing fits."

What is the production process like?
"It’s pretty loose. For each episode, we kind of sketch out main points or some fun things that fall under the general subject area. We pretty much riff off each other and see where it goes. The editors are the ones with the fun task of picking out the stuff that works best together."

What’s been your favorite episode?
"I guess the most recent one on how to get through your mid-life crisis. One of the reasons I think we love this one so much was because Jo’s styling for it — the gold tunic — is the funniest thing. We cannot imagine who that was made for. At the end of the video, we switched outfits just because it was so funny."

A lot of the show is about growing up. Do you think your humor — either the jokes you tell or what you find funny — has changed as you’ve gotten older?
"I think so. Especially with stand-up. A lot of times, you’re talking about day-to-day life and it’s very much informed by where you are relative to relationships, your work, or your body. Just generally, your life stage informs your point of view, and I think that's true of humor, too."

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"I think I cycled through a lot of considerations. I’ve always kept journals and I was always interested in writing. I wanted to do something where I could write and create regularly. I first started pursuing comedy seriously after college. The more consistently I stuck with it, it gained momentum on its own. I would say I've been doing comedy for 10 years, but only full-time since the end of 2012."

One of the funniest episodes is about puberty. What was that time like for you in real life?
"I feel like I fall on the late-bloomer end of the spectrum. I didn’t drink until I was 21 and I delayed a lot of things that other kids do earlier. When I was actually 12 and 13, I was pretty tame and pretty introverted. I was more of the type to have my head stuck in a book."

Have you gotten any feedback on the show or read any funny comments?

"I don't really ready comments, just because I can be sensitive to that. But a friend of mine told Jo and I that someone on YouTube commented on the puberty episode — where we're giving all of this jokey advice — and was like, 'This information is not actually helpful to teenage girls.'"

More from Pop Culture

Jennifer Lopez may have split with "Casper" Smart, but she has not been separated from her selfie game. The Shades of Blue actress posted a pic with her ...
Donald Trump has lately come under fire for bodyshaming former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. By that, we mean both when she was the reigning Miss Universe ...
For decades, dressing up as Wonder Woman has meant mixing up your sexiest self with a hefty portion of '70s camp. Sure, you'd have a skintight outfit and ...
Jeb Bush has been a Florida governor and a presidential candidate. His latest gig? Comedian, apparently. In an opening sketch for the Emmys, Jimmy ...
Miley Cyrus seemed to be having a blast in her spinning chair as blind auditions for the teams continued last night on The Voice. Though, while she's ...
Janet Jackson went shopping on Tuesday afternoon and "Rhythm Nation" fans got a peek at the singer's pregnancy glow. Jackson, 50, is expecting her first ...
On Father's Day 2015, Kate Hudson's brother Oliver posted a photo of the siblings posing with their father, Bill Hudson. The picture was sweet; the ...
A Halloween costume needn't necessarily be topical to be a big hit. Frankly, any getup this year that doesn't reference Trump, Stranger Things, or Rob and ...
Missandei is the woman at the right hand of Daenerys Targaryen, and she's one of Game of Thrones' most popular characters. She also showcases some of the ...
It can be tough to find new stand-up comics worth your time and attention. Still, that's no excuse to have your go-to female comic list begin and end with ...
Halloween costumes are like prom dresses. Chances are: You only ever wear them once. And yet, that doesn't seem to get in the way of people forking over ...
The man who attacked Gigi Hadid is back at it again. This time, he kissed Kim Kardashian's butt, according to PerezHilton.com. Vitalii Sediuk, the high-...
This Muslim journalist just made Playboy history for what she was wearing in the magazine's October issue. As Mashable pointed out, Noor Tagouri, who ...
The best thing about couples' costumes is that you don't need to be in a relationship to rock them. All you need is yourself and another human — be it your...