Putting Myself in Timeout (with Aparna Nancherla)

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You know when you meet someone and just vibe instantly? That was me and comedian and actress Aparna Nancherla. She talks about writing a book on imposter syndrome (spoiler alert: it doesn’t just go away) and how it led her to turn down a Netflix special. Plus, Aparna shares her decision to stop touring and why her latest acting role in “The Drop” was a big leap.

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Elyse Myers, Aparna Nancherla

Elyse Myers  00:15

Okay, actually, can you just pretend that you’re listening to a fully complete theme song here, I got really in my head. And I tried to make it perfect. And I couldn’t. So this is going to be the theme song right here. Hello, this is Funny Cuz It’s True. And I’m Elyse Myers. You know what I’m realizing every episode of this podcast is kind of like a stepping stone on some path. I don’t really know where it’s going. But it feels like with every guest that comes on this show, and shares so much of themselves and their process, I get to learn more about myself and what I want and I don’t want this week I talked to Aparna Nancherla. You probably know her from the Netflix special standups. Or maybe from her comedy album, just putting it out there. Lesser known facts. She was a staff writer on Late Night with Seth Meyers, in this conversation with Aparna we talked about distinguishing our role in comedy from our role in advocating for mental health. We also talk about feeling like you can’t do something and then immediately after feeling like you can do literally anything, and then how to take care of yourself when you actually need a break. So two things that are funny, because they’re true. Number one, I cried at Aparna for no reason, which you’ll hear. And number two, it’s possible that we will open up a coffee shop where it’s a requirement to space out the tables far enough so that I cannot read everything that you are googling. That will also make more sense later. Okay, let’s get into it. Oh, my gosh. Aparna. Hi. I was gonna say I was just looking at your Twitter and I don’t want to get it wrong. So your handle is @aparnapkin. And your bio was I’m a scrunched up napkin with recyclable dreams. And I want to understand it. Can you please walk me through what that means?

Aparna Nancherla  01:59

I wish I could give you like a really thought out and meditated exploration of that. But I really I mean, I joined Twitter very early on, I don’t know when it actually launched as a platform, but I think I joined like 2008 or like, yeah, pretty early. Oh, and you know, people were like, just have fun with that. And it was that thing before it was for networking. So I didn’t use like my real name. I feel like now it’s just people’s professional handles. And then I was like, Okay, I’m a napkin what I want to say about myself. Jockeying for one napkins point of view. I really didn’t think it out. I was just like, This is gonna be it and then I just never changed it.

Elyse Myers  02:41

I love that. Oh my gosh. Okay, shifting topics a little bit. So really quick. I know that you are writing a book, and you’re writing it about impostor syndrome, right? What made you want to start that and why?

Aparna Nancherla  02:54

Yeah. So you know, I toyed with the idea of writing a book before, but I really didn’t know other than maybe that would be personal essays, what they would be about. But yeah, imposter syndrome felt like just something that’s shown up in pretty much every aspect of my life. So it felt like something that would be maybe a way to make the book cohesive. But I think when I imagined writing it, I was like, I’m going to write about imposter syndrome. And then I’m going to face it, and then I’m going to fix it. And then I’ll have this book and I won’t be an impostor anymore.

Elyse Myers  03:28

You’ll be Yeah, like the imposter syndrome person, you know, you’re healed. You got it. What was it like writing it?

Aparna Nancherla  03:34

I would say we my imposter syndrome, and I have reached a different stage in our relationship. Okay, so we’re still going strong.

Elyse Myers  03:41

I love that. Aparna is just out here testing what all of us would hope to happen when writing a book about impostor syndrome is that you start writing it and then at the last page, you’re like, you know what, I think I’ve healed from this. My fears are confirmed. It doesn’t work that way. I’m both very encouraged that I am in good company with Aparna and also deeply saddened that it doesn’t happen the way I would hope, right have ventured into the realm of writing books. And every time I do I feel very intimidated by it. And I was curious, like, what the creative process was like approaching that compared to maybe being on a set.

Aparna Nancherla  04:20

I also because I’ve never written a book before. I didn’t really know what the process should look like. And I think I kind of romanticize it of like, oh, I’ll go to a cabin and I’ll just write hours a day. First of all, I never get anything done in a coffee shop. Like I just stare at everyone else who seems like they’re just getting it done.

Elyse Myers  04:42

The tables are always so close. I’m like, I can smell your coffee at my table. Like I shouldn’t be able to feel the steam from your latte on my face. It’s like this too close.

Aparna Nancherla  04:53

I know. And suddenly everything everyone else is doing is just so interesting, like interesting, but also district acting in a way where I’m like, This is not even fair that I’m judging you for like, turning a page of your book like that is not even allowed thing. And I’m like, you’re so annoying.

Elyse Myers  05:12

Well, going back to maybe your book a little bit. We’re talking about the imposter syndrome. Like, I guess, was there something in your comedy career that sparked that? Or was that something post comedy career that you kind of started experiencing?

Aparna Nancherla  05:22

I think a combination of both. Like, I think I’ve had it since I started comedy. And even like I said, in other parts of my life, just like relationships, or even friendships, sometimes where I’m just like, I don’t feel like I know how to, like, truly show up for people the way other people do. And I think definitely, in comedy, like, especially when you’re starting out and you’re struggling, you’re like, when I get this thing X, or like, when I can support myself doing this, I will like can relax a little bit. But then it feels like when you get success. Everyone says this, but like your problems changed. But it also kind of makes you doubt yourself in a way that I didn’t expect. Where like the expectations go up, and you don’t feel necessarily like you even have license to complain about them because you feel lucky to be there.

Elyse Myers  06:12

Yeah, do you have an example of when you like, vividly remember that happening to you.

Aparna Nancherla  06:16

I mean, even just like career opportunities, like when I you know, like, got a chance to take a half hour Netflix special. Like, I remember when I got the offer. I was really like, I don’t even know if I have enough material. And then, you know, my reps are kind of like why doesn’t really seem like something you should turn down. And I think I actually did turn it down the first time because I really just didn’t feel ready. And I was kind of like my closing a door that I’m not gonna get a chance at again, but I really liked was like, I really think it’s more important for me to feel like I have the right thing to show rather than just showing it because I didn’t want to like, turn it down.

Elyse Myers  06:59

Was this the standups? The one on Netflix? That one? Yeah, that was my introduction to you and your comedy. And I was like, I felt more than anybody in that special because it’s for anybody listening. It’s like multiple comedians, like back to back, right. In your special specifically, I was like, man, our personalities and our senses of humor are so similar, that I found myself watching your special like multiple times, because like, it felt so easy. Just the way you deliver your jokes is so natural. It’s like just breathing. And it doesn’t sound like a joke. It just sounds like you’re talking and you’re funny. And like, that was what drew me to your comedy. And I’m curious if you have always felt that way like or is it something that you wanted your whole life?

Aparna Nancherla  07:43

I think it’s not something I knew I wanted early on, because I don’t even think I knew I was funny until probably like, just like maybe high school. I think I knew I liked to be silly and like, laugh and make people laugh. But just in a sort of like, people I knew well, and like friends and family and still like never really being comfortable being the center of attention. But I didn’t grow up watching SNL or anything. So I like didn’t feel well versed in like the comedic form or like the history of comedy or like how you even get into doing stand-up. Like I didn’t think that was something anyone could try.

Elyse Myers  08:22

I did read though, that your first YouTube show was at a truckstop open mic. How did you get comfortable going on stage for the first time?

Aparna Nancherla  08:28

Like the only other thing I can explain, I don’t want to not give myself any credit. But I have like shortly before gone on antidepressants for the first time. And I do feel like there’s a honeymoon period when you first go on antidepressants where you’re just like, I didn’t know, I could experience life at this level of feeling. Because I had been like struggling with depression up until that point, like pretty seriously at that point in my life. And I think it was that sort of like, oh my gosh, like maybe this is the beginning of the rest of my life. So like I’ll try anything. Like I think I just I think my comedy has always been like kind of trying to connect with other people because I feel like I have so much trouble doing that sometimes in just day to day life. Like it felt like a language between me and other people that I can’t access in other ways that other people seem to.

Elyse Myers  09:20

Totally, I mean that’s how I feel about comedy as well as it is like a point of connection. What did you go to school for?

Aparna Nancherla  09:26

I went to undergrad for psychology psych major.

Elyse Myers  09:30

Oh, wow. Did you want to go into that psych major because of your struggle with mental health and you want to kind of connect it to?

Aparna Nancherla  09:36

Not really. I just went with psychology because I think it was the only field I found where that I was like consistently interested in what I was learning. Like I didn’t really feel connected to other subjects in the same way but I just find human behavior so fascinating and like why we do the things we do that it really was that they always like the old any subject that kind of kept my interest because it’s something you can kind of directly tied to your own life where it’s not like history, and you’re like, what does this have to do with me?

Elyse Myers  10:10

I feel like that lends itself very well to comedy. Yeah. How have you found that to be useful in your comedy career? I guess.

Aparna Nancherla  10:18

So, you know, stand up can be so observational, and I feel like I’m as a quieter person constantly, just like observing how other people behave in situations. And I think in a way, it was kind of adaptive at first to be like, What are they doing? What? Like, should I be doing that? And yeah, psychology kind of gives you more of the like, why behind why people behave certain ways in certain situations. So it felt like in a way, it was like getting cheat codes.

Elyse Myers  10:45

Yeah, a cheat code that cost you a lot of time and money and hardware, I guess.

Aparna Nancherla  10:50

A very time consuming and my draining cheat code.

Elyse Myers  10:54

Other would call that just like experience. But you know, you just said that comedy is a lot of like, perceiving what’s going on around you. And like watching people like, is that kind of how you create sets is that your inspiration for writing jokes is just sitting and watching?

Aparna Nancherla  11:08

Yeah, I mean, I think my comedy comes from a very specific place of like, how I’m perceiving the world around me. And a lot of that is, I think, I’m just fascinated with the day to day behavior of all of us, because it feels like it’s easier to zoom in on the like, highs and the lows, but then it kind of in between is what fascinates me the most.

Elyse Myers  11:32

It’s very interesting that you said that, because I totally connect with that as well.

Aparna Nancherla  11:35

Yeah, and even with like, the mental health stuff of like anxiety and depression, which I’ve dealt with, like, forever, pretty much like I think it, it feels like, even as a culture as much progress as we’ve made towards talking about these things. It does feel like it focuses on like, the crisis moments, or the lowest lows totally. And I feel like more of it is just managing it on a day to day basis. And like, how am I just gonna get through this next phone call or whatever it is. And so I’m like, I want more people to talk about, like how they just got for morning tonight.

Elyse Myers  12:09

Yeah, I know that you’ve been vocal about it, like mental health and stuff in your comedy and interviews and all of that. And only because I’m speaking from experience here, where like, you mentioned it a few times, and it kind of can become your entire like platform or things how people they see you as an advocate now for mental health. And while I feel very fortunate that I can speak about it and make it normal, how do you balance that of like, I still want to be funny, and I can’t really be funny if like, all you want to hear about is my depression. What is that balance for you?

Aparna Nancherla  12:41

Yeah, that’s a great question. Because I feel like I when I first started talking about that, in my act, it was I did kind of people were like, wow, she’s talking about mental health. And she’s trying to be funny about it. And I was like, well, I’m not the first person to do this. You know, like, I hooked up to Maria Bamford for however long and I know plenty of other comedians who have talked about in their act. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman of color that it was suddenly, like a new angle or something. But it is funny how people want to make, they want to be like, okay, so you’re this kind of comedian, you know, like, because even when I was like talking about it, it still was just like, you know, an eighth of my like, it wasn’t all I talked about by any means. So it’s funny that people kind of latch on to that one thing, and you have to kind of be like, well, actually, that’s just like, one other detail about how my brain works.

Elyse Myers  13:36

Yeah, I always Whenever anyone asks me about it, I always try and say like, I don’t want to become the face of this. Because number one, like I’m trying to just incorporate it so naturally into what I do. I want it to be and I say this a lot is like I want to feel as normal is talking about like the weather, right? I can imagine that can be hard and stand up specifically.

Aparna Nancherla  13:59

Yeah. And it feels like when I first started talking about it, like sometimes the audience would immediately be on board. Sometimes they would be a little bit like, not sure how to feel like maybe like feel sorry for me a little bit. But now it does seem like culturally it’s become, to some extent more normalized. So when I talk about everyone’s like, yeah, of course we all have anxiety.

Elyse Myers  14:21

Yeah 2023, we all have panic attacks in our cars after lunch.

Aparna Nancherla  14:27

Good thing in some ways, but it’s also just like so interesting to notice that shift.

Elyse Myers  14:32

Okay, we got to take a quick break and when we return, Aparna and tells us about getting into acting. Okay, so going back just a little bit. I know that you released a comedy album with Pignataro before your Netflix special. What was that like because tickets a huge comedy. inspiration for me.

Aparna Nancherla  15:01

Oh my gosh. Yeah, I know, she’s well, yeah, she’s like an incredible comedian. But then she’s also just like a lovely, wonderful person, which you’re like, oh, I guess you can just be every, all the things. I love that. But I think I had gotten the chance to open for her at like, maybe the New York Comedy Festival or so something when she was in town and then had worked with her a few times after that. And she, like reached out to me, like, have you ever thought about doing an album? I’m launching this like, label and I’m just reaching out to comics, I love who, who might want to record something. And that felt like the kind of the same thing as a Netflix thing where I was like, well, you ever thought about it before? But like you believe in me, so like, it feels weird to say no, like, yeah, it’s strange that imposter syndrome, how sometimes you’re like, you need over like contradiction to be like, okay, maybe you’re not always right.

Elyse Myers  16:00

Yeah, I experienced the same thing. And I joke about it with my husband all the time, like, things can be so good that I avoid it. I will not open that email. I will not read that text. I won’t listen to that voicemail. Because it’s so good. It makes me physically sick. And I’m like, no, do you experience that?

Aparna Nancherla  16:16

Oh, my gosh, I relate to that so much. Like I think I actually have a harder time with good news. Or like saying something good that happened to me or something nice someone said to me, that is so much more uncomfortable to me than fit. Like, I’m like, I wear failure like a little tailored suit.

Elyse Myers  16:36

I’m much more comfortable. Yeah, with failure, then good things because, too, I feel like and I don’t know if you experienced this, but the good things that happen, I’m nervous, they’re not going to be as good as they seem. So I’m nervous. I’m gonna be like down. Or I’m nervous that like, I will be, I’m so depressed. I will get so used to that good feeling, and it’s gonna go away. And then I’m gonna go back to like, sad. And then I’m like, oh, I wish I would have never experienced that in the first place. Because now I have to go back to sad and I don’t want to do that. I’d rather just stay sad.

Aparna Nancherla  17:10

I know, when you’re saying that. I was just like, Oh, great fears, great fears.

Elyse Myers  17:15

Okay, wait. So I will not lie when Aparna just kept saying, oh, great fears, great fears. I didn’t really understand what she was saying. And that she was like in support of what I was saying. And so it took like, a couple minutes down in the conversation for me to fully understand that she was like, yeah, totally like retweet Elyse like, definitely. Yes, I agree with you. And I wish I could have like, rewind it back in our conversation to respond to that better and been like, yes, thank you. But didn’t said I just kind of steep. Because I was like, I don’t know what you’re saying.

Aparna Nancherla  17:48

You’re saying the correct things to worry about. No, I feel the same way. Like I’m either constantly waiting for a shoe to drop. Like I was telling someone when I get good news. I think my window of like actually appreciating it is maybe like two minutes before turns into worry where we were. Because even for like acting like I think before I acted at all, it was just like, Yeah, anything like I’ll do whatever job. And now it’s like, I’ll get a job. And then I’ll be so excited. But then I will get stressed out about like, a wardrobe fitting.

Elyse Myers  18:23

I have literally said no to jobs because they required a wardrobe fitting.

Aparna Nancherla  18:28

Just like how to talk to the wardrobe person. Like while we’re changing clothes, like do I talk to them in mystery to it? I not, I don’t know.

Elyse Myers  18:37

I love that. You said acting are you? I know that you took a break from tours, right? And you went more into, like acting and voice acting and stuff like that was that conscious, like pivot that you made?

Aparna Nancherla  18:47

It was somewhat to the extent that I think I just figured out for me that touring was just like taxing for me in a way that I was like, I don’t think this can be my only thing. Like just all the travel and being alone so much. And not in your own space. Like I think I found that pretty draining like in an unsustainable way. So I was like, I can do this from time to time, but I can’t be someone who’s like, on the road, most of the air. So it’s like what are my other options.

Elyse Myers  19:18

Man, and so then did acting feel like it fulfilled that like creative and comedy kind of void in your life? Or did it? Was it something completely different?

Aparna Nancherla  19:26

I think it’s all that’s the thing with entertainment. It’s like everything is so different. And then people are sort of like, Yeah, but you can do that too. And I’m like, well, it is completely different muscle and like completely different.

Elyse Myers  19:38

hard could it be but also know,

Aparna Nancherla  19:40

It’s like a skill that people spend their whole lives working on, but yeah, sure I can do it. Yeah, but I think I’m very lucky. And I think sometimes the nice thing about comedies like if you kind of own a specific voice then like and people recognize that eventually so they’re not like expecting me to come in, you know, turn myself into the Queen like a Cate Blanchett or something, they’re like, Okay, we’re gonna get some version of an Aparna for this character.

Elyse Myers  20:08

Do you find it that’s the easiest to do is like just versions of yourself and not completely, like different characters from your personality?

Aparna Nancherla  20:15

I think there’s some, like I just did this movie that came out on Hulu called the drop. And I think I probably played a character that’s the most unlike myself that I’ve ever played. She’s like a lesbian who’s a recent mom. And she’s just gotten super protective of her kid to the point that she’s kind of gone somewhat right wing and like pro-gun. So I think that felt like more of a leap for me and just like to inhabit that kind of mentality of like, what would make someone shift their worldview? Because she like starts out very liberal, before she has a kid. And then she sort of does a 180 and I yeah, I think it is fascinating to play further away from myself, but then be like, How can I tie myself to this character? Like, that’s the fun, I think the more fun part of acting when you do get to play something that seems on like you, at a glance.

Elyse Myers  21:05

I guess, for this specific character, like, how did you do that? What were the characteristics in her that you were like, Okay, I see myself in this.

Aparna Nancherla  21:12

Well, I think I have always had a lot of trouble expressing my anger and like holding it in, in real time versus just completely internally and like, putting it in words. So I think it was, it almost felt like oh, my gosh, this characters like permission to like, let out a lot of aggression that I normally don’t and I get paid for it like it felt in a way. That was therapeutic. Yeah, take advantage of this, of like, take all the anger that you’ve been sitting on for years and just putting her.

Elyse Myers  21:45

Did it make you want to play characters that were unlike yourself more often? So you could experience parts of yourself that you don’t get to tap into usually?

Aparna Nancherla  21:53

Yeah, I think so. I think I often, I don’t know if you feel this way. But I feel like sometimes if you’re a very socially anxious person, or just someone who lives very internally, like loudly internally, you, you constantly feel like you’re performing a little bit in different spaces. Maybe everyone feels this way. But it’s acting, it’s sort of just feels like a lot more overt version of that. But I think I do feel like I’m sort of performing all the time, in a way.

Elyse Myers  22:22

I relate to that more than ever. What’s funny is I literally just had this conversation with my husband. And I was like, everybody does it like, everybody is performing on a daily basis. And he’s like, no. Like, the most sincere and loving No, but like, that’s a you thing. And I hope one day it isn’t because like, I have found that to, to really make me believe that I could pretty much do anything I wanted to and in a good and bad way. Like, I call it the how hard could it be? Where because of that idea of like, there is just a part of me that I am never fully off because I feel uncomfortable. I think with myself if I’m completely unmasked just myself, right? And so because of that I’m like, I could act, I could write a screenplay like, I fully believe I could do anything. And I’m curious if there’s anything in your life, especially in the creative world. Is there anything that you haven’t explored or want to that you feel like, you know, I’ve never done it, but I could probably figure it out. And it sounds interesting.

Aparna Nancherla  23:31

Yeah. I mean, I would still love to write like a screenplay or something. And I know, that’s like, not an original thing to say, for someone in entertainment. But I think for me, it is. And I think this is actually part of imposter syndrome of like, knowing on some level that you’re like, I am capable of this, right? But then going so much to the other end, like just kind of toggling back and forth all the time between like, I don’t know how to do anything. I’m like, the worst.

Elyse Myers  24:00

Finally, the imposter syndrome is the taking you down a notch and being like, but could you that’s like the fear of not living up to something like the idea of me being able to write a screenplay. It feels great, because until I actually do it, it’s like the Schrodinger screenplay. Like it exists and doesn’t exist, I’ll never know, right? But if you try, then you feel that that weight of like, well, if I fail, that sucks, and I don’t want to believe that about myself. It’s comfortable.

Aparna Nancherla  24:29

Actually, I remember reading something about this, where it’s like, that’s sort of the problem with perfectionism is like, you have this ideal that you were like, I can make, you know, the best screenplay. But then when you actually start doing it, it’s like, no, were like the ideal that you’ve envisioned. So you’re just like, Well, I’m not gonna do that. This feels horrible compared to the thing I’m imagining. Yeah, I think it’s at the actual doing is a lot less romantic than the idea of doing.

Elyse Myers  24:58

50% of my doing is qutting, it’s like half of it is deciding you know what, this sucks. I’m the worst. And I’m never going to do this again. And then the next day like having a good nap and snack and be like, Well, maybe if I’m gonna throw it away anyways, I might as well try it one more time because it’s already going in the trash.

Aparna Nancherla  25:15

Totally. It is funny that on some level, we are all just like big babies. Just like, oh, I didn’t drink enough water. And that’s why I’m having an existential crisis.

Elyse Myers  25:27

Totally. Yeah, every time I like parent, my son, I’m always like, I could learn a lot from you. We’re a lot more like than I think we are. All right, time for one more break. And when we come back, we hear what it was like for Aparna to come back to comedy after taking a pause. I think to as creative people, we, the idea of like output is so important, right? Just like any job, like you’re only as good as kind of what you can output. Yes. But the hard part about that is creativity relies so much on like, rest and being inspired and having the space to really work it out by yourself before anyone has any eyeballs and hands on it. I’m curious if with acting, or maybe back in your touring and doing standup. Like, if you ever felt like there was a point where you’re like, this is a grind, and I just can’t do it. Like or I feel burnt out. Like, how did you manage that? And if you did experience that, like how did you kind of recover from that feeling?

Aparna Nancherla  26:42

Yeah, I mean, when I started writing the book, I think it actually sent me pretty low mentally because I think I was kind of confronting a lot of just negative beliefs that really felt so real and like what I had flipped, built my entire identity around. And so I was just like struggling a lot with writing the book and then doing standup at the same time felt almost like excruciating, because it was like already feeling so bad about myself and then kind of putting myself in front of strangers for like further evaluation at the same time.

Elyse Myers  27:17

Oh God, I feel this so deeply, the 1% of assholes that are just like, are dedicated to disliking you and misunderstanding you really ruin it for you. And I hate that because there’s like 99% of people that love you and just support the shit out of you. The 1% is like not gonna be louder than all of them.

Aparna Nancherla  27:40

So I took a very long break from standup like pretty much the entire time I wrote the book, and it happened to fall during the pandemic. So like, weirdly, was okay, because a lot of performing was not happening as much but yeah, I took almost like, I think a two and a half year break. And I’ve only recently in the past few months, gotten back into stand up and I really didn’t put pressure on myself. I wasn’t like okay, and now it’s time to get back out there. Like I was like, try it, see how it makes you feel you still really can’t handle it. Like you don’t have to do it. And I think that really helped like if I feel like in coming back to performing after such a long break, which felt like illegal at the time. I was like your use down for a couple months like people forget about you. And so I really was just like, well, this is probably it for me like I think it just coming back after so long made it so new again. And kind of like I could reset the terms and honestly is probably the best thing I’ve done career wise is just stepping away from it, which I think is not anything I would have allowed for before taking a break.

Elyse Myers  28:49

I think that is really powerful for me to hear. Because I think that like there is so much fear in I don’t know why he’s making emotional. There’s so much there’s so much fear in like becoming irrelevant. And so I think that if you feel like, like you’re tired and you want to just you feel like you have to keep pushing through it. Like if I do have just a nap and a snack like I can do it but like you can’t be funny and you can’t it can’t fill your soul backup if you’re exhausted. So I think that taking that break for you to be able to step back and be like there’s no amount of like rest that’s going to fix this. I just I need to step away and to reevaluate, try something new. And if I want to come back like not enough people do that, they push through it and that’s really what makes you never come back because it will burn you out so fast. And so it’s I’m really proud of you for stepping away and making it this new thing because now you get to come back and it is fresh and people don’t forget who you are because that’s not the way it works. And a lot of that fear comes from within us and we make up a lot of things in our head. Add, you know,

Aparna Nancherla  30:00

totally. And I think it’s also just you relearning, like what your life is without this thing that has like come to define who you are. And I think for a lot of standups, they are like, that is who I am even ahead of being a person like it’s getting on stage, getting in front of people making them laugh. And I was like, I need to realize I am a full person without this thing, like whether or not I do this thing. And I think that’s really hard. Like, it was really hard for me. And I understand why people like can’t face that sometimes.

Elyse Myers  30:34

This is just like a verbal underlining of everything that Aparna just said, great fears, great fears. So what is it like now coming back after your break and re approaching this stand up career and like, what is this like this time compared to last?

Aparna Nancherla  30:50

I mean, I think the expectations are less. And again, I feel lucky, and that I have like, career avenues that I can work on that aren’t stand up. And if I if I was committed to stand up, it might be a different story, if that was my sole source of income, but I do feel like I can kind of do it on my own terms. Now we’re, I can do it. But then I’m not like, if I’m not getting on stage x times a week, I’m like, not growing fast enough. Or I’m not building enough material. Like I’ve done a series of workout shows recently just to kind of build up more material. And everyone’s like, oh, are you taping this special? Are you? I’m like, No, I’m just I just wanted to see if I could do it.

Elyse Myers  31:31

I imagine literally working out when you said that. And I was like what? And then it took me a second.

Aparna Nancherla  31:37

I know someone else was like, So you like exercise in front of me?

Elyse Myers  31:42

you like dual comedy special, you know, I’m teaching it’s like a Jazzercise comedy. I love that you have the padding in your life professionally, to not rely on this as your main thing so you can enjoy it again. I think that everybody has to fall in love out of love and then back in love with the creative process and their creative outlet, you know, and in comedy and all that.

Aparna Nancherla  32:06

Yeah, and I think with art especially, or like anything creative, like once there’s like money tied to it. Your relationship to it inevitably changes. So it’s just like important to kind of make sure you’re like reevaluating. You know what, what’s there why you’re there while you’re laying creating what you are. And I think I yeah, I really just needed to take stock of that.

Elyse Myers  32:32

Yeah, well, I’m excited to see all the stuff hold the book and all of it like you’re doing so much and I’m so happy for you. It’s awesome.

Aparna Nancherla  32:41

Likewise, so nice to know there’s like-minded people out there,

CREDITS  32:49

Thank you so much for listening to my conversation with Aparna Nancherla. If you like the show, give her a review and a rating. Maybe it just helps people find us. Okay, see you next week. Bye. Hey, if you want more Funny Because It’s True, just subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts. Funny Cuz It’s True is a Lemonada Media and Powderkeg production. The show is produced by Claire Jones, Zoe Dennis and […], our associate producer is Tiffany Buoy. Rachel Neil is our senior director of new content and our VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Paul Feig, Laura Fisher, […] and me Elyse Myers. The show is mixed by Brian Castillo and Johnny Evans. Our theme song music was written by me and scored by Xander Singh.

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