No topic off limits at Jenny Slate and Aparna Nancherla comedy show

Slate and Nancherla talk sexuality and politics

Slate and Nancherla used their comedic charm to talk about female sexuality and politics at Goldstein Auditorium Feb. 9.
Published: February 5, 2018 | Updated: April 2nd, 2018 at 1:58 pm
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Although it was a snowy Friday night, hundreds of students were drawn to the Goldstein Auditorium at the Schine Student Center to watch Aparna Nancherla and headliner Jenny Slate perform stand-up comedy. The show started at 8 p.m., but crowds filed into the room as early as 7 p.m. to get a good seat and view of the comedians. Throughout the night, it is safe to say that tears were shed and stomachs were sore from intense laughter.

Nancherla, a rising comic force, was the first to take the stage. Owning her awkwardness with her dry sense of humor, she spoke about the cheesiness of women’s magazines and the seemingly random wording editors use in their headlines — for example, looking confident by “walking around like you have a sexy secret.” Politics, a topic that is now often covered in comedy, was obviously touched on as she talked about Vice President Mike Pence, saying that he simply wasn’t a real person. She joked that he sleeps with his eyes open standing in the corner of his office, or that he definitely chose to walk out of his mother’s womb because the other route would be too suggestive since they’re “not married.”

“I appreciated them beginning the show with Aparna,” said Jacklyn Munck, a Syracuse University senior. “I feel like she’s not someone that’s super typically known and I really enjoyed her dry sense of humor because it was really easy to understand and relate to.”

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Aparna Nancharla talking about a bad date she went on during her set at Syracuse University.

Nancherla ended her performance by using the reference “hashtag time’s up,” which signaled the beginning of the headliner, Jenny Slate. Slate, who is in the upcoming movie Venom, was filled with energy as she took to the stage while dancing around for a couple of minutes and then told the audience to “shut it.” It was clear throughout her entire performance that she had an extremely animated comedic presence, which differed from Nancherla.

Slate’s humor seemed to focus mostly around her childhood, religion and upbringing as she talked about her intense Jewish looks to start the performance. She told the audience that as a child she looked almost exactly like Anne Frank and in any remotely Jewish situation people would stare at her in amazement as she joked, “I’m still here.” She wished more than anything to have a really Christian name instead, like Erin or Kelly, saying that the thought of having one of those names turns her on. It became almost a sexual fantasy for her to have someone come up and ask, “Erin O’Brien, right?”

Slate also touched on her personality that she described as genuinely weird. She joked about people who say they’re weird, but in reality aren’t weird — “people who are like, ‘Oh I’m the quirky, weird one of the group. I light a candle during the day just because, and I have breakfast for dinner sometimes because I’m quirky.’” Instead, she said that she was the weird one because she wanted to wear a cape to school and was the kid with no friends who was always horny in the corner.

Sexuality was a huge theme of her jokes throughout the night. She talked about always being horny as a kid and would watch people make out at school. But regardless of how horny she was, she considered herself a late bloomer because she did not get her period until she was 16 years old. Slate ended the show talking about sexuality on a more serious note. She spoke on the idea of “sluts,” saying it was a word created by men who didn’t want women to feel powerful about their sexual choices, and for that reason, “sluts” didn’t exist. It brought an incredible sense of realness to her performance, which received a lot of praise from the audience.

“The show no doubt exceeded my expectations as I loved that Jenny Slate talked about real things to us,” said Carrie Kaiser, a Syracuse University senior. “I appreciate that she brought up issues on women’s rights in a light, comedic way so everyone in the audience could still enjoy it and not feel singled out in any way because there were a lot of boys in the room.”

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is a contributor to The NewsHouse at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.