Aparna Nancherla Implores Fellow Comedians to Move Beyond Easy Trump Jokes

By Sameer Rao Dec 15, 2016

Comedian Aparna Nancherla ("Late Night with Seth Meyers," "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell") has a message for other funny folks wrestling with Donald Trump‘s impending presidency: do better. 

"The most cliché Trump jokes—his orange skin, emphatic hand gestures and tween-like reflexes on social media—have been hashed and rehashed, hashtagged and retweeted," she writes in a Village Voice essay published Tuesday (December 13). "But these sorts of jokes about him fail to even begin countering the disastrous impact he’ll have upon the world. Because the problem isn’t that he’s unmockable; it’s that he’s too dangerous to simply mock."

The South Asian-American comedian’s essay explores why it’s important for comedians to speak truth to power, particularly when it comes to an affluent target who won the presidency using discriminatory rhetoric. "As comedians, it is up to us to overturn and shake and deconstruct and weigh every system that governs life," she writes. "This work, my work, feels more active now, more important. I feel driven to express my strong opinions and to challenge people’s thinking, even when it’s scary or inconvenient. To remain stolid in the face of trolls, of which there were always many but now even more." 

Read Nancherla’s essay in full and let us know what you think in the comments.