Last Friday I went to my second Hunger is No Joke show at The Pageant in Saint Louis. This year's headliner was the very funny Aparna Nancherla. The Hunger is No Joke shows that I have been to are always good, and they represent a great cause. The majority of the proceeds go to food shelters in and around Saint Louis, and we the audience get to see some top notch comedy. The first time I went, 2 years ago, I saw John Mulaney, and he subsequently blew up. Hopefully the same happens for Nancherla. But, before I get to her, there were some openers.
The host of the night was a local radio DJ, Tim Convy. He does a morning show on Y98 FM, and I have to say, he was a perfect host for the night. He had some solid bits like, how people that work in radio all use a radio voice, including janitors. He talked about being a keyboard player in a band, and how they never really led to many hookups. He told some solid, frequently funny stuff. I found myself chuckling at most of his material.
Convy introduced the first opener, a comedian by the name of Angela Smith, and I found her enjoyable as well. She is a local comedian, and her bits about growing up in Jefferson County here in Missouri, were very funny and very real. She also talked about her love life, but in a different way. She mentioned the dating app world and went into some good material on that whole front. The story she told about a guy "complimenting" her by telling her she was built like a "brick shit house", had me cracking up. The fact that she talked about her mom, who was in attendance, and gave out her real phone number, so guys could send her nudes, was great. She seemed to be having fun on stage, and it really rubbed off on the audience.
The third, and final opener, was my favorite. His name is Kenny Kinds, and he has a way of delivering jokes that I love. He comes off very serious on stage, and when he hits the punchline, his face barely moves. He reminds me a lot of Hannibal Burress, and that is a huge compliment. He told so many great jokes. I loved when he talked about trying to offend white people, and he said the best thing he has come across so far is telling them he doesn't know who Wilco is. That was great. His story about going to a bar to a show to see a band he liked and not remembering the name of the beer he had, but what was on the bottle instead, was riotous. To hear him say that he screamed the words, "WHITE DEVIL" during a silent moment of the show was awesome. I also liked him talking about realizing that he was older when he went to take a picture with his phone, and the screen was turned around. He mimed what old people look like when they have trouble reading something. It was great. I also enjoyed his bit about sleeping with older women because they know what they want. He capped this off by saying that he once saw the biggest sex toy he had every seen. He compared it to the Goodyear Blimp, and quoting Ice Cube's song, "It Was a Good Day". Kenny Kinds is awesome. Seriously people, if you don't know him, or haven't heard him yet, he is well worth your time.
After this, we got our headliner, Aparna Nancherla. I have been waiting awhile to see her live. I love her dry sense of humor. I love the way she tells a joke. I like her voice. I have liked her on any TV show I have seen her on. This show was a big deal to me, and she did not disappoint. She is such a funny, well rounded comedian. She was perfectly able to jump from joke to joke. She has a great way of connecting with the crowd. She tells personal stories. And, she does it all like the seasoned pro she is. Some of the highlights for me where when she talked about being catcalled in New York. The whole "skinny bones" story about one catcaller was hilarious. The other story she told about the guy questioning the time of day while trying to catcall was just as good. She talked about her struggles with anxiety, and the meds that go along with it. Being a person that lives with anxiety, and takes meds for it, the whole bit about dropping pills on the ground was masterful and so relatable. When she went into the audience to talk about dating, and dating sites, it was perfect. Everything she said was a homerun. But, the best joke of the night was about the worst date she had ever went on. I don't want to spoil it because it was her closer, but it was cringe worthy and relatable and so god damn funny. She really crushed. I was so happy that I finally got to see her do her thing live. She is the real deal, and now that she is a headliner, hopefully more people will begin to respect what a great comedian she is.
Aparna Nancherla, along with the rest of Hunger is No Joke, crushed it Friday night in Saint Louis, and I was glad I was there to see it.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is well aware that Wilco is one America's Greatest Band.
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