Laugh Tracks: Comedians Aparna Nancherla & Myq Kaplan

By Kyle Dowling

<p>Two<i> Conan</i> alums grill each other about comedy, sex & dating. Read the whole conversation on Playboy!</p>

Sure, comedians Myq Kaplan and Aparna Nancherla may call themselves friends outside of their fields of funny—even inside, I suppose—but that doesn’t mean they know every last detail about each other. Certainly some information has yet to make its way into their conversations…right? Well, we hope that’s the case because we asked the two of them to get together for another installment of this series!

In this segment, Nancherla (Totally Biased with W. Kumau Bell, Conan) interviews Kaplan (Conan, Late Show with David Letterman, Hang Out with Me podcast) about heroes, sex and advice for lost children and adults.

Aparna Nancherla: Myq Kaplan, as a comedian, you like funny things…I think. Therefore, when is the last time you laughed really hard in the real world?

Myq Kaplan: Sincerely, I don’t remember, because I don’t catalog my laughs. I get why you think I might. If anyone did, I would certainly be at the top of the list of great guesses. But sorry, I’m an uncategorizable mystery! That’s my category: “uncategorizable mysteries.” And it’s not that I don’t remember the past, but I’m more concerned with the present and the future, which I see as the lunch and dinner of time.

Breakfast might be the most important meal, but it’s also the most boring. It has the most limited menu and the fewest options. But lunch and dinner? Limitless possibilities! Sometimes when restaurants have all-day breakfast, people see it as evidence that breakfast is so great some people want it at all times of the day. But that’s not it. It’s that lunch and dinner are generous enough to share their timeslots with any food, including boring old breakfast.

Breakfast makes lunch and dinner even more exciting than they already were. So the question shouldn’t be “When is the last time I laughed really hard in the real world?” but “When will the next time be?”

I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t remember. And also, the past and future don’t really exist, so the “real world” has to be only right now. Maybe the answer is now because that’s all there is. Now. Live in the moment…and the moment is lunch!

Nancherla: Well said. Do you have any advice for someone who’s lost in a new city?

Kaplan: Before I give this advice, I have some questions for them:

Are they happy or unhappy to be lost? Are they a forgotten child, à la Home Alone 2? Do they speak the language of this city? Do they not have a smartphone with GPS? Is this a city that does not have the Internet or electricity? Is this person lost geographically or spiritually? Have they just moved to this new city to find a new identity, only to realize that wherever you go, there you are, unless you left yourself back home in your old city?

All that said, I would first say to enjoy yourself. In a world where it is harder and harder to be lost physically, you now have a rare gift in this experience. Wander! Wonder! Unless you’re a child, of course. Then find an adult—a noncriminal adult—and ask for help. I guess the same advice holds for non-children, though.

Now, spiritually lost? Find a noncriminal adult and ask for help. In any situation, that will probably work. But if you’re looking for advice on how to commit crimes? Get lost.

Nancherla: Do you believe in ghosts?

Kaplan: The short answer is “no.” The long answer is [spooky, ghostlike voice] “nooooooooooooooooo.”

Truthfully, I don’t know everything. There are electrochemical reactions that go on in the brain while a person is alive, and who’s to say that once that person is dead and that brain’s molecules are scattered throughout the universe, those exact patterns which made up that person’s consciousness couldn’t be duplicated in the form of a hazy, flickering being? Not me! It seems statistically improbable, but I’m no scientist. So on ghosts, I’m an atheist.

Nancherla: Have you ever been catfished? Have you ever catfished someone?

Kaplan: I don’t think I’ve ever catfished or been catfished. The only time that I came close to a catfishing situation was a year or two out of college when I did some online dating, and when we met in person I believe the girl thought that I would be taller. I never told her my height, but maybe I email like a tall person. I do sit at an elevated keyboard, which I reach by sitting on another short friend’s shoulders while we both collectively wear a giant trench coat…so I don’t blame her. I wish her the best.

Nancherla: Speaking of dating, favorite finishing move in sex…go!

Kaplan: To never finish!

Nancherla: What is the best pickup line you’ve ever used? Also, what is the best pickup line you’ve ever unused?

Kaplan: Whenever I’m single, or in an open relationship, or in a monogamish one, or dating nonexclusively, or any other time in my life when I’m authorized (by self and/or others) to use pickup lines, I feel as though everything I say is a pickup line. Not necessarily explicitly, but everything I put out in the world is essentially a representation of my desires.

I go onstage and say the things I want to, I talk to people offstage and say the things I want to, and the people who enjoy what I’m saying often tell me so. Then, through a process of what I call “being a human in society,” different combinations of people decide to continue to interact at various levels of connection and communication.

I guess I don’t use pickup lines. But if I had to choose, I like this old classic: “I forgot my phone number, can I have yours?” This is perfect up until the age at which senility could actually make someone forget their own phone number.

Nancherla: Would you consider yourself a texter or a caller?

Kaplan: I certainly create more texts than I make phone calls, but I definitely am a caller. So both! I know some people who say, “I don’t use the phone for its original purpose. What are you…a cave person?” If cave drawings were the most efficient way of having a quick back-and-forth, I’d probably use them as well.

That said, I do enjoy talking. I do it for a living, I do it as a hobby and I do it in my sleep. But I have some good friends who live in far-off places, and I like being in touch with them. And until I am a ghost that can haunt them in person, or we’re both ghosts that can hang out in heaven, I like the phone as a means to perpetuate that friendship while on different parts of the Earth. Not that I’m saying if you don’t use the phone, you hate your friends. I’m just saying that I love my friends.

Nancherla: Last question. Do you agree with the expression “Don’t meet your heroes”? Please explain or don’t.

Kaplan: I would never tell anyone not to meet their heroes. I can’t guarantee that finding out what your hero is like will go exactly the way you want it to, or imagine it will, but I do believe that knowing is better than not knowing. More information is almost always better; more experience almost always makes our lives richer. Therefore, if you find out your hero is a dick, sure, that could be disappointing. But that doesn’t mean the experience you had of loving them previously is invalidated. Or if it is, then it probably deserves to be invalidated. Then fine, don’t meet your heroes. Or maybe have better heroes…ones who aren’t dicks. That should be the first step, I think.

Some people might be horrible to meet and you’ll wish you hadn’t. But hopefully the ones you love won’t be. You’ll never know until you try. Would you rather go your whole life thinking something that’s possibly not true when you could know the thing that is true?

Live your own life the way you want to. Be your own hero! And only meet yourself if that’s what you want. Unless you’re a dick. Then maybe don’t.

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