"I was in the hospital, and it was my first year with a smartphone," Aaron Aryanpur said, recalling the removal of his misbehaving gallbladder. "So while I'm in the hospital, I'm looking up everything. WebMD'ing everything. The Internet is this ridiculous rabbit hole. Next thing, I'm on these message boards, and people are screaming, 'DON'T LET THEM TAKE OUT YOUR GALLBLADDER!' And here I am with this scar..."
Crowned Funniest Comic in Texas 2012 this month at the Addison Improv, after seven rounds of competition, Aryanpur is steadily moving up the comedy ranks. The son of an immigrant father from Persia, this Texas-born family man beat out his friends and mentors to win the top prize, so the honor isn't lost on him. And better yet, the final show was a blast. "It was a really good show," he said. "I think everybody wanted to have the best sets, and the audience got an amazing show."
His material comes from his everyday life, mostly centering on his wife and kids. And for him, his work is about more than just stage time. In an interview with Amy Martin for Theater Jones earlier this year, Aryanpur said, "The last several months have been as close to living the dream as I've experienced yet. I've crisscrossed the country, performed in new cities, and met tons of great people. I have all the things that I'm most thankful for: a healthy family, a sense of purpose, and laughter." He and wife have always made comedy a priority, going to as many shows as possible since before they were married.
A true comedian of the 21st century, a lot of his act comes from Facebook statuses and Tweets. "Sometimes, I just go through my Tweets and see what that'll inspire," he said. A killer bit about voting day came from a string of eight or nine Tweets he wrote while waiting to cast his vote.
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Looking back, Aryanpur laughs at how anal he was with his material. As a new comedian, he used to have his jokes double spaced, typed out, and color-coordinated. "It's so funny how I thought I needed to do it," he said. But now, a more technologically-advanced Aryanpur keeps notes on his phone. But thankfully, he's keeping away from WebMD and interacting with the medical community in a different way.
Aryanpur is involved with several charities, recently lending his talent (and facial hair) to Movember, an initiative to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer, by having men around the country grow out their sponsored mustaches (much to the chagrin of many significant others). And although he echoed better-forgotten styles of the '80s with his month-old Mo, the comedian loved the experience. The Movember movement ended with a comedy show this past month. "It's such a tight-knit community, that if a show has a few comedians on it, they'll have a few more the next day," Aryanpur said. He also participates in toy drives and did some shows for Gilda's Club in Dallas, a place for cancer patients and survivors and their families.
When the powers that be started to change the name of Gilda's Clubs around the country to something completely lame and generic, claiming Gilda Radner's name wasn't relevant anymore, Aryanpur flew off the handle at the disrespect for the legendary comedian.
"There's something to be said for letting people find those names, those movies, those shows," he said. A Marx Brothers and Jack Benny fan, Aryanpur stressed that all comedians, no matter who they are, have the opportunity to learn from their predecessors. But just stick to funny YouTube videos and old DVDs and stay off of WebMD.