The Fordham Ram

Senior Strides Into Stand-Up Scene

Abby+Govindan%2C+FCRH+%E2%80%9819%2C+is+a+former+intern+at+%E2%80%9CFull+Frontal+with+Samantha+Bee.%E2%80%9D+%28Courtesy+of+Abby+Govindan%29
Abby Govindan, FCRH ‘19, is a former intern at “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” (Courtesy of Abby Govindan)

Abby Govindan, FCRH ‘19, is a former intern at “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” (Courtesy of Abby Govindan)

Abby Govindan, FCRH ‘19, is a former intern at “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” (Courtesy of Abby Govindan)


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By Isha Khawaja

The creator of many of your favorite tweets may be sitting right next to you in class.

Abby Govindan, FCRH ’19, a psychology major and an intern at “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” is actively pursuing stand-up comedy and has recently gained 21,000 followers on Twitter.

Her most famous tweet was a phallic pun that gained 100,000 retweets and 500,000 likes. Govindan explained the tweet was based on a conversation she had with her therapist. After getting diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Govindan turned to twitter to cope with her trauma.

Overnight, publications reached out to Govindan, and she gained an estimated 13,000 Twitter followers. Young Indian girls sharing similar problems reached out to her.

Govindan received an overwhelming amount of support from Indian girls on the platform, who confided that they also suffer from PTSD from an abusive father, boyfriend or uncle. According to Govindan, this disorder is not discussed enough in the Indian community.

“Women are seen as the bane of strength in these communities,” she said.

“Showing any form of weakness is looked down upon, especially when the weakness is brought onto you from someone within this community.”

Through Twitter, Govindan created an open dialogue for young Indian girls suffering from PTSD.

Besides her comedic online presence, Govindan began to perform stand-up while studying abroad in Ireland.

After finding out her application to study abroad in Madrid was denied, Govindan was not excited to study in Ireland. “I felt like it was the Texas of Europe,” says Govindan. “I was scared I wouldn’t fit in, but I always say that Ireland is not what I wanted but what I needed.”

During her time at Maynooth University, she joined the debate club and developed her stand-up comedy around the Dublin area. This would have never happened if she studied abroad in Spain. Govindan produced and hosted shows, which gave her the traction she needed when she returned to New York City in June 2017.

Govindan also bettered her stand-up comedic skills by signing up and attending weekly classes at Carolines on Broadway, a venue for stand-up comedy located in Times Square. Her interest in comedy stems from early high school. During her lunch breaks, she would listen to stand-up comedians, dreaming of one day performing.

However, she faced lots of discouragement for her dream. “My parents and everyone I knew were telling me the same thing: Indian girls don’t do comedy,” said Govindan. “Indian girls become doctors and computer engineers. No one really becomes comedians.”

However, there are a few exceptions to that notion. One of them is Aparna Nancherla.

Nancherla played Hollyhock on “BoJack Horseman,” wrote for “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and released her debut comedy album Just Putting It Out There through Tig Notaro’s Bentzen Ball Records.

In the winter of 2017, Govindan attended Nancherla’s comedy set at Fordham University. Watching Nancherla, a successful Indian women, perform stand-up “felt very much self-actualizing,” said Govindan. Watching and hysterical laughing from Indian women broke the notion that Govindan was told by the people around her so often.

“Seeing her in person shifted the signs that I had that Indian girls couldn’t do comedy,” said Govindan.

Despite the discouragement, Govindan continues to pursue comedy and hopes to live in either New York or Los Angeles if she decides to continue comedy.

Abby Govindan, FCRH ’19, is an intern at “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” (Courtesy of Abby Govindan)

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Senior Strides Into Stand-Up Scene