RM: What was the comedy scene like in Kansas City when you were first coming up and who were some of the performers there that you really found to be entertaining? How did your first paid gig go; and did you really feel like the pressure was truly on for the first time because you were being compensated for your comedy?
NG: There were a lot of smart comics in KC when I started. Most of us were very average, but we knew what we needed to do to get better. The first gig I did was in a dance bar. It was horrible. No one was listening and I had two decent jokes. At the end of the night the headliner thought we should pool our money and buy some coke. The other comic and I declined.
RM: On the testimonials section of your website there is a video of Colin Quinn talking about you where he mentions that you’re “a nice guy, but not a friendly guy”…What do you think he means by that; and do you agree with that assessment of your persona? Do you think that a comic nowadays has to exhibit a calculated sense of cynicism in order to survive, especially in a city like New York? And is it possible to be “too likeable” in this industry?
NG: I think he meant I don’t mingle a lot, but that’s changed. We know each other better now. I don’t think a comic needs to be cynical but it does seem to happen to a lot of comedians. But I’m sure the same thing is true for business people and insurance salespeople and dancers and lawyers. You get older, you get crustier. I think the goal to be a good comic is to just be yourself, whatever that means to you. But what do I know?
RM: You mention in your act that half of the people in this country should be wearing a helmet…Would you estimate that over time that percentage is probably going to increase and might already be higher than that? What do you think is the root of most of the stupidity found in America today?
NG: Do I say that? The truth is most people are doing the best they can, including me. Another truth is we could do a lot better. I mean once every three years I shit my pants. I’d like to lower that percentage.
RM: What moves you to write horror scripts? When did you first find yourself enamored with authoring these pieces; and what is the subject of the screenplay you are currently working on?
NG: I’ve always been a big horror fan. I grew up watching that stuff. SO now it is in my DNA. Early in my career I realized I had a lot of free time during the day, so I taught myself screenwriting. I’ve written other stuff, but always come back to horror. Just basic people lost in the woods, get attacked by monster stuff.
RM: Back in 2012, you released a set’s worth of material on a CD called “Shot in the Face” that was actually recorded in 2004…Why didn’t you release that disc shortly after it was recorded in the first place? Did you have any comedians suggest to you that it may not have been in your best interests to finally put the album out? What made you finally decide to release it?
NG: I recorded and sold it from 2004 to 2010. But only after shows,.. It was unavailable online. SO I re-released it.
RM: You had a great tweet the other day in light of a major comedy news event where you said “Letterman crashed the cool kids’ party for a living. What a legacy!!” Do you think it’s going to be extremely hard for a guy like Stephen Colbert to fill his shoes, especially since Letterman was always being himself and Colbert has basically been playing a character for the past nine years? When you have total control of a room and you’re killing it, does it ever feel to you like you are crashing the cool kids’ party?
NG: I think Colbert will do great. He’s too talented for it to turn out otherwise. As for me, when I am doing well, it just feels easy, feels like I’m relaxed and in charge. The other 23 hours a day feel hard.
RM: Have you ever at any point toyed with the idea of working with other writers to compose material for your stand-up act? What’s your take on group brainstorming sessions that exist for the sole purpose of assisting one comedian in delivering his ideas for jokes?
NG: I think helping out a comic by brainstorming works for some people. But I have my process now after 25 plus years. So I work alone.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
NG: I’m hoping to shoot an hour long special in October. Fingers crossed. And I’ll be writing my ass off too.
Official Website: http://nickgriffin.net/
Nick on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thenickgriffin
Nick on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thenickgriffin
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