Just for Laughs: Funny trumps filthy for Nick DiPaolo
Nasty Show headliner values one quality above all others when it comes to fellow comics
MONTREAL — Nick DiPaolo is back on familiar filthy terrain. A one-time host of and frequent guest performer in the Nasty Show, he returns to the series and will be ranting up a storm when the show opens Wednesday at Club Soda.
And so the 32nd edition of Just for Laughs begins, ushered in once again by the festival’s most enduring and popular series.
DiPaolo, though a perfect Nasty fit, decries comedy classifications. Always has.
To him, there is only one criterion for a comic: “I don’t care if the comic is gay or straight, black or white, male or female, married or single, clean or nasty,” he pronounces in a phone interview. “They call it Nasty, but it’s really what comedy should be: unadulterated, uncensored, unfiltered. It shouldn’t even need a special label.
“Everybody seems to have their own niche these days. We are getting so fractured. But the point is: Funny is funny. That’s all that should matter.”
And DiPaolo is funny, by any standard. Some of us can’t recall jokes we heard yesterday, but many of us remember lines DiPaolo uttered 15 years ago at the festival.
A soupçon: “They say marriage is a compromise. Yeah, a real compromise! Compare the wedding rings after the ceremony. She’s wearing an $8,000 diamond, and I’ve got a washer from a urinal!”
And DiPaolo is the same biblical scholar who once asked if Ste-Catherine was the patron saint of chlamydia, given that the street named for her features an inordinate number of strip joints.
But don’t expect to hear many of DiPaolo’s golden oldies at the Nasty Show. He shot a special in Minneapolis in November featuring an hour’s worth of new material. “There’s a good 15 minutes of outrageous stuff, relating to everything from a--hole bleaching to vaginal rejuvenation.”
And those are the clean bits. “Not really. I’ll throw in some other stuff to cause disharmony among the troops. I treat everyone the same. I hate them all equally,” he cracks. “I’m very miserable from the inside out. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Hopefully, DiPaolo will also do his dynamite impression of Nasty Show host for life Bobby Slayton. “For comic relief, I still keep an irate voice message he left me after I backed out of a gig I was supposed to do with him in Winnipeg a couple of years ago.”
DiPaolo came to national attention after appearing on HBO’s Young Comedians Special in 1995. He has since written and performed in four standup specials, including the aptly titled Raw Nerve for Showtime. His writing credits include the Chris Rock Show for two seasons, as well as Academy Awards and MTV Video Music Awards galas.
He appeared on The Sopranos, but not in as many episodes as he would have liked. “God forbid that they would have asked me back for more, because I might have become a draw,” he is fond of saying.
Apart from being a fixture on the standup and talk-show circuits, he has been making frequent appearances on his buddy Louis C.K.’s acclaimed TV series Louie. The two go back a long way, both having left Boston for New York two decades ago. They even shared digs for a spell.
“Louis is one of my favourites in the business and always finds a spot for me on his show,” says DiPaolo, who did three episodes of Louie this season.
Also helping to stabilize DiPaolo is his wife. “My marriage is pretty good. I bought her a horse a year ago. She’s into dressage ...”
We’re waiting for the other horseshoe to fall, but nothing forthcoming. She really is into dressage. “And she keeps track of my money. Because I can’t. Show me a comedian who’s a good accountant, and I’ll show you a s---ty comedian. It’s actually embarrassing. I studied marketing in university, and the thing I know least about is business.”
One of the things DiPaolo knows more about is hockey. Just like his other Boston-bred standup pal Bill Burr, he’s a diehard Bruins fan. And just like Burr, he’s still going through the anguish of the Bruins losing to the Habs in the second round of the playoffs.
“Milan Lucic and I have the same personality,” he claims.
Doubtful. Few outside his team have accused Lucic of being funny — on purpose, anyway.
“OK, but doesn’t he remind you of a player you had years ago?” Pause. “John Ferguson. He’s got the same nose, same hunched-over back, and he was a big, mean son of a gun,” DiPaolo says in reference to the late, great Habs enforcer.
“But no matter what Bruins fans may think of him, I would love to have P.K. (Subban) on our team. That guy is tremendous. Sure, we have his brother (Malcolm), but he’s a goalie. What good is that? Leave it to a Boston team to have a black player and then hide his face behind a mask.”
The Nasty Show runs Wednesday, July 9 to Sunday, July 13 at 7 p.m.; Thursday, July 10 to Saturday, July 12 at 9:30 p.m.; and Saturday, July 12 at 11:45 p.m. at Club Soda, 1225 St-Laurent Blvd. The show is also presented Thursday, July 24 to Saturday, July 26 at 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 26 at 7 and 11:45 p.m. at Metropolis, 59 Ste-Catherine St. E. The headliners are Nick DiPaolo, Derek Seguin, Ari Shaffir, Kurt Metzger and Hailey Boyle. Host is Bobby Slayton. Tickets cost $49.15 to $61.15. Call 514-845-2322 or visit hahaha.com.
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