Smile Politely

“The Alt-er Boys of Comedy” invade C-U

Nick Martin moved away just over a year ago, and I lost access to one of the more adorable/lovable losers in the C-U stand-up scene. Nick’s sets have a way of making you question your snobby notions about being an adult and taking shit seriously. He makes you either cling to your maturity or toss it out the window. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to talk to him before his waltz into town. When I explained my email interview format, Martin replied, “Nick understands.” So we got started.

Smile Politely: What have you been up to this past year? You moved, right?

Nick Martin: Indeed! I moved from CU in August 2013 back into my parents’ house in New Lenox, IL (town motto: Home of Proud Americans). For six months, I was unemployed and drove to the city for open mics. At the start of 2014, I got a job in the dynamic field of e-commerce, so I moved to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Logan Square. As of January, 2015, I have been priced out of my hilariously gentrified neighborhood as my building needs to make room for a combination tiki bar/Chinese fusion takeout counter.

SP: How’s that going? Good?

Martin: The Chinese place? Yeah, it’s actually really good. Great wings.

SP: What about Chicago?

Martin: Also good! The comedy scene is robust and weird. I’m only getting weirder every day.

SP: What are some of your favorite places to see comedy? Who are some of your favorite comedians to see live?

Martin: I like seeing comedy at The Hideout, because they host my favorite show Late Late Breakfast. It’s kind of a hybrid open mic/solo-performance/sketch show. Once, they let me read 50 incorrect pronunciations of Fredrich Nietzsche while 20 comedians literally sex-rioted behind me. A favorite comedian of mine is Ian Abramson, a now-LA based absurdest responsible for 7 Minutes in Purgatory. Ian has the absurdity of a Marx brother with a Tim & Eric strangeness mixed in.

SP: What makes you laugh?

Martin: Some of the funniest writing I read is weird Facebook pages and Twitters. @dril is literally God and if you don’t read his tweets, you are a garbage-monster. Baby Names on Facebook is hysterical. CD-ROMantic and Nihilist Memes are both amazing nostalgia pages.

SP: Well, I don’t want to be a garbage monster! Tell me about this Exile show. What’s up with it?

Martin: The Exile show will be myself and three friends: Blake Burkhart, Steven King, and Adaml Leibowitz. We’re three tiny fuckbois just looking to joke and get by. After we play CU, we’ll go to St. Louis for more fun. Will the show have free beer? You bet your sweet bippy it will. Do you need a sweet bippy to get in? No, you can use a savory bippy, or even a sour bippy. Also it’s $5.

SP: Why do you hate comedy so much? (Or why do you love it. Either way.)

Martin: I love comedy because I have a compulsion in my brain that forces me to say things that subvert authority whenever I recognize it. I hate it because I can’t turn this compulsion off. It’s on all the time.

SP: I know the feeling. Who is your hero?

Martin: I’m a big fan of the comedy stylings of University of Illinois Chancellor, Phyllis Wise. It’s always funny when university administrators make a mockery of academic freedom. It’s also funny when people make decisions to please their corporate overlords (All Hail Nike). I’m sure Phyllis reads Smile Politely (You can’t spend every night inside your mansion! Sometimes you want to go out on the town!), so I want to cordially invite her to my stupid comedy show. I’ll even make a little throne she can sit in. What do you say, Phyllis? Do you want to cum? Please make this the pull quote.

SP: Where’s your ideal show?

Martin: One with Steven King, Blake Burkhart, and Adaml Lebowitz. Let me tell you a little bit about these freaks: Blake is a construction worker who looks like he’s 45 years old. He’s not. He’s not even 19 yet (he’s BARELY LEGAL!). He tells a lot of jokes about butt chugging and his closer is chugging vodka via his butt. Steven King has the same name as the guy who wrote Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake. He does comedy with a JAM BOX. Honestly, Steven is the only comedian who makes me literally unable to breathe from laughing. If you miss this show, you miss your only chance to see him since he’s going to die on Mars for that Mars thing everybody’s dying to do. Last, but certainly not yeast, is Adaml. He’s a very good boy who looks a lot like a murderer. Once, he drove me to his house to “film a living room talk show” and I thought for sure he was going to murder me. But he didn’t. We actually filmed the talk show. To my knowledge, he’s never murdered anyone. He does tell jokes that are so strange they pull back layers of your brain and force you to drink your own brain juice… but brain juice never killed anybody!

SP: So they say… What’s your favorite kind of crowd?

Martin: The gender non-conforming kind.

SP: How do your friends and family feel about your comedy goals?

Martin: My friends are either comedians or…musicians, so they all understand focusing on artistic pursuits. My family, on the other hand, hasn’t been so understanding. They refuse to let me marry the teenager I met just two days ago. (I met her through comedy.) She’s really nice, but our families have previous bad blood. (They sued us for copyright infringement.) Basically, if our parents don’t let us marry each other, we’re gonna poison ourselves but also we’ll try and poison the water supply. How will we do it? We’ll frack into the Mahomet aquifer, then we’ll sell the energy to a factory that makes novelty Halloween costumes.

SP: True love conquers all.

Desperate Collectors, Nick Martin’s new Chicago Troupe, will be at Exile. You can see them for $5 and there’s “free beer.”

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