A stand-up comedian has one job: to make people laugh. However, how that happens is entirely up to them. And as we've recently found out, making people LOL is much harder than you would think. We had the pleasure of speaking with Nicholas Krywucki, an American comedian who is making his way in the Montreal comedy scene. Krywucki found himself in Canada to attend McGill University because of their psychology program. He told us all about his experience of being a young funny man.
Known on stage as Nick K, Krywucki is a newcomer to comedy. Almost brand new. He's only been doing stand-up for a year but he has found himself rising in the late-night ranks.
Krywucki comes off as cool and confident. He doesn't seem like the type of guy who would be too bothered if his jokes flopped or the crowd hated him, which is good. If you can't take criticism, stop now. Comedy is all about trial and error, and you might get a few tomatoes thrown before you have a crowd in stitches.
Keep reading to learn more about Nick and see what it takes to be a comedian!
TheThings (TH): So, what drew you to comedy? There are so many realms of performance and you choose to make others laugh. Why? Were you a funny kid growing up? Does it come naturally?
Nicholas Krywucki (NK): It really was just a random thing for me. Most comics always wanted to do it, but it was kind of something I stumbled into with my Teaching Assistant being a predominant Montreal Comic, Sara Quinn. Comedy is a great way to distract yourself from stress and get some kind of validation to your fudged up views of the world. Definitely not a natural thing.
TH: How long have you been doing comedy?
NK: About a year.
TT: How was your first gig? Also, have you ever been booed?
NK: My first gig was at a terrible open mic bar and I drank so much after that I forgot [about] it. I have never been booed actually! I can’t wait to get booed though.
TT: How do you book jobs? Do you find them or do they find you?
NK: It’s very mixed. I get a ton of comics messaging me about booking them now and honestly, don't have time to go through them all. I normally end up doing mixed booking. Headliners and hosts I will message personally and often the opening acts are a mix of in-town people and local people that message me for stage time.
TT: What has been your worst experience at a stand-up gig?
NK: I did a roast battle and my opponent was the nicest Indian comic in the city, I'm the meanest white comic in the city. I didn't have any way to not come off like a total a** muffin.
TT: How long did it take from deciding to become a comedian to doing your first show?
NK: I did a coffee house set kind of spontaneously, freshmen year of college. Then I went to one open mic at the prestigious Grumpy’s bar. I watched, didn't go up and drank myself to sleep. Then I found out my psychology stats TA was a big local comic. I randomly saw her on Facebook in the summer and messaged her and then she got me involved.
TT: What makes a good joke that the audience will love? What is your process of writing a joke?
NK: There really is no process to it for me, I just write whatever I think is funny on my phone and then if I keep thinking about it for a couple days I will make a joke out of it. It’s too comic-by-comic style to determine what an audience finds funny, you just have to be on stage enough to get a feel!
TT: What is your brand of humor? What do you find funny?
NK: I don't know what brand, I also am ashamed to admit I really don't watch other comics or have favorites.
TT: Do you see this more as a hobby or a career? How do you plan on getting a bigger fanbase?
NK: I produce a lot of big shows and make a lot of money off the shows I produce, so I really see the production as a job. My personal standup I like to keep as more of a hobby for the moment and kind of see where it goes in the next couple years. Most stand-up comics don't really form fanbases for their brand, but I try to use social media.
TT: Do people ask you tell jokes all the time?
NK: YES. AND I SWEAR TO GOD.
TT: When you’re performing do you have a different type of persona on stage than your everyday one?
NK: Yes absolutely. I wouldn't be able to translate my regular personality and still be funny. The persona isn't not-me though. It’s more than when I'm funny in the "everyday" I am a certain way and when I distill my comedic parts down they all form into that "certain way."
TT: What famous comedian do you draw inspiration from? Who do you find funny?
NK: Ali Wong is probably my spirit animal. She actually went from a nobody to performing at the Comedy Cellar in under a year so she’s very aspirational.
TT: Do you have any advice for anyone looking to get into comedy? What kind of commitment does it take to be successful? Is mainstream success the end-all goal for most?
NK: I have gotten a lot of students involved in the scene here and I find the best advice is to just do it. You’ll be terrible your first time and that’s ok. You might not want to do it again, but you will regret it if you never just throw yourself on stage for the first open mic. Honestly, commitment-wise you will just do what you want. If you want to get paid you'll put in the work on late-night mics and writing, if it’s just a hobby you’ll just do it for fun.
TT: Why do you think people should attend comedy shows? Why should they pick comedy over a movie or concert?
NK: Standup has a unique artistic feeling that other arts just can't have with an audience. It’s not for everyone for sure, but for people that like to laugh and enjoy stand-up, there is a special intimacy only in stand-up. It’s not premeditated and the audience at a good show really feels fluid and amazing.
TT: Have you ever been recognized as a comedian? If so, how did it feel the first time?
NK: I have been! On McGill campus, I have gotten random messages and people come up to me about it. It feels really weird. You are proud and freaked out at the same time to have someone admit they have thought about you, a stranger, on their own.
TT: What does it take to be a good comedian? What type of qualities does a person need?
NK: There really is no template. Some people that are really funny are terrible on stage, and some people boring as dirt are amazing. The only way to know is to get laughs on stage.
TT: What’s the most difficult thing about performing?
NK: Reading an audience. Sometimes a crowd just isn't right for certain jokes or acts so you have to kind of adjust on the fly. The host or person before you could sh** the bed and screw you over and make you have a bad set. Just forgetting bad sets is most important.
TT: What’s the greatest compliment you’ve ever received about your comedy?
NK: Someone at a bar was writing something and closed their computer to focus on me instead of their work. That was special.
Thank you so much, Nick, for answering our burning questions! And don't worry, we're certainly laughing with you, and not at you!