Nick DiPaolo is very upfront in saying, if you are offended easily don’t come to his show.
The stand-up comedian says it still makes him laugh when he sees an audience member appalled; he doesn’t understand why anyone would wander into a comedy show without knowing what kind of humor to expect.
“It’s not for the faint of heart,” he advises. “I sort of cut loose.”
DiPaolo says his jokes are often autobiographical and about marriage. But his comedy also runs the gamut from his feelings on roadside memorials—“tacky”—and girls using cellphones to record homeless guys masturbating on the subway. Then there’s the University of Colorado professor who advised female students to ward off a rapist by vomiting or urinating in front of him. He also likes to talk about death, “because I’m 52 and I can see the finish line.”
DiPaolo counts among his influences George Carlin and Richard Pryor, comics who, like him, didn’t care who they offended.
“I’m not a real political comic, but I lean right in my politics,” DiPaolo says. “Unlike the rest of these jerkoffs in this business who hide in the shadows being afraid of ruining their career, I don’t give a s—. And it shows in my résumé.”
He doesn’t really see the point in trying to hide how he leans. “Like my buddy Colin Quinn said…‘You can be telling a joke about McDonald’s and people can tell how you voted.’”
DiPaolo, who’s originally from Danvers, Massachusetts, got his start in Boston in the 1980s, when that city’s comedy scene was exploding.
“That’s where I cut my teeth,” he says. He performed with “guys like Lenny Clarke, Don Gavin, Steve Sweeney, Denis Leary.”
DiPaolo later moved to Los Angeles with his friend Louis C.K.—he’s appeared on C.K.’s Lucky Louie on HBO and Louie on FX—but he hated living in L.A. He was living there for four and a half years and toward the end had a recurring character on the last season of Grace Under Fire.
Then one night when he was performing at a club in Pittsburgh, the manager tipped him off that he should mention Chris Rock. Rock was in the audience that night, and after the show he invited DiPaolo out to a strip club. “I get back to L.A. and a few days later I get a call saying, ‘He wants you to write for his HBO show.’”
The Chris Rock Show was made in New York, so DiPaolo moved back to the East Coast. “It was my favorite showbiz job by far,” he says. He had an office with Danny Dratch, the brother of former Saturday Night Live cast member Rachel Dratch, and he and the other writers received Emmy nominations for writing.
Since that show ended in 2000, he has continued to do stand-up and appear in films and television. One thing that really put him on the map has been appearances on the Comedy Central Roasts, he says, especially the roast of Pamela Anderson.
He also briefly had a radio show in New York on 92.3 Free FM, which was formerly K-Rock. DiPaolo started his show in 2007. “Little did I know I was jumping on a sinking ship,” he says. “Howard [Stern] had left a year earlier and the station was hemorrhaging money, which I didn’t know about.”
From 2011 to 2012 he co-hosted a radio show with Artie Lange, a Howard Stern Show alum, and now DiPaolo has an eponymous podcast.
DiPaolo lives in Westchester but he makes frequent trips to Long Island to perform at Governor’s in Levittown. He has also performed on the East End before, at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. “It was a blast,” he says, also recalling driving by huge Hamptons houses and teasing his wife that, “Ray Romano could buy two of those.” With his unbridled brand of humor, he doesn’t expect sitcom money is in his future.
Nick DiPaolo performs Friday, March 14, at Suffolk Theater, 118 E Main Street, Riverhead. Tickets are $35. The restaurant and bar open at 6:30 p.m. Showtime is 8 p.m. Age 18 and up. Visit suffolktheater.com or call the box office at 631-727-4343.