“Love: The Nick’s Tape” – The Nick Guerra Interview

Nick Guerra Interviews

Nick Guerra has struck a chord with his fans. Sometimes other comedians’ fans also. In November 2015, Nick recorded two shows at the Ice House Comedy Club in Pasadena, CA for what would become his first comedy album. Through a deal with New Wave, his album was released by Comedy Dynamics, a company with quite a few major names already on their roster. I sat down with Nick as he was deciding to head to the gym and we discussed his new album, his thoughts on comedy and a few other things.

Interviewer Nick: Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us.

Comic Nick: My pleasure. I literally have been thinking about doing this since the album came out but created tons of excuses not too.

IN: What made you finally decide to talk about the album?

CN: Well, I wanted my fans to understand what the idea was from what they may have seen at my shows to how I handled it for the final mix. Plus, I had no one approach me at all about interviewing me for this project.

IN: Their loss. Lets start with the title. Why “Love: The Nick’s Tape”?

CN: Well, it was a play off “mixtape” obviously. I’m known for my relationship jokes but I didn’t want to do an complete hour of just relationship humor. It felt like that would be excessive. I had two ideas for other titles, “The Wonderful Nick Guerra” and “Cats and Hamsters”. But there was a ring to “The Nick’s Tape” that I loved.

IN: Why do you feel like an hour of relationship humor is excessive? Most romantic movies are 90 minutes.

CN: True but no romantic movie is 90 minutes of just talking about love. They have a B storyline in there. I just feel like I wanted to show that my material wasn’t only focused on one subject.

IN: Was there a process in choosing what material you wanted to perform?

CN: Absolutely! I really wrecked my brain over what I wanted to do as a set list. I even contemplated recording an all clean version of the show and offering both shows. My manager knocked that idea down since it would be hard to market two separate recordings. Smart man. As for choosing the material, I was told by a good friend, Cristela Alonzo, that you can only really record what is your set at the time and any recording, taping or whatever should only be seen as that show for that night.

IN: And do you think you really showcased that show for that night?

CN: I feel like when you listen to the album, you get a real sense of what it’s like to see my show live when I’m at my most comfortable. The room was perfect. Stage 2 at the Ice House. It holds about 80 people and they are right up at the stage. I had my plans for the show but during the actual recording I couldn’t help but let loose. I added tags I’ve never said, told stories I’ve never told and haven’t told since.

IN: Can you expand?

CN: Oh sure. There’s a few tracks that were mostly on the spot. Uh… “Protect Ya Check”, “Mo Funny, Mo Problems” and “Shorty Wanna Be A Comic”. Those were just stories I did while people were paying their bills. Usually the “check spot” is cut out of recordings but I kept it in because I loved how those stories were captured and I wanted the listener to feel like they were at an actual show. “Shorty Wanna Be A Comic” is actually a stand out to me because a week earlier I was performing at a bar in Hanford, CA and I was talking to a comic, Cody Woods, about a moment I had onstage that I didn’t think I could ever capture again. He encouraged me to tell that story because he thought it had a great point of view on women. I told him I’d think about it and when the show finally happened, I did it. I loved how it came out so I kept the moment and cut out a whole other chunk for it.

IN: A real moment..

CN: Oh and “The Way I Ma’am” was also a twist that I’ve never done before. I used to perform those jokes with no imitation and I had this moment where I just… uh… enjoyed my own weirdness and did the whole bit as if I was a female comic. It worked so well, I kept that too.

IN: So, the track names are hilarious.

CN: Thank you. On the album I brought up a story about how I used to make mixtapes for girls. So I decided it would be even funnier if every track was named after a hip hop song I liked. In fact, I ran into a friend from high school and she reminded me about these tapes and how I’m the person that introduced her to Biggie. Most comedians have ironic “I don’t put effort into naming my tracks” names for their albums but I wanted the names to be silly and fun. I put a lot of thought into those names. (laughs) Way more than I should have probably.

IN: That laugh. Everyone comments on it.

CN: Oh (laughs) yeah. I don’t realize it’s happening as much until someone from the crowd points it out. It’s not intentional. When I laugh onstage I usually am thinking, “This is so silly. I’m not being a normal adult right now.” Or I’m just enjoying that the crowd is enjoying me. The crowd’s reactions cracks me up.

IN: It is all over the album.

CN: I know… maybe too much. I’m sorry to anyone that listens to it. I was giddy all night when I was recording those shows. It was a fun night.

IN: It sounds like the audience really enjoyed themselves.

CN: I hope so. I hope they weren’t just laughing at this lunatic onstage that keeps laughing to himself. That’s my biggest fear. I’m sitting in an insane asylum just laughing to myself, imagining all this. Maybe I left in a few unnecessary moments in the final cut. I got heckled a few times. It threw me off my intended set. But once again… it’s only that show that night.

IN: Do you have any other projects that are coming up?

CN: God, I wish I did. That’s one of my most hated questions. I feel like, “Wait… this project is already considered old? But I just released it!” I mean, I’m always trying to figure out the next game plan. What’s the next move and all that? Being a comedian, you always have “balloon releasing” moments. This career is full of let me throw this out into the atmosphere and see where it lands. If it lands. Or if I even remembered to release it. Wait, I didn’t even put air in it.

IN: Sounds a little chaotic.

CN: It’s chaos of the mind. Mostly we just sit around and talk to ourselves. Everything is a great idea then everything is shit. Then you get haunted by your airless ideas. Being a comic, you have to fight the constant fear of failure. You have to depend on yourself more than you really want to. Sometimes, you have to interview yourself and hope anyone actually listens.

IN: I think you have a few people listening, even if it’s just me.

CN: Now who’s the crazy one here. The one talking or the one that’s actually listening.

Nick Guerra’s album “Love: The Nick’s Tape” is out on iTunes, Google Play and you can stream it on Apple Music, Spotify and Pandora. He’ll be performing around the US throughout this year.

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