My Last Comic Experience… So far!! Nick #ComicComeback

Today is the end of the 1st round for Last Comic Standings Comic Comeback Contest. It’s crazy how this became a full time campaign for both Alingon and I. Both of us have friends, family and fans not only telling us how much we deserve this but how much the other guy doesn’t. That’s what happens in contests. Everything about your performance is put under a weird critic microscope that you never anticipated for what really is just a joke. (Can you truly judge a comic off a two minute clip?) The winner will go on to face the next competitor in pretty much the same full time fight. That is what Last Comic Standing has felt like since I got the news I was going to be on it. But it’s been a really fun fight. Everyone has been super supportive. Everyone has their comments and questions. So here’s my experience with this season of Last Comic Standing.

4 months before I was ever asked to audition, I was on a cruise ship making people laugh or just being an excuse for them to escape their families for a bit. After the show someone had some showbiz advice. “You should probably try out for Last Comic Standing.” To which I replied, “Thanks, that show hasn’t been on since 2010.” I then went to the buffet for the late night pasta and pizza.

Cut to just a few weeks after and I see an article, “Wanda Sykes Bringing Back Last Comic Standing.” That person on the ship was an entertainment psychic. (BTW she lives in Riverside, CA if Hollywood needs her for predictions)

I got asked to audition and I was like, “Yes!!” There was something about this that felt right. I had a feeling that with Wanda behind it, the whole thing was going to be handled how comics would want it to be handled. Plus I needed that unspoken thumbs up every entertainer chases in the industry. The one where you get just enough recognition as a who you are and what you’re doing. It’s a primetime stand up network television show. Most stand up is played right before late night infomercials now.

I don’t know if I can tell you what the length of the audition set without causing legal trouble but it was going to be a favorite “chunk” edited down to a snack. All the questions went through my head. Do I choose a string of jokes? Do I just pick one strong bit? Do I make it fun? Do I make it biographical? Do I eat before the audition? (No but I had a grande coffee)

My audition piece was exactly what I felt could represent my comedy. It was essentially one introduction joke with one strong bit. (I didn’t end up filming the bit because it’s one of my favorites and I said, “I’ll do it if I make it to round 3”. Well I didn’t. Whoops.)

The audition process was way better than the old Last Comic Standing process, which I stood in line for twice. (The 2nd time, I told one joke before Ant just said “NEXT!” At least the trip to San Antonio was fun.)

But even though it was better, it was still just as nerve wrecking. Most comics second guess every joke up until the moment they grab the mic.

And the second guessing happened throughout the whole experience.

The LCS team was so good at keeping the audition under wraps, I was getting texts from not only other comics but some other industry types just fishing around for info on who auditioned and stuff. I told them nothing because I didn’t need the gossip to start with “Well Nick Guerra said…” Plus I knew nothing.

In fact, I didn’t know the 100 comics until the internet knew the 100 comics. I knew the group I filmed with. Here’s the kicker… They were all great in my group. I knew a few, I met a few but I liked them all. Filming in the green room and talking comedy was one of the highlights for me. I think to be a comic you have to love talking comedy and who better to talk comedy than with a roomful of comics that also got this strange golden ticket. I knew from that point on, whatever the outcome, I won the memories and stories.

Now, why did I choose my first set to be the one? Because it was just a fun set. Fun to watch, fun to perform and enough to make people like me. (Especially short girls.) I didn’t think, “Time to pull out your most thought provoking stuff.” I thought, “Hey, this might help me fill some chairs at my first gig after this airs.” Because to be honest, I knew at least I’d still have that. I’d still be able to do comedy. It was a light hearted set. I went with the pop version of my jokes. The “Hi My Name Is” set, not the “Kim” set, get me? (I believe we all have a “Kim” set we’d love to do on TV. It’s better to wait until people like you.)

Before I got onstage, I told myself, “I hope I still have time to go to the Ha Ha after this.” That’s how much I was second guessing my set. I knew one thing. I was the last comic of the night. I had no clue what any of the comics performed before me. I had no clue how many premises had been thrown out. All I knew was it was time to go into show mode and wake the people up one last time.

I did my set like I do my sets! All out! I had to edit in the moment because the audience was so hyped. (Thank you every warm up comic ever for keeping TV audiences so happy) Killed it! Got my laughs, got my applause and got to hear what the judges thought of me. I was so happy I could do nothing but smile. I couldn’t talk. That was a genuine moment of glee for me. I couldn’t fake that kind of happiness.

I advanced! I couldn’t believe it! I advanced! The stress and elation was so extreme, I ended up almost losing my voice for 4 days after. And I had to fly to Dallas to do some shows. (I had to host a college talent show and headline my own night at Hyenas)

So TV show stuff happened in between tapings. Lots of paperwork, lots of planning, lots of questions I couldn’t answer. Then I had to choose a second set.

Now… why did I choose what I call my horror movie set? I had written the premise two years ago and just recently started to bring it back in my set. I love that chunk. (I’m still exploring that chunk while also cutting out most of what went on TV) I did have a biographical chunk. I had to choose. I went with horror movie because I felt like it was another fun piece but also I had a feeling none of the other comics were going to touch that topic. I had to cut it down again and I wrote two different closers to it. One that was more of a story and the one that ended up on YouTube. I wrote that bit because I wanted to make fun of being afraid. I wanted to make everyone forget who they were for a moment and just laugh at the fact that deep down inside we are a little scared every now and then. I wanted a bit that defied age and race. Almost all of us have been scared for no reason because of a horror movie. I also wanted to sprinkle a little social commentary, which Russell caught, just to show that it wasn’t all act outs. Then I wanted to top it off with a blunt premise (Hot Chicks Are Useless – Say that to a crowd and see if they like you), and not only prove my point but also get the crowd to laugh again. I enjoy those type of jokes. You say something unpopular out loud, then you fix it up. Now was the set ground breaking? No. But it was my “Guilty Conscience.” Plus I told myself that if I did the “bio” set and didn’t advance, I would hate myself for not doing the Horror Movie set, not the other way around. Here was the problem: I had no critiques to grow from, I just had to top myself.

Also,what is the number one thing any comic says to another comic before they get up onstage: Just have fun.

That’s what I did. I just had fun.

As we were waiting to here the results of our episode. I looked around. Some of the guys in my group were certain they blew it. Some didn’t know whether to be excited or realistic. But the reality was, none of us knew what was going to happen. I chose to have fun again. I told myself that no matter what, it’s a plus. I said out loud, “If you get picked, go as nuts as you want. I don’t want to see anyone acting cool and unfazed. Because if I get picked, I’m going to turn down for what!” (I actually said that. That was the song of the night for me.)

So I didn’t get picked. I still Turned Down For What! Yes, for the first half hour after that I was a little pissed. I didn’t know how to feel. But I did exactly what I wanted so I couldn’t be upset with that. Then I met with another eliminated contestant at a diner. We talked it out. Compared our thoughts and came to grips with the reality of everything. We are still comics, we are still going to get funnier and all the exposure is going to be great no matter what. Wanda, NBC and her team are going to make sure the comics don’t look bad. (And they haven’t)

I do have stronger jokes. I could have pulled off the snack sized version of those chunks. People said I should have laughed more because my laugh is contagious. Here’s the deal: I don’t fake laugh. I can’t laugh at a routine I know inside and out. I usually laugh at the silliness I get into on accident while performing.

Yes, my twitter following doubled. Yes, I am getting asked to do more gigs. No, the pay hasn’t increased. No, I’m not better than bar and restaurant gigs. No, I can’t tell you any behind the scenes secrets. Yes, it’s all great no matter how you slice it. Yes, I’d do it again. No, I don’t know if they’d ever let me do it again. Yes, I think Ben Kronberg did exactly what he wanted to do and I believe he got just as much support as any of us. Yes, Joe Machi really talks like that. Yes, Mike Gaffney is a great guy and hilarious comic. (Along with every comic I had real moments with.) No, I didn’t get to hang out with Roseanne but yes, it was absolutely awesome hearing that she thought I was funny. “Being let down a little” is something I make most women feel any way.

In conclusion: Thank you so much for the support. Lets see if I ride this until the end. If you want to judge my comedy in person, come see me at a real show. Keep watching every Thursday and Monday repeats because this show is great for stand up in general. It puts comedians back in the spotlight at least for the summer.

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