A Penny's Worth

Comedian, Nick Thune

Nick Thune is a comedian, singing guitarist and actor whose credits include appearances on The Tonight Show, regular correspondence for The Jay Leno Show, a Comedy Central special and small roles in feature films such as Knocked Up and Unaccompanied Minors.

» Quotes by Nick Thune

Leonardo Da Vinci famously conceded that "Art is never finished, only abandoned". Does this principle apply to writing comedy or is there a point at which jokes are fully ripened?
First of all, I love Leonardo Dicaprio.

I agree with the statement. I don't think Leonardo means "abandoned" in a negative way. You have to finish one to move on to the next. It's interesting though. Does he think he "abandoned" The Last Supper' Did he want to make Jesus's nose perfect, but settled with what he had just so he could move on to the Mona Lisa'

When it comes to jokes, I am always working on making it better or finding a different way to do it . [analogy alert] It's like when I drive to my friend's house . My start point is the "premise" and my friends house is the "punchline"... I know a few different ways to get there. Sometimes, I take the scenic route and sometimes I take the most direct route. Other times I explore. I look to see if there is a new way I don't know about. It depends on traffic (audience) or my mood (my mood). Did that make any sense?

A comedian strides into battle armed with only his wit. Is humor involuntary or can it be cultivated through practice and induced by performance enhancing substances like athleticism?
For the record. I don't stride into battle. I dance into battle. Also, I like to think I'm armed with more than wit. Without charm, wit is useless. I think Nick Thune said that.

To answer your question: Humor is cultivated involuntarily. It's made better through practice. And it's killed by drugs.
A comedian is an actor masquerading as a regular person. How does your stage persona compare to your everyday personality and is it derivative or a pure invention?
They refer to it as an "act" for a reason. When I'm on stage I'm fighting to keep tens maybe hundreds of people's attention. It's rehearsed. Sure, who I am comes through in my act, but only the good parts. Only the parts I want people to see. The rest of the time I can have my guard down, I don't feel the need to generate a laugh out of every sentence.

A comedian's jokes are obviously derived from and so cater to his own sense of humor. Are you the funniest person you know?
I am not the funniest person I know. I'm the funniest person on my porch right now. (Don't tell my dog I said that.)

(Nick Thune's dog)
How do you handle finding yourself half way through performing a bit before realizing that it's not as funny as you had estimated?
I've abandoned a bit before; although, I hate myself for it every time. It's the easy way out. Other times I have suffered an onstage death. Every time it happens it's a learning experience better preparing you for the next show.
As a comedian you're obviously able to recognize something that's funny, but can you quantify what makes it funny? Is there an algorithm which can be used to churn out jokes or do they each need to be hand crafted?
I'm not at liberty to answer this question.

Do you and your fans feel pressure to be funny when meeting each other?
I don't feel any pressure to be funny when I meet a fan. I do feel pressure to be heroic. Do they feel pressure to be funny? I'm not sure. I didn't feel pressure to sing when I met Eddie Vedder last year.