We had the good fortune of connecting with David Nieker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, why did you pursue a creative career?
I guess the simplest answer to this question is I never had any interest in the maths or much in the sciences, and I have always been encouraged to express my creative talents. In my day job, I work as an advertising and marketing creative, a copywriter. I make products and services sound great, but there’s not much chance to say what I want to say. I always hoped that someday I would be able to parlay my ability to write ads into writing jokes, and once I realized that it would only happen if I tried to make it happen, it seemed like an obvious choice. I love writing ads but I want to laugh and make people laugh, too. So I pursued an artistic or creative career because it was what I thought I was good at, but I became a stand up comic because I could no longer not do it. I like freedom of expression.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Getting to where I am today just took letting go. Forgetting all the things people said I was or wasn’t and everything people said I could or couldn’t do, and just going for what I wanted, for me. It wasn’t easy and it’s not easy. I’m most proud and excited just about the fact that I get to do it! Every time you hit the stage to do stand up it’s something a little different, different room, different energy, different people. You have your jokes, but you tell them a little differently, or not at all, and react to whatever is going on in the room. It’s incredible. In my day job, all the excitement happens in your head and you have to please your boss, or the client, and you spend most of your time just writing, not talking to anyone. But I I think what sets me apart is my writing. People always tell me how “smart” my comedy is, but I’m not trying to be like Bill Maher, trying to impress everyone with how smart I am. I think they mean it is well-written. I talk about everyday things, common feelings—base, guttural reactions. I talk about my feelings and my perceptions, and so in this way I know I am talking about things I talk about in a way other comics can’t, or at least in a way I think other comics don’t. But I try to be simple and plain, and let people take what they can from it. People seem to think it’s smart, okay, I’ll take that, but I am not trying to be intelligent. I’m trying to be a smart-aleck! I think most of my jokes come from my honest reactions to things I think about. But there’s another big, kind of competing influence for me, and that is Steve Martin, who was the first comic I ever saw live in concert. His jokes come from the point of view that he’s not serious at all. He’s so outrageously not serious! So I like it when some of my jokes go that way, as well. My stuff is either deadly serious or the total opposite. If that’s smart, I’ll take it! I released my first stand up album in 2019, “Unshavable!,” and it’s available for download on Apple Music, Spotify, everywhere music streams, so I invite you to please listen and send me a message on Insta or FB to let me know what you think.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
They tore down my favorite spot in the city, which was Ports O’Call in Long Beach. It was awesome! You could go out there and sit in the sun and eat grilled fish and listen to live Mariachis who wandered from table to table—there was no place like it in the United States! Lately my favorite spot is my living room—I can’t wait for COVID to end! I’ve been lucky enough to host a comedy show called SPICY at a bar in Mar Vista called ArtBarLA, so that’s at the top of my favorite spot list too. They have great art exhibits and a great stage inside, and during COVID we have the show outside, on the sidewalk on Venice Boulevard, and that has been an adventure that never stops! If the city allows us, we’re there every Sunday night at 8 (check current COVID regulations), and we’ll be back inside when that’s allowed.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to give a shoutout to my family. My mom is a nice lady who laughs at most of my jokes, and has been very supportive of my comedy. But if there’s a joke she really doesn’t like? THAT’S funny. And I wouldn’t even know what funny is without my older brother. I’d also have to give a shoutout to all the comics out there who’ve been my friends or helped me along the way. I got into it late, so almost all of them are younger than me, but they have been able to look past my age and treat me as an equal, and as a friend—helping me craft jokes, find gigs, meet people I should know and that sort of thing. Among comics, I’d give special shououts to Karen Rontowski, Bil Dwyer, Mike Muratore, David Connolly, and even my first stand up coach, Jodi Miller. They’ve all been amazing, and helpful and friendly. And also shoutouts to anyone who has ever given me stage time, including great venues like Theater of Arts and clubs like The Comedy Store and Westside Comedy Theater. Also special shoutout to everyone at Jimmy Kimmel Live—I’ve done three sketches on the show and they are the coolest!
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davidnieker/ and https://www.instagram.com/spicycomedyla/
the one of me in the Gulf hat is image credit: Cat Gwynn the caricature is image credit: Courtesy Efrain Martinez