Fans of caustic comedian Nick Di Paolo will finally get to see his act on the small screen this month.
“It’s the first time I can really be uncensored and [audiences] can see a nice chunk of me,” the Boston native says of his new Showtime special "Raw Nerve."
Well, there were a few bits snipped away.
“I mentioned Cialis in a joke, and Showtime is owned by Viacom that’s part of CBS and [the Cialis company] advertises on CBS. ‘We have to take that out,’” Di Paolo says of their reaction.
Another bit involving racial humor, which he calls “a bit too scary … but nothing outrageous,” also got sliced.
“When the DVD comes out after the broadcast will put it all back in,” he says.
Still, “Nick Di Paolo: Raw Nerve,
” debuting at 9 p.m. EST April 30 on Showtime, lets the public see a rare species of Standupitus Comicus. Di Paolo is unapologetically to the right of center and was mocking President Barack Obama long before folks like Jon Stewart realized the president might not heal the world as advertised.
Di Paolo isn’t surprised his first hour-long special ended up on Showtime, not HBO.
“Their comedy hero is Bill Maher. My ideology and comedy sensibility is completely different … they never really gave me a sniff,” he says.
True to form, “Raw Nerve” showcases Di Paolo strafing the mainstream media for its liberal bias in ways that can’t be repeated on a PG-rated site. The special also lands a few blows against the current White House occupant. But Di Paolo doesn’t consider himself a political comedian. Nor does he see many of his peers getting political these days.
“I don’t think they stay away from it intentionally,“ he says, adding he spends plenty of time talking politics with his fellow comics all the same. Those debates likely fueled a segment of FX series “Louie” where Di Paolo, playing himself, gets into a physical confrontation with the show’s star over ideology.
“We don’t get that heated,” says Di Paolo of his liberal pal, Louis C.K., the star of the FX show. “We would never come to blows over politics … he’s so smart, he sees both sides. He admits to watching ’The O’Reilly Factor.’”
It’s just one misconception he wouldn’t mind clearing up about being a right of center comic.
“People say, ‘you must kill in Atlanta and all those southern cities,” he says, adding folks still think the south is full of racists. In fact, Di Paolo is much more likely to encounter political correctness, not race hatred, when he plays cities like Austin.
“These kids come off the college campuses and they’ve been poisoned, they’ve been scared of certain stuff,“ he says. Yet some of his gags cut right through the PC haze, like when Di Paolo cracks about Obama being the first black president.
“C’mon, this guy makes Bryant Gumbel look like Flavor Flav,“ he jokes.
The 1980s saw the rise of stand-up comedy, but Di Paolo thinks 2011 isn’t too shabby for his chosen career.
“The social media thing is really helping us,” he says, pointing to the rabid Twitter following of fellow comics like “Parks and Recreation” star Aziz Ansari.
“He’s actually funny, but some comics are just good at marketing themselves,” he says.
Di Paolo wouldn’t mind marketing himself to a radio programmer sometime soon. He had his own 3-hour show for a short spell on 92.3 Free FM four years ago, and he currently sits in for Dennis Miller and Dan Patrick on their respective shows.
“I love radio as much as stand up,” he says, adding he thinks he'd be a good fit for an outfit like SiriusXM where he can spout off without censorship. He saw how fellow comic Artie Lange benefited from having a steady SiriusXM radio gig on "The Howard Stern Show," literally seeing the checks Lange received for his weekend comedy gigs.
For now, going the podcast route isn‘t in the cards.
“It’s too much of my time for not getting compensated for it,” he explains.
Di Paolo is clearly happy to have “Raw Nerve” hitting the small screen, especially since the one-hour stand-up special puts comics in the big leagues. He just thinks the move was “way overdue.”
“I think I should have had a couple of these under my belt [already], in my humble opinion,“ Di Paolo says.