Comedian Nick Swardson has been busy over the last decade, starring on shows like Comedy Central’s Reno 911! as well as several films, most recently “The Buddy Games” coming out this summer. Swardson spoke with The Daily Texan before visiting Austin as part of his stand-up tour, Too Many Smells.
Daily Texan: Do you prefer acting or stand-up?
Nick Swardson: Probably stand-up just because it’s such an immediate reaction. When you film a movie, you have studio executives, you have people giving you notes, you have people telling you what to do. You’ve got to edit it, market it. It takes like a year. With stand-up, I can write a joke and go on stage the same night and I’ll know immediately if it’s good or not — I don’t have to wait a year, no one is telling me what to do. No one is like “no, you can’t tell that joke!” So stand-up has always been in my blood. On a side note, in my stand-up, I do a lot of acting. I do a lot of characters, I do a lot of stuff so that makes it more fun.
DT: What’s different about this tour compared to others?
NS: Well, it’s all new material. It’s still my same voice. The people that have seen my shows know it’s just fun. It’s laid back, I’m not political. There’s no shock value. You know- it’s just talking about farting and drinking.
DT: Where do you get your ideas from? Who is your biggest influencer?
NS: All the stories I tell are true. I’ve got two stories that I’m telling on this new tour that are funny and it’s just … I don’t know. Stuff just happens to me that’s insane, so I can just make that insanity into a job somehow. I never sit down and write, I just have life happen around me, ideas form. My influences were Steve Martin, he was just ridiculous and funny. Richard Pryor was a great storyteller. I mean those guys are two greats.
DT: You’ve done a lot of movies with Adam Sandler over the years. How did you two start collaborating?
NS: Adam saw my stand-up. He saw my first special on Comedy Central. He was in bed with his wife and they were just surfing the channels and they stumbled across my special. I used to do a joke about my grandmother, and he really liked the joke. He had this script called “Grandma’s Boy,” and they needed somebody to rewrite it. So he wrote my name down and then called his manager. His manager called me and said, “Adam Sandler wants to meet you.” And I go, “Cool, this is obviously a prank phone call,” and the guy said “No, this is real.” And I was like, “Awesome.” So I sat down with Sandler and he said, “Take this script, read it, and see what you think.” So I did and rewrote it, and he loved it, and the rest is history. It was cool, and now he’s like one of my best friends.
DT: What’s your favorite project that you’ve been involved in recently? What about of all time?
NS: That’s tricky. I mean, “Just Go With It” was great because I filmed in Hawaii with Jennifer Aniston for three months. That was awesome. “Grandma’s Boy” I loved because it was my first big break where I was a producer, writer and star. We were kind of the little movie that could. We had a low budget and low expectations and we just put our hearts and souls into it, everybody involved, so that will always have a place in my heart. This movie I just did “The Buddy Games” was one that I love. It was me and Josh Duhamel, Kevin Dillon, Dax Shepard and Olivia Munn. That was great. That comes out soon, it’s a rated R comedy.
DT: This is your third time in Austin, why do you keep coming back?
NS: I love Austin. I actually looked into buying a place there. I just like the vibe. It’s creative, everyone is super cool. I love the live music, drinking and just chilling out. I just like the energy there. Good people. And you have BATS! I want to move there and buy a bat farm.
DT: What advice can you give to comedians just starting out?
NS: The key to stand-up comedy is just confidence. You’ve just got to believe in your joke and you’ve got to believe in yourself. And you know, sometimes jokes don’t work it’s just like fuck it, who cares, that joke didn’t work, move on to the next one. You’re gonna bomb, I’ve bombed, everyone’s bombed. It’s not the end of the world. Just try stuff, find your voice, and be confident in yourself and who you are and what you’re doing.