Nick DiPaolo sometimes give off the impression of an anti-comic, or perhaps a rather extreme example of the comic’s comic, playing to his fellow comedians more than he does his audience. When I talked to him in June 2006, we began by talking about his online home, which, at the time, needed some updating.
"Trying to use a computer, I feel like I’m 78," he said.
Is it always that way? "Only when I’m on MySpace, trying to meet underage girls! Then I feel like an unemployed electrician from Woburn."
Him and everyone else, right? "Worked for Dane Cook, didn’t it?" he joked.
Does he miss being on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn? You bet. "A lot of people miss it. I get 20 emails a day saying, ‘What happened? Why isn’t it on the air?’ People come up to me, pissed off." So why isn’t he still on Comedy Central? "You can only take so much Mind of Mencia, (expletive expletive)." DiPaolo cusses quite a bit, but creatively enough — as a guy from New York City via Danvers, Mass., might be — so fill in the blanks with your own expletives. "I still talk to Quinn every night on the phone, bust his balls," he told me. "Me and Quinn auditioned for a job, radio job on 92.3, the station (in New York) that hired David Lee Roth They offered us 10 to 2…for some reason, Quinn didn’t want the job. I wanted to murder the (expletive)." But DiPaolo still went on the radio for time to time as a sub, and after our chat, even had a regular hosting gig for a while. "I did a week with Keith Robinson. You remember him. He was the black fella. It was even funnier, I thought, but they couldn’t handle the racial material."
DiPaolo made his big move to New York City toward the end of 1989. "I did my first open mic in ’87. So I did two years of one-nighters…Frank’s Mexican Restaurant in Franklin…These are actual gigs? Dick Doherty’s Comedy Vault. He gave me my first paying gig. I did Stitches…Dick came in…it was me, Vinny Favorito, Flynn…in ’87, ’88, ’89, every pub and restaurant in Boston had a comedy night. It’s weird. You never forget your roots. That sense of humor, that Boston, that vicious sarcasm. Even now…most people think I’m from New York. In Dublin, Ohio, they don’t think any Italians exist outside of New York."
At the time, he had tested for a Comedy Central show that never made the air, but got to co-star on several episodes of HBO’s Lucky Louie with Louis CK. "We were roommates," DiPaolo said. "We moved down to New York together. He’s an eccentric funny bastard…I remember, the phone would ring and he’d actually write the message on the kitchen window in magic marker." He took credit for massive bruises seen on CK’s arms in one episode. "Did you notice the bruises on his arms? That was from me! We filmed these (episodes) out of sequence…every time we walked up, we’d smack each other…every time he wasn’t paying attention, I’d run up to him and smack him. While I was watching (that week’s episode), I was saying, ‘What, does he have AIDS? Why would she sleep with him?’ He’s got like melanoma!"