What do they say about New York City: There are eight million stories, and sometimes it seems as though eight million of the people telling them think they’re comedians? No, that’s not it. It is a fact, though, that America’s biggest city is also its biggest comedy mecca. Hollywood may be Hollywood, but New York City is where comedians are born funny, become funny or arrive to thrust their funny upon us. I think we should meet some of these people. This is a recurring feature, a mini-profile of newcomers, up-and-comers and overcomers of New York’s vibrant comedy scene. It’s called Meet Me In New York.
Did you catch the relaunch of VH1’s Best Week Ever last weekend? Nick Turner is part of the new regular cast of comedians commenting each Friday night right there on your cable dial. If he seems familiar to you there, then perhaps you previously had seen Turner on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, or making a splash at Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival. Need to know more? Want to know more! Let’s get to know Nicky T! (Nick Turner is photographed above by Mindy Tucker)
Name: Nick Turner
Arrival date: Jan. 28, 2001 (Super Bowl Sunday)
Arrived from: Richmond, VA
When and where did you start performing comedy? I first did stand-up in the summer of 1999 for two months in Richmond, Va. Then another three months when I moved to New York in 2001, then I quit because of 9/11. Because it was always too soon to do shitty stand-up comedy at this poor city. Then I started in earnest in late 2004.
What was your best credit before moving here? I played the lead in George Mason University’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing.” Does that count as a credit?
Why did you pick NYC over LA or anywhere else?
I’m/was an East Coast kid. I never thought about L.A. Also, I really wanted to live in the city that The State did. I was a BIG “State” fan.
How long did it take to get your first paid gig in NYC after moving here?
Jesus. Forever. For stand-up, probably 2006. I have no clue what it was. I’m not precious about that stuff.
How is this scene better/same/worse than the scene you moved from? Richmond back then had two open mics. One was a stand-up show on the roof of a sports bar once a week during the summers and the other one was a weekly music open mic. There was no scene.
Can you describe an “only in New York City” moment from your experience here? Once I saw a placenta on a city bus. But I’ve been here a long time — I’ve seen a lot of cool shit on city buses. The day before I found a bird flying around my bedroom. I thought that was definitely gonna be the craziest shit I would see that week. I was wrong. A woman had just had a miscarriage! I once got paid to sit in the audience of Judge Hatchett. Once I drove a hummer through Times Square with Stephen Baldwin hanging off the side. I’ve been here a long time.
What tip would you give to any comedian who moves here? Go to the Creek. There’s 11 free mics a week. There’s a ton of new comics. You can work a lot and hang a lot. It’s harder without a community.
Where do you see yourself five years from now? Maybe getting a write up in Splitsider?
Until that day dawns, please enjoy seeing Nick Turner performing around New York City — regularly at The Creek and The Cave as part of The Regulars show on Wednesday nights, and Midnight Run monthly (next up this Saturday night). He also launches a new show this Thursday at Carolines, Nick Turner & Acquaintances. If you’re not in NYC, of course, you can see Nick Turner on your cable TV this year on VH1’s Best Week Ever. Or watch this clip anytime you like of Turner joking about a lost bicycle. Roll it!
Which NYC comedian would you like to see me style and profile next for Meet Me In New York? Send your nominations to: thecomicscomic AT gmail DOT com