Nick Thune taped his first hour-long TV special last week in Brooklyn, and the stand-up comedian and guitarist mentioned how he’d had to postpone the taping due to a broken arm.
You don’t have to wait to find out why he broke his arm or what he did in the intervening two months — Thune just released a documentary (or really, a mocumentary) about his ordeal, a 13-minute short film, Disarmed, on the JASH YouTube channel curated by Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Reggie Watts and Tim and Eric. It’s written and directed by Doug Lussenhop and Brent Weinbach.
Thune spoke with The Comic’s Comic about making Disarmed.
“To me it seemed like something that hopefully people could relate to, who have gone through injuries,” Thune said. “I talked about it a little at the special. People I look up to, like Bo Jackson, Kevin Ware, people who have gotten injured in their primes, and how they have come back from that. I would say my prime is three weeks from now, so I’d say I timed it perfectly.”
As a comedian who plays guitar to provide a soundtrack accompaniment to several of his jokes, Thune had a real concern not having the use of his right arm.
“How do I play guitar onstage? So we go through that in the documentary. Every city has a nonprofit called strings for slings…So I utilized that. The government really came through for me.”
(spoiler alert: www.stringsforslings.org
Seriously, though. Breaking his bone did impact his hour special, not just by delaying the taping of it, but also by becoming a part of the act.
Says Thune: “It was a blessing and a curse at the same time. It slowed me down initially. For a week, at least, I was on pain medication so I wasn’t in the mood to do anything except feel amazing.”
“They say that you break a bone and it comes back and it heals stronger. I feel like I did that. Going through this process. It challenged me, made me question, ‘Why am I really doing this?’ It’s almost like I’ve got a second chance on life, so why not come back stronger. I made the decision to turn it into a positive thing. When you get injured it affects your work, gets you down. I wasn’t about to let that happen to me.”
“The goal of having a standing ovation on my first joke coming back from injury is a pretty lofty goal,” he said. “I think you’ll see from watching the documentary that anything is possible.”
Thune’s comeback is still going strong, too. His new special, which he said “looks like it’s going to be called ‘In the Nick of Thune,'” needs to be edited and then sold for broadcast and distribution. Thune wants his special to feel both right and interesting to audiences, whether they’re loyal fans or unsuspecting viewers experiencing him for the first time. “I’m looking at making an hour of TV, rather than making an hour of stand-up.”
Thune also is looking to make at least one new half-hour series of television comedy based on his monthly show at the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles, “Nick’s BIG Talk Show.” Joel McHale is going to produce it for Thune, and they’re pitching it as a workplace comedy. “Kind of like Larry Sanders, focusing on the people trying to make a talk show,” Thune said. “Nobody has to ask you to do a talk show. You can do one on your own. You just have to find the place to do it.”