Nick Swardson at SoBe Comedy Fest: On Partying In Miami, and Lack of Fan Support For His Films

Let's all admit it together, we love Nick Swardson. It feels a little guilty, considering that he is the guy that was one of the main writers behind Malibu's Most Wanted, Grandma's Boy, and Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star. But like it or not, once one of those movies pops onto Comedy Central in the middle of the night, it's time to grab a bag of Doritos and laugh at all the classic Swardson moments, like an adult man impersonating a robot, brilliantly mocking coworkers as "turd nuggets."

It's not just his films that any comedy fan has come to love. He's also been a fan favorite scene stealer as roller skating diva Terry Bernadino in Reno 911!, as well as for his appearances in Adam Sandler movies, and let's not even get started with the brilliance that momentarily blessed Comedy Central's airwaves as Nick Swardson's Pretend Times. Will anyone ever forget characters like Gay Robot or Wheelchair Cat?

While Swardson has fully established himself in film and TV, at heart, he is still the stand-up comedian that bravely got up on Minnesota stages at the age of 18. To reinvigorate his stand-up career, Swardson is coming to this year's SoBe Comedy Festival Saturday, April 5, where he'll be appearing at the Fillmore Miami Beach.

In preparation for his arrival we asked about the notorious partier's plans to tear up Miami's nightlife, his life as a comedian, and the frustration he's experienced from a lack of fan support for his movies.

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Cultist: I'm sure you've been to Miami on tour before. What stood out to you about the city while you've been down here?

Nick Swardson: I've only been there once. I've never performed there. I did a college there, but I did Reno 911 Miami there. We shot on South Beach. That's the only time I've ever been there.

A totally new experience.

Yeah, so I'm excited to spend a little bit of time there. I won't be there that long. But enough to explore a new city. I've been to every city about 50 times.

You notoriously party kinda hard, are you going to take advantage of South Beach's nightlife?

I'm not. I am known to party pretty hard. When I'm working, I don't really party that much when I'm on tour. It depends on the situation. This will be a pretty mellow trip for me. I can't rage or party. I have too much stuff going on back in L.A.

It's really easy to get in a lot of trouble down here, too.

Yeah, that's the thing. I'm going to be sober in Vegas the week before. I'm just trying to focus. I am a partier, but it's very calculated. I'm not a loose cannon. I don't mess with my work.

Speaking of touring, you haven't been much of a touring comic since your movie career took off. Are you trying to get back into touring more, or is this a once in awhile type of appearance?

We're planning a big major 30 city tour in the fall. I quit stand-up when I was doing my TV show and making movies. I kind of wanted to get a new perspective and clear my head a little bit. I've been getting back into it for the last year and a half. This is just kind of a fun thing. I wanted to do the SoBe Comedy Fest for awhile, but I could never clear out my schedule. So I'm excited.

Bucky Larson was panned pretty hard by the critics. How do you drown out all that negativity? Is there a part of you that was proud to inspire so much out of critics, even though it was negative?

The critics I didn't care so much, because I expected that. That was a softball for them to hate and didn't surprise me. The only thing that surprised me was my fans that hated on it. They took the critics advice before even seeing it. That kind of bummed me out. It's like nobody even gave it a chance.

Once it hit DVD, then people started watching it. They started hitting me up that it was one of their favorite movies. I'm like, "why did you hate on it when it first came out?" Everybody was like "this movie sucks." Nobody went to see it, but then, when they spent some time with it, they're like "oh, it's really funny."

It just bummed me out that nobody trusted me to deliver something funny. I get it if you just don't like it, but I stand by it, [Adam] Sandler stood by it, and I think it's a funny movie. It's just funny when people who are fans are like, "oh, this sucks."

Same thing with Grandma's Boy. The critics destroyed it, and it bombed in the box office, nobody went to see it. Now, I hear everyday how much that movie means to them. Everyone is like "why don't you do another one?" And I'm like, I will, but you have to go see them in the theater. I can't have movies keep bombing. You have to support.

You didn't go to college. You started doing your first stand-up gigs while you were still a teenager. Would you recommend other future comics skip the whole college experience and throw themselves in front of a microphone as early as possible as well?

People have to realize that you have to commit so much time, your whole life really, to comedy. I dedicated my whole life to it. I abandoned everything. I booked some commercials and had some people help me out along the way. It's a really, really hard life, and there are no guarantees.

If you want to do that, I don't recommend it. Personally, I don't recommend it. If you do choose it, you have to make a full commitment and realize there's no guarantee.

South Beach Comedy Festival present Nick Swardson. Saturday, April 5, at the Fillmore, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $35 to $58 plus fees via fillmoremb.com.

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