The judges Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Russell Peters have had their hands full all season long with hilarious performances by such an amazing caliber of comedic talent. The season started with the best 100 comics in America, all hand picked by producer to audition by invitation only! During this season of “Last Comic Standing”, we have watched the comics perform, compete & conquer their challenges, grown closer to them along their journey, and in the end we’re cheering for them all! From the top 100 comics in America, it’s come down to the final three: Nikki Carr (Bronx, NY), Rod Man (Villa Rica, GA), & Lachlan Patterson (Vancouver, B.C.). The three finalists give it their all, performing their funniest sets after continuing to make viewers laugh week after week. The moment everyone’s been waiting for will be revealed during the season finale, where the judges choose who will win the coveted title of “Last Comic Standing” and a package worth $250,000 including a cash prize, a talent deal and a development deal for a television show! There can only be one & The Last Comic Standing will be chosen during the August 14th Finale.
Being a woman, a fellow comic, and from the Bronx, I am one of the many fans cheering for Nikki Carr who is the last Woman Standing! Nikki has taken some time out of her busy schedule to do this interview with me! Thank you Nikki!
When did you know you wanted to be a comic?
I don't think that I started out wanting to be a comedian, although laughter has been my 2nd best friend all of my life! I grew up idolizing comedy stars like, Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett and Jerry Lewis, My top 3 favorites! I was the silliest kid you ever saw! I'd do anything to get a laugh from my Mother and anyone else who was around. I’m an only child and my funny idols kept me great company! All the while feeding me skills for a career I never thought I'd have. The first time I saw actual stand up, it was different. Funny, but in a "listen closely to what they're saying way," It wasn't until 1987, when I saw Russell Simmons Def Jam that I finally thought to myself, "I make everybody laugh, maybe I can do this!" -How long have you been doing comedy? Nik: I was pregnant with my 17yr old. I was watching the Tavis Smiley show late one night and Steve Harvey was his guest. Steve was explaining the difference between a comic and a comedian. He said a comic is good at making things that other people write, funny. A comedian can find the funny in any situation. I thought about my life and how I solved much turmoil within myself and my world by being silly! I began setting it up in my mind, after I have this baby? I'm gonna try comedy! I called the NewYork Comedy club and told them I'd like to try comedy.The man who I now know as Steve Arons told me to bring 5 paying customers and I'd get 7 minutes on stage. I rehearsed and rehearsed leading up to the performance. On the big day my Mother and 5 of my friends came. I announced to the audience that I was a lil nervous because it's my first time, then I went into the set I'd prepared. The entire time, people were laughing so hard and banging on the tables and stomping their feet, like they were watching a seasoned pro! When I finished, everyone shot out of their seat and gave me a standing ovation. I never looked back after that!
What's life been like for you as a comic?
Comedy has been up and down and good and bad! Sometimes I made pretty good money, sometimes I didn't. But I love it! The travel alone!! Alaska twice, Amsterdam about 5 or 6 times, Germany, London, Bermuda the list is endless! Then, there are the things that people say to me in appreciation of my work. Thanking ME for making them laugh because some tragedy had left them unable to for some period of time. I knew that I was a healer of sorts and I had a gift that needed to be shared forever!
When did you begin performing professionally?
Like i said I started out doing "bringer shows" but in order to keep doing them I had to keep bringing people! All my friends were broke so I had to keep lending money for baby sitters, lending money for cab fare, lending money so they could honor the drink minimum! I was like, 'doing comedy is too expensive"! Then I started entering contests and winning!!! I'd only been doing comedy for months and I won First prize which was to go to the next round at Caroline's on Broadway!!! My Mother was crazy with pride! I bought 20 friends that night and won 1st prize! $100! I was rich and famous lol! People were asking to take pics with me and to have my autograph. Then, I found out that there was a whole other circuit! Not comedy clubs, but clubs where they do comedy! The 1st I went to I lost my nerve! I saw Comedians that I'd seen on Def Jam! I took the stage, but didn't do all that well. I was mad at myself! Then one night I found a flyer on the ground in my neighborhood. I went, they let me get on and I destroy the place!! A comedian Named Drew Fraser was there and told me to come to his "room" which was right up the street from my house. I went and had an outstanding set! Another comedian with a "room" in the BX named Capone invited me to do his show! He paid me $50 after I'd demolished it! Then word got out and everyone started giving me money to come do their "rooms" and I didn't have to bring anybody any more. I was an underground professional comedian.
Were there opportunities for you to perform in The Bronx or did you have to go on the road?
I have performed in every borough in NYC! Thousands of times! I loved the road most! Driving beats flying any day! I'm an awesome driver! I think I probably take after my Dad with that!
What inspired you to pursue a career in comedy?
My Mother said I must get famous so my Dad would find me! Her answer every time I asked her to help me find him. I never found him. Later in life I needed to be found by my own daughters so I used the same advice my Mom gave me and comedy got them back to me 5 months after I debuted on BET.
How often do you write?
I don't write. I can. I'm a great writer but undisciplined! Words have always been my 3rd best friend! I have awards from as far back as second grade for creative writing etc. But I just can't sit down and write jokes! I just think and live and create and retain it all in my mind! I used to run with a funny Brother named Smokey! Now he's always writing! Always got a book full of jokes in his bag and ALWAYS losing his book or his bag! No see, if I lose my jokes, I'd have to lose my whole head!
What challenges do you face being a woman in comedy?
The ONLY thing that I find problematic is that I think I am almost always paid the least. Then I believe SOME guys (promoters mostly), do things to me, like short me after I earn the biggest standing O they'd ever seen. But they make sure all the guys on the show get their money because they don't want to get their head knocked off! Then I hear some of the guys' horror story and realized. Oh it's not about being a female. Janky Promoters don't discriminate. When I hear other Sisters complaining about their experiences I can't really relate! "Guys won't put them on shows!" "They never put women up on stage!" "Why I always gotta wait until there's an all female show?" My answer? I don't know! I am almost ALWAYS the only female on the show! And they beat up the place and save me for last! Maybe it's because I don't call myself a comedienne. I'm a comedian, just like them! I'm gonna bring it just like them. End of story.
What have been your favorite moments in comedy?
Music! Is number one in my life! I 'm Bruno Carr's daughter! That means I've been music since i was a sperm! When I started getting booked to do music concerts, It was like I'd died and gone to comedy heaven! I opened for The Dells and Whispers and Ojays and many, many more and those shows are like no other!
How did you end up being on The Last Comic Standing?
A Comedian by the name of Harris Stanton talked me into it. I didn't want to do it! I don't like competitions! So when I got the call from their talent coordinator! I didn't hesitate! Harris was right! I'd done BET and Starz and Show Time and have nothing to show for it but some old videos lol! I shouldn't say that because I have fans who have been rocking with me since the early Comic View days who stick by me today and they are PRICELESS to me! But you know what I mean ! All that cable exposure and broke as a newborn! This was an opportunity to be seen on a National level that should NOT be taken lightly or ignored! So here I am! Thanks Harris! And Push it Productions! -Have you learned any valuable lessons from the mentors on the show? Nik; Too many to list. Still learning how to change my style and calm down lol! In New York, you have to go hard to play some of the clubs that we do. On a mainstream level you can be more relaxed. Either way is fine with me. The people who love me, love my style, they get it! But lately I've been focusing on the people that hate me and why. Reading their mean and nasty comments and trying to understand what I could do to please them. Some say I'm too excitable! That's the only thing I'm willing to change because that's the last thing that James "Uncle Jimmy Mack" McNair told me to do before Last Comic Standing even came into the picture. He is the comedian who died in the horrid car accident with Tracy Morgan.
How has being on Last Comic Standing changed your life?
I was found by a team that worked for my Shero! Wanda Sykes! I was judged by superstars of my industry who praised my work for GOOD work! I had no home when the show started and a beautiful apartment now! The show basically saved my life! I have nothing but good to look forward to from here on! I got my break after 17 years! People talk junk saying it "rigged" that's so absurd! They ain't giving NOBODY nothing that they don't earn! Do you see how much love they still showed to people AFTER they'd been eliminated? Who does that? Awesome show!
You dared to dream & you are living it! You are the last woman standing on the show and a role model to many of us, for many reasons! You're from the Bronx, You're a woman, your ethnic...is there anything you'd like to say to all of your fans, supporters & fellow female comics out there cheering for you?
Getting back to the haters for a minute.Many of them hate that whole "Last woman standing" movement! But you know what? That's what I am and that's BIG! I am here to show my Sisters that they are good enough to stand anywhere they earn the right to be! Forget that "pretty" s---- be hilarious! Be articulate! Be tasteful! Sound intelligent! And no one can deny you! Talent speaks for itself! I don't care what your talent is! If you're merely a juggler! Juggle as good as every other juggler on the show! Don't be calling yourself no Jugglerette! Now you sound like you want to be treated differently and paid less because you gonna do less! After you beast the show we can gather and be soft ladies behind the scene! But while you're on that stage, let your talent shine so vicious that you are no longer a female comedienne, Just a funny comedian like every one else! Who ever doesn't want me to harp on the fact that I'm the last Woman Standing, has no Idea what it's like to be a female entertainer! They don't get it! But as long as I know it's "a thing," our "thing," I'm going to continue to celebrate that significant accomplishment for the ones who do get it and appreciate it and feel like they're part of it.
What would your reaction be if you win?
I can't even think of an "if I win" - I purposely etched it into my brain that I did not win! To think otherwise would be presumptuous. Not my style. I'm no stranger to disappointment, that's for sure, but at this point, I have already won so much that value can't be placed on it. I did that! And made it all the way to the season finale show! Superstars of the comedy industry liked my work and voted to see more of me until the very end. Yeah I could never be sad if I don’t win. I have way to much to be happy for already! So If I do win?! I will be pleasantly surprised.
Be sure to watch the Season Finale & visit the official show sites at http://www.nbc.com/last-comic-standing Facebook http://www.facebook.com/lastcomicstanding Twitter http://www.twitter.com/NBCLastComic