One Month At A Time

Improv Comedy: Getting to Know You: Nick Griffith

Here’s another profile from one of the Improv 304 people: Nick Griffith.


Name:Nick Griffith

Age: 33

Hometown: Charleston

Occupation: It’s complicated.


What’s your life like outside of comedy?

I write, hustle and I work at Kroger.

How did you get started in Improv/Comedy?

I worked at the Dayton Funnybone for a year before I moved to LA to be a film-maker. I bought decent pro-sumer video gear and that led to shooting comedy videos.

Shortly after I moved to LA I went to see a few short form improv shows at places like groundlings and brushed off improv until I saw a long form class show at UCB in LA. After seeing what improv could be I started going to more shows to watch Harold and long form teams.

When I took a Second City sketch class they kept pushing improv. I wanted to take classes through UCB or Miles Stroth but they all cost about $500 and have attendance policies. When you freelance in TV and Film you can’t turn down work because you have improv class and you can’t leave early. Sometimes there’s travel involved.  I found free weekly improv classes through yelp that generally followed UCB principles. It was a now defunct school / group called Monkey Butler.

What was your first workshop or show like?

I was incredibly nervous because I’m a behind the scenes guy. I get super nervous performing and even just meeting large groups of strangers so it was limit testing.  In my first “serious” improv class there were people who had been funny on TV and regulars who could just destroy in every scene and then a couple as first timers like me. I jumped in because I realized that if I’m going to buy the ticket I might as well take the ride. Everyone starts somewhere. Eventually I got good enough to get moved up a level or maybe they just took pity on me.

In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?

My comedy heroes are a lot of Largo, Mr. Show and “The State” alums with Bob Odenkirk probably being the at the top of those. Larry Gelbart, Phil Hartman, Conan / Jeff Ross. Kids in the Hall. Steve Martin, Mitch Hedberg. KITH.

I’m also into weirder stuff like Kristen Schaal, Scott Aukerman (Comedy Bang Bang) and Tim And Eric

What’s the best part about what you do?

It’s challenging and almost impossible to perfect and when you do get something exactly right it seems so remarkably easy people think you could learn to do it in a day.

What’s the hardest part?

Killing the voice in your head that tells you what you’re currently working on sucks and sticking with it until it’s good.

What’s (almost) always funny?

Water skiing squirrel.

Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?

Don’t worry about making people laugh or messing up. You’ll do both and sometimes the audience won’t know the difference.

Don’t get discouraged when you watch “whose line”. It is improvised on the spot but there’s a little Hollywood magic behind it as well.

Short form is for quick laughs but if you learn long form you can play with anyone who also knows.

Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?

Just tip your wait staff.

Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?

Our politicians keep on asking Santa to bring big coal back to save WV but we’re about as likely to get a unicorn under the tree. I think this is pretty much the only region in the world that considers global warming anything but a fact and for a group of people who’s so concerned about looking ignorant to outsiders we sure look stupid for that.

If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?

Are you mad Aisha Tyler stole your gig?

Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?

It depends on what media you’re watching. Also what you consider a prison.  Also yes. I’ve been to prison. Not like sent there, it was for a shoot. You’re not allowed to spit. Also legalize it. Not spiting. You know what.

How good is your spelling?

My blog is so if you couldn’t tell it’s beyond impressive.

Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?

The best things in life are free and it just so happens most local comedy shows are also free. Quit putting it off and go see live comedy.

Have you ever been to Ohio?

What’s an Ohio?