10 questions with conservative comedian Nick Di Paolo

Comedian Nick Di Paolo is a rare breed. As a conservative libertarian in a profession dominated by liberals, he has managed to build a successful career while remaining an outspoken, politically incorrect proponent of traditional values, free markets, and a strong defense.

Di Paolo’s stand up has been featured in multiple Comedy Central specials and he has appeared in many Comedy Central roasts, including those of Pamela Anderson, Jeff Foxworthy, and Dennis Leary. He is a frequent guest on the Dennis Miller Show, Opie and Anthony, Howard Stern, and the Dan Patrick Show. He also currently appears in the new FX comedy “Louie.”

The Daily Caller recently spoke with Di Paolo about how he got his start in comedy, some issues currently in the news, and what it is like being a conservative in show business.

1.) You differ from a lot of your comedian peers in that you are a conservative. Being from Massachusetts – Barney Frank/Ted Kennedy land – how did you manage to become a conservative?

Yeah, I grew up in the suburbs north of Boston, but politics weren’t really important to me when I was younger. It just wasn’t stressed in my house. I really didn’t know much of what was going on. I mean, I remember seeing the busing on TV in the 70’s and all that, but even in college I don’t remember being that glued to the news. But I was never a raging liberal as a kid.

My political leanings really developed when I moved to New York. I started reading the [New York] Post and as you get older and start paying taxes you pay attention. Now, I guess I’m more of a libertarian — I’m a conservative on a lot of issues, but gay marriage doesn’t really bother me and I don’t have really strong feelings on abortion. I think the government should only do what we can’t get done as individuals. Number one protect us and our borders.

2.) Did you always know your wanted to be a comedian? How did you get your start?

I was always kind of fascinated with Johnny Carson’s monologues. My mother would watch the “Merv Griffin Show” and I’d see Jay Leno on there. He grew up not far from where I did, and I remember thinking, “Hey, that guy talks like I do.” I was amazed that somebody could come out and make people laugh just with words.

My parents would watch the “Tonight Show” when I was supposed to be in bed, but I used to sneak to the top of the steps and look down at the television. I can still remember some of the jokes David Letterman told on the “Mike Douglas Show.” He joked about the gap in his front teeth and how he was supposed to get it fixed, but his parents bought lawn furniture instead or something. And he said he had a weird childhood — his father used to tease him with the power tools. To this day, I remember laughing at that.

And then of course in high school I was a real wise ass. But I didn’t start real early like a lot of guys. My buddy [Louis] C.K. got started when he was 18 years old. I didn’t start until after college when I was 25 and had had a couple of jobs.