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.
3.) As sort of an R rated modern day Roy Rogers, I was hoping to get your opinion on some of the issues of the day. For example, a big part of your comedy is your Italian heritage. As the grandson of Italian immigrants, I was wondering what your thoughts on illegal immigration are.
Yeah sure. I love the Arizona law and really think every state should implement something like it. People on the left with their reflexive, politically correct horse sh*t, they say, “oh asking people for their papers, that’s just what Nazi Germany did.” And I go, no, it’s not like Nazi Germany. I mean, I don’t remember the Jews trying to sneak into Dachau, Germany. I don’t remember them trying to climb over the razor wire fence.
My favorite thing is that rubber thing at the supermarket when you put your items down on the conveyor belt that separates your sh*t from my sh*t. Doesn’t that cut through a lot of the confusion? You keep your rice and beans on that side of the rubber thing and I’ll keep my Stouffers pizza here. And if you sneak your rice and beans over I end up paying for them. The border should just be big rubber things along Arizona and Texas. You know, have illegals bouncing off [it].
But I’d like to preface that by saying I love Latinos. I mean when you see the roles of the people in our military and the ones that have died, there are a lot of Latino names there. And they work really hard. They remind me of what my grandparents were when they moved here at the turn of the century- but that doesn’t mean you can sneak in and get free health care and education on our dime. But there are a lot of Latinos who are for that Arizona immigration law. You just don’t hear too much about them.
4.) Where the average boy 30-40 years ago was tinkering with the engine of his dad’s old Ford, today the average boy is learning about his feelings. Do you think America is getting soft?
Hell yeah. And here is where I get in trouble with the feminists. I think the more feminized and over sensitive the culture gets the softer we become. This “nanny state,” it’s not a “grampy” state. And this over cautious society — and you see snippets of it all the time — where you see guys my age on bike paths wearing helmets. There are no cars around, nothing to hit. What, is a raccoon gonna throw a rock?
I read a bit ago about some kid who hurt himself playing Wii Golf and the parents are trying to sue Nintendo. Wii Golf! I do a bit about how when I was a kid the safest game we got was Slip ‘n Slide, which should have come with a wheel chair and a good lawyer’s phone number. You knew it was a dangerous game just by the picture on the box — a couple waving as their son is medevaced to a spinal cord injury hospital.
And I love women, but that mindset — not taking risks — doesn’t come from guys.
5.) So you think feminism has been bad for society?
I actually get in fights with the women in my family about this. I mean, most women are brighter than I am anyway, including my wife. I’m just saying this soft mindset really doesn’t come from men.
But here’s something that makes them crazy. The whole woman president thing. How can you have a woman president — you know when people talk about Hillary Clinton running — if you’ve never been in a fistfight?
6.) You were living in New York during the 9/11 attacks. Where do you stand on this Ground Zero mosque?
As far as that goes I say, yeah you can build there…That’s fine, but since when is this cultural exchange thing a one-way street? You can build a mosque at Ground Zero if we can build a Hooters in downtown Mecca — thirteen stories high and we can share the PA system at 5:00, “ḥayya alal-falah la hawla and a hot wings special.”
7.) Being from Boston, what do you think of this whole Roger Clemens snafu?
Clemens is the only guy I know who took steroids for years and his balls got bigger. I mean come on. He’s facing 30 years for perjury. A lot of people have done it, and don’t get me wrong, if he did he should go to jail. But you know Congress has been lied to more times than Carmella Soprano.
If he is going to do any jail time though, his cellmate better be Charlie Rangel or Maxine Waters.
8.) Your business is dominated by liberals. Which of your liberal peers irks you the most? Janeane Garofalo? Bill Maher?
It’s funny Janeane, to me, has just gone off the rail. I can’t even take her seriously. It kind of hurts to see. I was never close friends with her, but I watched her come up as a female comic in Boston and I always appreciated the balls she had on stage. But she wasn’t really preachy back then. I still consider her a marginal friend, but I hear the sh*t she says and, you know, just want to ring her neck.
Bill Maher, look I can’t stand his politics, but I can appreciate any comedian who can stay relevant. But then again it isn’t that hard to do when you lean that far left in this business. Same with “The Daily Show,” it doesn’t take any courage.
9.) Has being a conservative in show business hurt your career in any way?
People always ask why there aren’t a lot of really big conservative comedians but I think the deck is stacked against that and I doubt it will ever happen in my lifetime.
Look what [Comedy Central] turned into. They took that show [the more conservative] “Tough Crowd” off the air and put liberal shows like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” on instead.
I’ve gotten more outspoken about politics. Recently I recorded an hour DVD in front of 600 people and have been shopping it around to HBO, but they won’t give it the time of day — “that’s too much for us” they say. They don’t come out and say it’s too conservative, but you know what they mean. And it’s not just me who’s facing this stuff.
Look, to be a conservative comic you’re going to poke fun at feminists and gays — politically incorrect stuff — but it is just too taboo these days. For the last few years the media has just gotten so politically correct, and I mean it’s not just the news. It is throughout the media. Just look at how white heterosexual men are portrayed as compared to women and minorities. And that is why I don’t think you are ever going to see a conservative comic as famous as Jon Stewart on the right. As Colin Quinn says, “it’s so big it’s not a conspiracy.”
10.) You are a frequent and favorite guest, and at times guest host, on a number of radio programs — Opie and Anthony, Howard Stern, Dennis Miller, Dan Patrick. You seem like a shoo-in to get your own show. Anything in the works?
Back in 2007 I did have a show. A guy named John Mainelli — the guy who brought Rush Limbaugh’s show to New York City — hired me and I had a show at Free FM doing political talk. But this was right after Howard Stern left and the company was losing money so even then I figured it wouldn’t last too long.
It was on from noon to 3, which is a tough time slot [Rush Limbaugh’s time slot] but it did get a quick following. So the show was becoming pretty popular and then the station switched formats and went back to music. I’d like to get back on, but with podcasts and stuff, the industry is rough right now, and there are even guys who’ve been in the business for decades who can’t get on.
But God bless Dennis Miller. He has been trying to get Gary Schonfeld, the president of Westwood One, to give me a show. And he’s been hounding him, “why haven’t you put this kid on the air?” I’m hoping it will work out. I was in the studio with Dennis the other day and Gary stopped by to watch, so I guess he might be interested.
But you know Tucker Carlson, why doesn’t he have his own show? I’m always impressed with him. And I’m not just saying that. When he hosts “Hannity,” I think, “jeez is this guy smart,” and he’s always prepared. And he looks great on TV and I’m not saying that in a gay way. And he makes every liberal he runs into look like an ass — even when he had the friggin’ bow tie.
To find where you can see Nick Di Paolo perform, go to Nickdip.com