Comedian Nick Di Paolo has no regrets

News & Politics

Nick Di Paolo doesn’t know how he gets away with it.

The veteran comic says virtually anything he pleases these days despite the woke left’s stranglehold on comedy.

There’s a catch, of course.

To hear Di Paolo’s wisecracks, you have to visit platforms like Locals.com and Rumble or sign up to the Mug Club network of podcasters. That includes Mug Club founder Steven Crowder, the HodgeTwins, and Bryan Callen.

Di Paolo, whose credits include “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” and “The Chris Rock Show,” can no longer be heard on so-called mainstream platforms.

Regrets? Not really.

“I turned my back on legitimate show business — which it isn’t anymore,” Di Paolo tells Align. “I think I’m in the real show business … there is no real traditional Hollywood anymore. I’ve had no interest in that for the last few years.”

Listening to “The Nick Di Paolo Show” is like time-traveling to New York City circa 1995 and cranking Howard Stern from your woofers and tweeters. It’s raw, uncompromising, and brimming with gags you can’t say in polite company.

They’re just jokes, of course — the kind Joan Rivers and Don Rickles once told with a wink and a grin.

“I just say what I wanna say,” the 62-year-old explains.

That often means belittling President Joe Biden, woke restrictions, or other progressive targets left untouched by late-night comics. While some Hollywood conservatives are loud and proud now, Di Paolo never hid his conservative views.

“I always leaned right but didn’t do political stuff,” he says of his stand-up material. That changed in recent years, especially when he started his signature podcast.

Longtime friend and colleague Colin Quinn once described Di Paolo’s ideological bent.

“If you do a joke about McDonald’s, people can tell how you voted,” Quinn quipped about Di Paolo’s on-stage demeanor.

It didn’t help, he says with a laugh, that he once singled out conservative firebrand Ann Coulter for praise during a Comedy Central roast performance.

He couldn’t help himself. Then or now.

The Massachusetts native has changed with the times, to a degree. He now calls Savannah, Georgia, home after years on the East Coast. The southern city lacks a comedy scene where he can hone his craft, but he craved a rest from the road.

“Some people need that attention,” he says of life as a touring comic. “I enjoy writing for other people, too.” In between podcasts he “punches up stuff” for Fox News’ “Gutfeld!” late-night showcase.

Di Paolo may lean on podcasting and alternative platforms today, but he’s still ambivalent about other aspects of modern comedy. He prides himself on honing a bulletproof set in an age when a “crowd work” stand-up comedy clip can yield endless social media clicks.

“I was known for eviscerating people [in clubs],” he recalls of his early stand-up days. “Now, it’s a guy doing a mediocre comeback … it’s not even edgy.”

He’s still happy for the new wave of comedians like Joe List and Mark Normand who leverage social media to build their fan bases. He’s also professionally close with “canceled” comedian Louis C.K., who was unofficially banned from Hollywood in 2017 after admitting to pleasuring himself in front of multiple women.

Di Paolo appeared in C.K.’s 2022 indie film “Fourth of July” and previously co-starred on FX’s “Louie” sitcom.

Di Paolo, who plays Soul Joel’s Comedy Club & Lounge on May 10 in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, New Jersey, on May 11, has less kind words for the “King of All Media.”

He recalls Stern treating him well when he’d visit the shock jock’s show in years gone by. Since then, Di Paolo watched the radio legend change … and hardly for the better.

“This is what happens when you go to a shrink every day of your life,” he says of Stern, who has talked about his chronic therapy sessions over the decades. “They take the life right out of you.”

Stern, he laments, “turned into the people he mocked.”

“You’ll do anything to make a buck even if you’re a trillionaire. You reinvent yourself into the [expletive] you used to hate,” he continues. “He caved to all this woke stuff,” he adds, a complaint fellow comedian Joe Rogan made in 2023.

Di Paolo doesn’t regret his approach to comedy, even if he doesn’t lean on social media as much as a professional comic should these days.

“I chose the way I am on stage and off stage,” he says of his career, looking back at the first open mic night he performed at back in 1988. Now, audiences crave authenticity over pre-packaged comics who toe the mainstream line.

“I didn’t know I’d have to wait 40 years for my time to come.”

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