Nick Cobb does it for the laughs
Before Nick Cobb became a stand-up comedian and appeared on TV commercials, he studied psychology at Indiana University.
"I did work in the field for several months with a very interesting population," Cobb said during a phone call from his apartment courtyard in Los Angeles. "They were drug addicts or just got out of jail. It turned out they weren’t that dependable, so I decided to give comedy a shot."
The shot landed after a few years and Cobb has made a name for himself on Comedy Central’s "Live at Gotham," VH1’s "Morning Buzz," AMC’s "Date Night" and NBC’s "Last Comic Standing."
He will perform a double bill with Sean Peabody at the Egyptian Theatre on Friday, July 31, and Saturday, Aug. 1.
Cobb said the road to his career was a learning experience.
"I didn’t go into it with any expectations, except that it might be fun for a week," he said. "Coming up in New York, you see a whole bunch of comics that you love, and you really don’t know what you’re doing. So, you try on all of these different voices because you love this comic or that comic.
"Slowly and surely, you start to relax and realize don’t have to be someone else," he said. "It’s a mishmash and you never want to say you found it because it’s a work in progress. It takes a while to peel away the layers."
One of Cobb’s main influences is Brian Regan.
"He pushed me over the cliff and I’m sure I’m not the only one to say that," Cobb said. "I remember when his CD ‘Brian Regan Live’ found its way into my hands. I would listen to it on a loop in my car, because he was just hilarious in a totally different way. He was disarming, innocent and hysterical."
But Cobb didn’t want to be another Brian Regan, so he continued working ideas, which ran the gamut.
"My wife says I don’t go deep enough and says that I should get more personal," he said. "I know that’s where some people get to the good stuff. I try to, but at the same time, if you dig through the family history or go through the skeletons in your closet just to do it, it seems off to me.
"However, if something just occurs to me as funny and doesn’t matter if it’s deep or shallow, I’ll go with it," he said. "It can be about airline food or something that I wouldn’t tell my best friend. If it’s funny, hey, it’s funny."
Being a stand-up comic to Cobb is akin to chasing that elusive first kiss.
"You will have one random show where you’re completely yourself and you have a ball, and from there, you try to have that show again," he said. "That may take a year and then it will end up coming more frequently."
The only downside of making people laugh for Cobb is the business dealings.
"I was told how hard the business part was, but I didn’t care," he said. "I just wanted to do well. But after you do it for a while, you realize that the business part is awful.
"I remember going out to dinner with my friends and they would talk about how they got their jobs with one interview with one employer and then they were at that job for eight years," Cobb said. "It sounded so easy and direct compared to comedy, because I have to do a job interview for every venue or club I do, not to mention the auditions. I’m constantly being hired and fired by so many people that it’s hard to keep track of how many bridges I burn."
Regardless of how many bridges he has burned, Cobb has risen above the smoke and played the lead in a web series called "Team Players" and has appeared in TV commercials for Joe’s Crab Shack, CarMax and E-Trade.
"First off, I would like to dispel the myth that you get rich your first year in comedy," he said wryly. "However, over the course of a couple of years, I found out that sometimes there are agents in the audience who like your vibe and they ask you to read for ads, which helps with paying the bills."
One of his commercial highlights was an E-Trade ad that aired during the Super Bowl.
"My family and friends saw it and that was great for them," he said. "I mean, I do 10 comedy shows a week, but they don’t see me doing all of these comedy shows. So, the Super Bowl commercial was a big validation of me for them."
Still, there is nothing that equates to when a new joke works during a live stand-up routine, Cobb said.
"I think that’s what keeps me going," he said. "I love the jokes. That’s all I want. I guess I should think long-term and make goals like most people do, but it’s hard when you care about making this new bit work."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will present the stand-up comedy of Nick Cobb and Sean Peabody on Friday, July 31, and Saturday, Aug. 1. The performances will start at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $19 to $29 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com .
Summit County gardeners can purchase local-climate friendly plants and seeds to grow this season