Comedian Nick Thune mixes dry, Hedbergian wit with false folk-singer sincerity that’s made him a fixture on the late-night talk-show circuit since his first Comedy Central special in 2008. Now based in LA, he is currently putting the final touches on his next standup special, Folk Hero, which is set to debut in January. And on December 4, he’ll return home to perform his guitar-based, family-friendly comedy as part of the Clean Cut Comedy Tour at Paramount Theatre. To prepare for his arrival, we chatted with Thune about the musical element of his comedy, his own (fake) talk show, and more.
Does your approach change when you have a big audience that isn’t necessarily coming out just for you?
No. I try to make everything that I do acceptable to any audience. If something that I do doesn’t work, I don’t have this indie rock personality of “They don’t get it then....” It’s like, “No, something that I’m doing is wrong, and I need to figure out exactly how to make it right in a way that I’m comfortable.”
What places do you make sure to hit when you’re back in town?
I lived in Ballard, so I always like to go back to where I lived. I just love that part of town; love being by the water. And I also go to Dick’s every time.
Also, whenever I’m in Seattle I just have to go to the Space Needle because that just says Seattle. And please mention that this interview is sponsored by the Space Needle. Also, you gotta Ride the Ducks.
Did you know they throw fish down at Pike Place market?
What?! I’ve never seen a fish out of water, so that’d be huge for me.
What was the origin of playing with your guitar when delivering some of the jokes?
It kind of started because I wanted to be a musician and then slowly realized I couldn’t really take myself seriously, but I liked the thought of somebody who took themself seriously as a singer-songwriter; someone that thinks they’re really significant. I thought that adding that music under it kind of added this importance that took the jokes to another level, like the scoring of a movie.
You’ve hosted a talk show of your own at the UCB Theatre in LA. What was that show’s vibe?
It’s a live show. It’s set up just like what Jimmy does, except for no one is paying me to do it and it’s a fake show. We’ve actually stopped doing it live because Joel McHale saw it and loved it, and now we’re shooting a pilot and we’re going to shop it around with him as a producer. It’s more of a sitcom than it is a talk show; it’s totally scripted. We’re doing it as if it was a show that takes place in Seattle on public access television.
So is this whole tour an elaborate plan to steal Jimmy's job?
Yeah. I’m coming for Jimmy, and I hope he knows that.
*This article originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Seattle Met Magazine.*
Jimmy Fallon’s Clean Cut Comedy Tour
Dec 4 at 7:30, Paramount Theatre, $42