78: Nick Hopping, Being A Comedian During A Pandemic (transcript)

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Episode 78: Nick Hopping, Being A Comedian During A Pandemic (blog post)

Nick Hopping 0:00
You know, comedy supposed to be fun and funny and I’m sitting there like I start to get anxious because I haven’t done the video yet. And I just keep reading through these fun facts getting more and more upset at the fun fact that they’re not comedy, you know, like a good muse.

Curt Carstensen 0:26
This is People I Know Show. I’m Curt Carstensen. My guest today is comedian Nick Hopping. Nick is someone I discovered over the course of the pandemic. He has been putting out one minute comedic video episodes every day since the pandemic began. And he’s doing this as a way to keep busy and keep his mind fresh. Since he can’t be doing stand up comedy right now under the conditions. I think it’s both interesting and inspiring the way that he’s been able to develop this new routine and Stick with it for two months and counting. In the conversation we’ll learn more about him his stand up comedy pursuits, and why perhaps maybe even to a fault. He’s always focused on comedy, as we discussed in the personal growth segment. Another topic we covered is drive or obligation. This is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately, and how it relates to my own life. And I would like from this conversation with Nick and hearing his perspective for you to consider it as well. The things you do the actions you take on a day to day basis. Which of them are you driven to do in which of them do you feel obligated to do does that matter to you? What if you could eliminate some of those obligations from your life and fill it with more activities that you’re driven to do? I would like to hear from you on that. please reach out to me People I Know [email protected] or comment or message on any of these social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, on the People I Know Show pages or channels. I would like a larger conversation about that topic. My life is soon about to shift again. My workplace has been closed for over two months, but will be opening soon. With that I might do some things a little bit differently with the podcast in the near term. This conversation was originally a live Facebook video, I might be taking a break from that for now. As well as my normal routine of uploading an episode. Each Friday might be adjusted. Just make sure that you are subscribed to People I Know Show on your podcast playing app and whenever the next episode comes out, it will arrive to your device. If you’ve never done so please go to Apple podcasts and rate and review People I Know Show. It would be super helpful to see some more five star reviews and some additional comments. Thank you in advance for that and please enjoy today’s conversation with Nick Hopping. Episode 78 of People I Know Show Curt Carstensen, joined today by Nick Hopping Hello, Nick. Hey, Curt how are you doing well and Nice to meet you. We officially don’t know each other, like people know each other know each other.

Nick Hopping 3:21

Curt Carstensen 3:21
But over the last couple months, I feel like I’ve gotten to know you by watching your Instagram videos every single day. For me, it’s like, this is a part of my daily routine. And maybe because I like them all every day, they pop up to me right away. But you’ve been making them and I’ve lots of questions for you regarding that. And as the audience comes in, make sure you share this on your timeline. And I guess I’ll be doing that shortly, as well. But Nick, I’m curious. Your background since I don’t really know you you’re in comedy now. But is that always been a thing and what have you been other aspirations throughout life that may be tied into your comedy career?

Nick Hopping 4:00
It has literally always been a thing. So I am 24 right now and I did my first set when I was 17 in like a high school like, thing, you know, like a talent show. And yeah, ever since then I’ve just always wanted to be a comedian.

Curt Carstensen 4:18
So you always wanted to be a comedian to this talent shows were you successful at comedy at a young age or, or didn’t love it and didn’t really matter to you?

Nick Hopping 4:28
If you went and watched I mean, it’s like a horrible like, the jokes are so bad and I’m so awkward, but it happened to go really well. And it was I think my first set ever it was in front of my high school. It was like 300 people I think it was the best set I had for like, two or three years after that. Like it was it was this crazy peak and then just like, you know, reality set in and open mics and you know awfulness. But yeah, I’ve never wanted I’ve never even envisioned myself doing anything else. You know. Like I’ve never been an adult who wasn’t really actively trying to do comedy.

Curt Carstensen 5:06
What age was your your first open mic? And then maybe how long after that? Did you feel like you’re starting to figure it out better than maybe you did when you started? How long does that take for you?

Nick Hopping 5:18
Well, my first open mic was the week after this talent show thing. So I was 17. Okay, and for the first like before, you’re 18 You can’t even get into bars where all the open mics are so like, my mom would have to come and watch me. You know, do all the open mics and just bomb in front of these, you know, six Grizzle Richmond comedians. I feel like I started to Well, I always felt like I was good. Which looking back it was not the case at all. But yeah, I never was like, Oh, I don’t I don’t get it. I always thought I was. I was way ahead of the curve. But looking like I’m sure I’ll think where I am now is not good, but from where I am now. I look at it like Maybe three years in two and a half, three years in, like when I was in DC doing comedy every night. That’s when I’m like, okay, I was sort of getting some chops then.

Curt Carstensen 6:13
And how old are you now? How long have you been doing this in DC?

Nick Hopping 6:18
I’m 24. So I did it. Like I started when I was 17. But you know, couldn’t do that many sets just because Richmond scene is very small. And I was like a kid. By junior year of college, I was getting up multiple times a week. So that would be like 19 or 20. And then I did two years in DC, where I was getting up at least once a night. And then I moved to New York City two years ago, and I’ve been, you know, going pretty, pretty hard at it since then. So I’d say like four years of like, aggressively like this is all that I do.

Curt Carstensen 6:53
And you still have a day job. Is that related to comedy in any way?

Nick Hopping 6:56
Nope. day job is like An account rep. sort of thing like telemarketing sales.

Curt Carstensen 7:05
So does that mean you’re doing that 40 ish hours a week and all of your free time basically goes to your comedy career?

Nick Hopping 7:11
Yep. Because I work from home with this job. I have a ton of flexibility. Yeah, it’s, I do essentially nothing else.

Curt Carstensen 7:19
Let’s get into what’s happened with the pandemic. How long did you even have this idea to put a video out every day and I’ll be showing at least one of your videos here shortly. Yeah, from the time this idea came to your head before you were you were committed to it and doing it. What was that like?

Nick Hopping 7:36
Less than one day? Okay. So I did my last set. I did like a feature set. So like a 30 minute set in Maryland, and then went back up to New York. And this was back in like, I think it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend. So that was my last stand up set back to New York and it just felt like uneasy being there, you know? So then my girlfriend and I just packed up that Monday and went down to Virginia and leaving New York I just got so it just really hit me that like, I’m not going to get to do stand up for a long time. So the car ride home. I was like, I need to do something and I thought of this doing a daily thing I learned video. And then the next day was Tuesday. That was my first video.

Curt Carstensen 8:22
Okay, I’m gonna play one of them. I’ve several favorites and this is one of them. So let me share my screen here. Let’s give it a go. This was I think it was maybe a month or so ago. And I hope you think I think it will work.

Nick Hopping 8:36
I’m still learning something new every day. The medevac today I learned about Adam and Eve. People typically assume it was eating an apple that caused God to kick Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden but the Bible never actually specifies what fruit it was out of. Adam I found this fruit you have to try. It’s completely forbidden. Look at this. The forbidden fruit is Corn. Is Corn even a fruit? Oh yeah, okay, it’s loose Are you gonna have some not me I already had a bunch like I already had my trust me I have so much just eat the eat the corn. It’s so wet. It needs something. Adam are you eating loose corn? That’s so weird. God I’m sorry I know it’s forbidden. It’s not forbidden it’s weird that makes me so uncommon you have to get the fuck out. Both of you get just get out.

Curt Carstensen 9:34
I just realized there’s a cuss word in there but that’s okay that’s I think that’s allowed on Facebook and other forms of comedy sometimes I think so okay so that to me that’s a perfect example because you’re pushing some boundaries there with like comedy it tends to do taking you putting your personification of of God but also your I like that you’re playing all these characters and it’s like ridiculous in some some ways The way that you’re you’re not doing a lot of time on wardrobe not that you should have a great wardrobe available for all these. But I think that adds to the human adds the appeal for me at least on purpose I imagine.

Nick Hopping 10:12
Is that why it is? It is like a how to do it yourself at it. It’s kind of just the no production quality.

Curt Carstensen 10:21
I to me that makes it funnier and the fact that you’re knowing that you’re doing these every single day that I don’t know, I mean, how much time do you spend on an episode every day anyhow?

Nick Hopping 10:33
Um, well the hardest part is going from nothing to the premise. So I just I scour all of these listicles that are fun facts and you know, watch every YouTube video that’s weird facts about something or I’ll try to look up weird statistics and just try to find a something that is, like, universal enough, you know, where I don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining the premise. But also it could be fun that takes forever. And then usually once I have the premise writing like the punch lines, that’s easy. Filming only takes 1015 minutes and then editing maybe an hour depending on like, like that one was tough because there’s a lot of splicing back and forth. But some of them were it’s just me talking in the camera that can take like 20 minutes.

Curt Carstensen 11:20
So with that, I learned, apparently, is everything you say in there truthful? Are you truly telling facts that we don’t know? Like, like corn is a fruit or is that just for comedy? And to throw me off?

Nick Hopping 11:33
No corn is I think there’s so there’s different classifications of fruit depending on there’s like the nutritional fruit. And then there’s also like if you were a botanist or something like if you were into plants that has a different definition of fruit, so there is there is a lens through which you could look at corn, and it would be a fruit. Okay. So I usually, the initial premise is usually a true fact and then any other thing I say that’s true from that point is just nonsense I made up.

Curt Carstensen 12:03
Okay, so I shouldn’t be taking your videos as educational videos after the first 12 seconds or so.

Nick Hopping 12:10
Right? Okay, but you should take them as educational videos for the first 12 seconds.

Curt Carstensen 12:15
So tell me

Nick Hopping 12:15
I had a mustache. So if you’re gonna take away something from that it is that I can grow a mustache.

Curt Carstensen 12:20
Yeah, I noticed it. I wonder if you’re one of my inspirations. I have longer hair and I shaved it maybe a few weeks or a month after one of your first episodes involved you shaving your head. Yeah, totally bald too. Yeah, it was like next to nothing left and obviously, this pandemics going on a while because both of us have a reasonable amount of hair again and all right, like back Yeah, and our hair lines are a little more similar than I thought before

Nick Hopping 12:49
but I think yours is better than mine went a mess. Are you keeping it up top?

Curt Carstensen 12:56
Yeah, not losing any here up here.

Nick Hopping 13:00
Big I’m starting to get a little hole and it’s, it’s very demoralizing.

Curt Carstensen 13:03
The hole probably doesn’t get any smaller.

Nick Hopping 13:06
But shaving it all off was actually very freeing. You know, now I know that if I do go completely bald, like it’ll be okay. You know, yeah, the sun will keep rising and stuff.

Curt Carstensen 13:17
Yeah, that was a realization for me too, that maybe I can pull this look off. I never had shaved my to my head since I had a beard and I realized with a beard, a shaved head. makes a little more sense

Nick Hopping 13:27
Its not that bad. Yeah.

Curt Carstensen 13:30
That was like video. I don’t know, sometime in the first week. Now you’ve done two months worth maybe just a day pass two months. And yesterday was Episode 62. Yeah. 62. And I’m wondering how many days you woke it up or been halfway through the day and thought, why am I doing this? Does that happen to you or every day? I don’t

Nick Hopping 13:52
No most of it. Especially lately. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the videos keep coming out later and later because I’m procrastinating more and more Yeah, I would say, there’s like, maybe once a week where I’ll come up with an idea early in the morning, and I’m really excited about it, and then it’s easy, but most most days, it’s such a pain and I don’t want to do it. And I, and then it’s a hard, you know, comedy supposed to be fun and funny and I’m sitting there like I start to get anxious because I haven’t done the video yet. And I just keep reading through these fun facts getting more and more upset at the fact that they’re not comedy. You know, like a good news. Yeah, so it’s, it’s tough. But I think having I think having to do it once a day, though, is I think if I didn’t have to do it every day, then I would have stopped doing it completely by now.

Curt Carstensen 14:47
And that was one of the reasons I want to have this conversation with you and I’m going to get into the drive or obligations shortly and fortunately, the association lawn crew was out mowing my lawn so I’m not sure if the lawn mowers coming through the audio hopefully Not I shouldn’t have brought it up. But I’m curious. So 62 days in a row, the pandemic, depending on how you define the pandemic, it might go on a very long time. What has been or have you not decided? What is your measurement for when the pandemic video making for you would end? Have you thought about that a lot?

Nick Hopping 15:22
A little. I’m thinking whenever I can start doing stand up again, that’s when the videos will stop.

Curt Carstensen 15:27
And how is that? Are you on the schedule anywhere? Or is that something that you can really set up right now? What’s that looking like?

Nick Hopping 15:34
I’m actually supposed to be in a couple comedy festivals, one in Ohio, and actually in two weeks, and then one in North Carolina, but it just depends on if they get canceled. I have no idea.

Curt Carstensen 15:48
And I suppose they won’t tell you that until they’re no they know,

Nick Hopping 15:53
I haven’t heard

Curt Carstensen 15:53
the state I suppose the state’s laws or rules are changing all the time that it’s I don’t think anyone wants to make these term determinations. Any sooner than they have to know that they’ve already canceled so much and haven’t made income for a long time. I know. And yeah, Minnesota just yesterday, some of the rules were beginning to be relaxed and two weeks again, I guess we’ll find out if it keeps going that direction. And you are in Virginia. So what has that been for the state? Have they been one of the more strict states or not based on your observation?

Nick Hopping 16:28
I’ve been reaching out to a lot of comedy friends, just around the country. And we seem like kind of in the middle. Like there are a couple of places where standup where comedy clubs are back in some capacity, like a limited amount of people can come in Virginia doesn’t have any of that and but, but if I was to jump back in, it would probably probably be like bar shows at first. And that doesn’t seem to be happening anywhere.

Curt Carstensen 16:56
what’s what’s like the biggest venue that you prefer? That in your career so far how how far you traveled and what are some of the big venues that you’ve been at?

Nick Hopping 17:07
Um, well, just in terms of number of people, there’s this place in Virginia like Northern Virginia called the State Theatre. I think they seat between three and 500. I’ve done comedy clubs that seat a couple hundred. But I’m in New York right now, which it’s like, the the audience size is so small, you’ll you’ll do shows for like six people. And like, I run a weekly that gets 40 or 50 people. Well, I did I don’t know if it’s, it was at this ice cream place. I don’t know if they’re in business anymore. But yeah. So I’d say my average audience sizes like 20 to 50. That’s kind of normal. Okay.

Curt Carstensen 17:50
And are you what are you recognizing about yourself going back pre pandemic, your stand up comedy Do you find it You think you’re getting a lot better getting more feedback. Like how quickly does that happen? I’ve had another comedian on before and I know it takes a long time to really maybe catch a break or really feel like you’re getting good at it. What’s that experience been like for you?

Nick Hopping 18:12
In stand up specifically or like these videos,

Curt Carstensen 18:16
I’d say stand up specifically, then we’ll get back into the videos.

Nick Hopping 18:18
Yeah, um, um, no, I think the, I mean, it seems I don’t know, the first days, but it seems like the key is just get as many reps as you can, you know, you want to try to like tighten the feedback loop as much as possible. Just get up, try stuff, see how it works. I, every once in a while, I’ll feel like I’ve hit some kind of stride and that I’ve, that I’ve grown. I’m like, okay, I am better today than I was last week. But most of the time, I don’t really notice. It’s only when I go back and look at old videos where I’m like, Oh, I sucked. And now I don’t feel that I suck so good.

Curt Carstensen 18:57
I think that’s common. Anytime you’re creating something if you go back Any amount of time hopefully you really you think, Oh, I sucked back then because that means you’re improving.

Nick Hopping 19:07
But I’m very incremental growth, I think, okay, most of the time.

Curt Carstensen 19:11
And what about the video? 62 days in I know, some days is a struggle. Do you feel like you’re becoming a better writer? Now?

Nick Hopping 19:20
Yeah, I think I’m writing differently. Like, I’ve noticed the, in the beginning, the episodes were more like standup jokes, where he would just be sort of talking, talking, talking and then like one punch line right at the end. Even if it was a visual punch line, like I think the one where I learned that snapping is actually like my mom clapping, you know, that is very much set up like a setup and then a surprise punch line. Whereas now I think there’s something more approximating like sketch comedy, where I’ll set up like, like more of a scenario, and then have characters kind of interact within the rules of the scenario.

Curt Carstensen 20:01
Do you notice? are other people doing anything like you’re doing? Have you come across anybody putting out content as frequently or even nearly as frequently?

Nick Hopping 20:10
I don’t think I’ve seen anybody doing a video every single day. I see people who, like people who do podcasts will sometimes do a lot of podcasts. But I don’t ever see anybody doing what I’m doing. And people who do make videos, it’ll be like once a week at most. Actually, I take that back, I think back, camino from New York, Hannah Boone is doing a video every day that’s like people submit questions and she answers them in funny ways. So you should check that out. It’s very funny. Okay.

Curt Carstensen 20:38
Yeah, yeah, imagine not doing stand up for two months leaves you a lot less fresh than you used to be.

Nick Hopping 20:46
I’m so anxious about it. Yeah, I probably suck now. I don’t know.

Curt Carstensen 20:52
You think you’d be able to incorporate any of these jokes video jokes into your stand up?

Nick Hopping 20:58
I have no idea. Probably not. If I can, it would be a pleasant surprise, but I don’t. But that’s not my aim.

Curt Carstensen 21:06
I started following you on Instagram and I think maybe I was following some other comedians so you may be following me first initially and then I followed you back. Okay, and, and then I started liking your videos I otherwise I might have unfollowed you I think sometimes I don’t stick with people very long. But I liked the videos right away so I stuck with it. What’s it like trying to grow like my Instagram? Both my personal and my podcast one. I don’t grow it very fast. And I guess I haven’t spent a lot of time trying to learn how to do it. As a comedian putting something out every day, I would think you have the material to really start picking up steam, but is that happening for you? Or what’s your experience been like with that?

Nick Hopping 21:47
Um, so I’ve been doing okay. You know, I like nothing’s really I’ve had a couple do well on like Reddit, but I’m definitely like Instagram. I’m sort of I see seem to be getting, I don’t know, 5-10 new followers a week or something. So it’s like not huge growth. But I try not to think about it if I let myself start thinking about how the algorithm works and like, what content should I be making and all that, like, when’s the best time What happened? It’s, it’s just such a bottomless, you know, black hole of effort, and it makes it I am so much less happy when I worry about that, then when I just make a video and put it out and then not not worry about it.

Curt Carstensen 22:31
Okay. I think that’s the right attitude. Because ultimately, is if you’re getting better, and people like you, somewhere along the line, it’ll, it’ll pick up dramatically, I think.

Nick Hopping 22:41
Yeah, and I’m putting out a video every day. So if it hurt my feelings every single day when one of them didn’t do well, like that would that would be completely unsustainable.

Curt Carstensen 22:49
Yeah, I get it. I want to go to the question that I was pondering before I observed you putting these videos out later and later in the day, as you I mentioned, and it was this thing with me and I haven’t worked my normal job and two months. So I’m at home a lot. I’ve been putting out a podcast every week, which is normal. I’ve been doing these live videos for like seven or eight weeks as a way to try something different and try to connect with a few more people.

Nick Hopping 23:16

Curt Carstensen 23:17
And I had the thought, am I driven to do this? Or am I obligated to do this? And I think maybe somehow you’ve covered it a little bit with your, your feelings about making these videos some days. But I’m wondering, do you think about that you think about how driven you are to make to do comedy compared to the days that you’re obligated because I feel like the days that I feel obligated to do something, it starts to really bring me down. And I know mental health and staying at home all the time. I know those things are kind of together. What’s your experience been like in that regard? If you can give it any thought?

Nick Hopping 23:52
Yeah, I don’t know if I framed it quite in those terms. But it sounds like have you ever read the book? It’s called the The War of Art

Curt Carstensen 24:02
I think another person on my podcast brought it up a while back and I’m not ready yet.

Nick Hopping 24:09
Yeah, I mean it kind of I if I remember correctly the premise was sort of like the difference between an amateur artist and a professional artist is the amateur waits for inspiration but a professional just does the work so that’s how I try to look at it I don’t I don’t try to worry too much like what specifically is motivating me to do it I just I just do it because I know if I don’t do it, I won’t be get really good. Yeah, you know, I don’t know if like you You don’t know how much growth you’re gonna get from each individual video you do or open mic you do but I know for a fact if I don’t do them, I will get no growth.

Curt Carstensen 24:50
It’s a very good point.

Nick Hopping 24:53
That’s how I look at that. And I mean, I’m, I don’t know also if there’s like such an dichotomy between being driven and obligated, like, I’m driven in a larger sense to be a very good comedian. Like that’s, that’s the end I want. So with that comes like an obligation to sort of put in the work every day. Does that make sense?

Curt Carstensen 25:16
Okay, that makes sense. See you…

Nick Hopping 25:21
have you felt like, what does it mean to you like when you on a day you’re feeling obligated? How is that different than on the day you’re feeling driven?

Curt Carstensen 25:32
I’ve been trying to figure this out lately. I recognize in the mornings. I am not naturally driven, which kind of scares me some occasionally, but a lot like getting in the routine of, of being home all the time, knowing that I have all day to do the things I want to do. Like as we get in the afternoon in the evening, that’s when I get more and more productive. And that’s always kind of been me. Yeah, when I’m having these deep thoughts, it’s probably in the morning when it’s like Why do I not feel like doing this right now when I thought I wanted to do it, I kind of go back and forth. But then I do something like after or during I’m doing something like this. It creates a new kind of excitement like, Oh yeah, I like doing this. I like connecting with people. And my podcast usually is people I know relatively well, I’ve spent some time with. And you are one of like four people I have never met in person, but have asked to be on just because I’m curious about something that you’re doing. And I see you working so hard to do as much as you can during the pandemic. And I’m fascinated by it. And I think it’s inspiring to me to see someone else creating and doing it well. So so I want to get to know you. And it’s exciting for me to see you on Instagram a couple months ago and then just think, oh, I’ll ask him on my podcast. And he’ll probably say yes, I was thinking you did. So now we’re having a conversation and people get to listen to us and hear about, about your thoughts and now hearing you talk about your drive and your obligation. I think It’ll help me maybe reconsider the way that I look at it. It’s pretty exciting.

Nick Hopping 27:04
Yeah, good. Yeah, I just I, yeah, I think the thing is just do it. You know, no matter how you feel, although I have found I read this other book about it, I am like you I work much better at night. And I my default state is just as as lazy as one could be. So I’m always battling that. But I found if you can get to a point where you don’t think of what you’re doing as work, but as more like, sort of structured play, almost, you know, like, these videos are so dumb, and the days I’m I, I find out, I’ll catch myself taking them seriously. You know, and then I kind of have to step back and be like, it doesn’t matter like, you know, the best, like the best videos are the silliest dumbest ones. So like, it makes no sense to sit here and be angry. And like, you know, freak out about how it’s going.

Curt Carstensen 28:04
You’ve involved other people in some of these people that you were probably staying at home with whether it’s your family or I think your your girlfriend, are they thrilled to be involved or they’re obligated?

Nick Hopping 28:16
Well, they’re very obligated. Yeah, I think they like like the one you played. The reason I am playing both characters is because my girlfriend was just sick of it that day. And she was like, put on a towel. I don’t care. I’m not being you know, eve in your stupid thing. She’s very supportive, by the way, my whole family’s very supportive. But I, I get that it it wears on them.

Curt Carstensen 28:38
Understandable. So they are you like the the funny person in the family? Or do you say that everyone’s kind of funny. And that adds to your ability to be funny.

Nick Hopping 28:48
What’s your vision? And my immediate family? I’m the funny one. I would say I have a little brother who is funny. He’s not like, stand up funny, but he’s like a good storyteller and, you know, talks loud And makes a big racket when he talks which is like amusing I guess. Yeah, I would say I’m the funny one my girlfriend’s funny.

Curt Carstensen 29:09
Any other people in your family that have ever tried stand up or tried your open go to open mic with you and just to see what it’s like I’ve thought about I think one of my bucket list things I don’t see myself as a comedian, but I realized I probably should do at least one open mic at some point just to see what it’s like to go up there and, and probably bomb

Nick Hopping 29:27
it’s Yeah, I got I got my mom to do it actually. And how did that go? Good. Good. It was this show. The the premise of the show was called like mimics. So it was like, I went up and did a set and then your mom goes up and like follows you. And she did good. We worked for maybe a month kind of writing like a five minute act for her. Yeah, and it was good stunt. It’s not I don’t think stand up. Is it all like how people imagined it will be like, I think people It’s kind of hard for me to, I guess remember what it’s like to not have done it. But I think people see it like when you’re being funny around your friends, you know, you just everybody’s having fun and you just have this momentum because you’re all friends. But when you actually get up on stage, it’s like, you know, there’s nothing you’re you’re you’re so like, deflated and you have to create all the energy from zero it feels different than I that I think people imagined.

Curt Carstensen 30:25
I think when I’m funny, it’s by observing things around me especially people that I know that can take a joke and making fun of them or making fun of myself in that situation. So I think I would find it challenging to go up there and be strictly a storyteller or a joke teller. What What would you say is your when are you funniest they either as a as a comic, or just as a person, when you think you’re making people laugh the most naturally.

Nick Hopping 30:56
Um, I mean, I’m not really a story. guy I definitely err on like I tell jokes, but I am at. I am doing the comedy that I like the most when it’s just really silly. Like I think some of the videos are a good example of that where you laugh, but it’s so dumb that you’re also just like Jesus Christ. Like that’s, that’s what I aspire to.

Curt Carstensen 31:19
Who is your favorite comedian, the comedian that inspires you the most and that way, someone that you want to emulate some aspect of their career?

Nick Hopping 31:30
Well, in terms of just silliness, I love a Rory scovel. And it’s just so silly. And he’s kind of improvy, I guess. I don’t know. I, you know, I look up to just all of the people you’d think I look up to, you know, the big famous people.

Curt Carstensen 31:51
What about feedback from others, I like going back to the drive and obligation thing. Like I feel like I am driven to do the things I do. But when I recognize it, anyone out there some people out there really appreciate what I’m doing. That does give me a big boost. But then I’m wondering, based on your comment earlier, does that make me more amateurish where I need that? And where like the professional just ignores all of that? Is that important to you at all the people that are, are really liking your work and telling you?

Nick Hopping 32:23
Yeah, yeah, I mean, if they were all bombing, like no one liked it, I would probably have stopped. Yeah, that’s definitely in the equation. But, and I’m not like that far into comedy. I mean, there are people who are way more experienced than I am. But I have noticed even in my short, you know, lifespan as a comedian that just random strangers opinion means less. You know, like, if I’m on stage and like, I bomb that sucks. But it used like, it used to be if some random person came up and was like, I like your set. I would just be like, elated. And now it’s kind of like I mean, it’s nice, but it’s not going to change my day. Now I’m more like if a comedian that I respect says they like something that I did that I will I will hold on to that. Like, I’ve worked with headliners, and I’ll have like the sets will go however, and I’ll forget. But then I’ll make the headliner laugh. Like once just in conversation and like, like, like, that’s what I took from the weekend.

Curt Carstensen 33:24
Okay, as long as you know that you can make a funny person laugh You know you’re doing that right?

Nick Hopping 33:29
I think so.

Curt Carstensen 33:31
So what else would you do with your time if you’re not spending or what else do you do with your time when you’re not creating comedy? What’s any other hobbies or passions that you that you’d like to maybe filter into your comedy at some point?

Unknown Speaker 33:46
Well, that was so hard. You to be good at stand up. You have to do it all the time. But also you have to have some kind of a life outside of man up to talk about and I’ve noticed, especially in New York, people and myself include I really struggle with that. I mean, if you only do like, I just do comedy all the time. So like, I like a couple of video games. I bought rollerblades, but I don’t. Aside from comedy, I don’t have any other like burning passions or even dedicated hobbies really. So yeah. You become a weird person.

Curt Carstensen 34:20
It just lately I’ve kind of sworn off TV and Netflix, mostly for a long time. And just the last few days, I’ve decided to dip back into a little bit watching educational things that I’m like, you know, maybe this will help me in some way. And is that I’m very much out of pop culture, in a lot of ways. Like popular music, if it’s played at me, I’ll hear it and maybe learn about it. Movies. I’m aware of a lot of titles, but I’ve seen almost none of the big ones, sadly, and the best TV shows that everyone’s watched, I have not watched and it sounds like you’re kind of in the same boat. But I wonder if relating to audiences sometimes knowing some of that would be be helpful.

Nick Hopping 35:00
Very much like a big, I honestly feel this is a crutch. I don’t know. And I’m not interested in knowing about sports. So I have no references. I don’t get references when they’re made just talking to new people like that would be such a nice like, you know, in with people and I just don’t have it so yeah, I think I think that would be helpful to be more like aware.

Curt Carstensen 35:28
Well, I’ve I grew up as a huge sports fan, probably to a fault can’t change it now. But I think I wasn’t such a huge sports fan. I think some of my pop culture background would be better now at this point in my life. I don’t like I’m okay that no sports are going on right now. Personally, selfishly. I know other people are being hurt by it. So when they start good for everybody that’s helped. But I find them to be a huge distraction because they take up a lot of time. Yeah, so not don’t think of as too much of a bad thing. But maybe maybe Find a way to, to learn a little bit about something. But I think the most important thing when it comes to sports and also I think for live comedy, like live comedy being in the comedy club, and comedians, usually funnier in the comedy club, in part because of the atmosphere of other people laughing. It really bring something out. I think comedically, but the same thing. Going to a sporting event, maybe but going to a sporting event that everyone else in the stadium with arena thinks is super, super important. I think people that don’t really get into sports might finally recognize why in that environment because it’s the people around you. That really there’s this energy that it’s hard to deny when you’re a part of environment. Like what if you don’t get it like I think you want to figure it out if you have any curiosity. So but we won’t be going to any packed arenas or stadiums anytime soon. So I don’t know that now’s a good time to try that.

Nick Hopping 36:56
Yeah, no, I definitely feel I mean, I’ve been to like live sporting things, obviously. You know, like, I’m not a big baseball fan, but every time I’m at a baseball game, I’m just like, oh, we’re all having fun. I’m having fun. Like, it’s, I like, I just like the vibe, but I don’t watch the game. I just look at everybody else, watch the game.

Curt Carstensen 37:12
And that’s what I do too, even though I used to baseball used to be my biggest favorite sport. Now, when I go to like a Minnesota Twins game when those things happen again, the baseball is more or less meaningless. It’s a social outing. It’s a nice day, it’s a reason to have a drink and eat some terrible food. Yeah, but if you were to go to a World Series game or something, it would be totally different. Everyone would be focused in on the baseball and it’s a totally different thing.

Nick Hopping 37:40

Curt Carstensen 37:41
So that’s the experience for the non sports fans out there. I can understand why you don’t like sports. But if you somehow get a chance to see like the main event of a sport, postseason sometime it’ll, it’ll probably change the way you look at sports.

Nick Hopping 37:57
Yeah, and I know people have told me this is dumb, but I just feel Like, I’m too late, I wasn’t into it as a kid. And now, the amount I would have to learn about any given sport, it just feels. It’s just like way too much homework. I’m like, I just, I don’t know.

Curt Carstensen 38:11
I get it. Yeah, that’s the same reason why even though everyone’s love Game of Thrones, or dozens and dozens of other good TV shows, I can’t imagine starting from the beginning now and how long that would take even though it wouldn’t take that long. It just seems like Yeah, I just I’ll skip that and do something else.

Nick Hopping 38:28
Yeah, yeah.

Curt Carstensen 38:31
Nick, at the end of my episodes, I have a couple segments. I’m gonna combine them into one for today. I have a personal growth segment because I started this podcast, many in many ways, talking to people that have advanced my personal growth because of something they’ve taught me or something they’ve gotten me to do, but I also do a being wrong segment, which has to do with things that I can look back on now and say that I was wrong about or in other words, things that changed my mind about So I’m going to boil them down into one and you can you can take it one or both directions if you want. When it comes to your personal growth or your your being wrong, what’s something big like a story from your life that comes to mind you think is useful to tell others about?

Nick Hopping 39:14
Just when I was wrong?

Curt Carstensen 39:16
Yeah, wrong or in general, or something that you’ve been working on and you think other people haven’t picked up on this yet? And you kind of want to tell them this is important.

Nick Hopping 39:24
Yeah. I mean, I’ve been working on like, with, with stand up, I get, and I think a lot of people like this, if I’m not doing stand up all the time, I start to get really anxious that I’m falling behind. Not any other person but like, how theoretically good I could become. So it kind of it kind of detracts from anything else. I do. Like anytime I even go out to eat and with like my girlfriend or something and spend a night not doing stand up. I can’t leave it. You know, I’m still thinking about standing up, but I’m freaking out. About that I’m not doing it. And I would say, I used to think that was the right approach. I was like, that’s what makes people good. And I have learned or at least trying to learn that that is not the best way to do it. Like, you know, when you are working on something, work hard on it, focus on it, and then let yourself step away. I hate doing it, but every time I do take a break, I feel I get something from it. Again, it has not come for this pandemic thing by the way. I hate this. This sucks. But you know, other times

Curt Carstensen 40:35
Yeah, I think the pandemic for me has been a nice big reset because coming out of this if there’s anything that I used to do that I don’t want to do anymore, I think I’ll I’ll realize it and maybe make a shift I think that’s an automatic reset button. For the for the people like you and I that have been spending way more time at home I assume you have then the normally I guess if you’re not going to comedy clubs most or every night. That’s definitely the case. And yeah, I think most people that I observe not everybody, I’m sure, but the phone kind of serves as what you’re talking about on a micro level, like every time you’re you’re looking at your phone, it’s kind of taking you away from the, the thing that you should be focusing on in that moment. At least that’s my experience.

Nick Hopping 41:23

Curt Carstensen 41:23
So I’ve tried to, at times, at least, block off time to do my phone stuff, and then just put my phone away so I can focus on the other thing. And I think that relates back to what you’re talking about when you’re when you’re not doing the thing that you feel like you should be doing. Just be done with it and focus on what focus on one thing at a time, basically.

Nick Hopping 41:44
Yeah, yeah. And there’s a lot of times I feel anxious about taking time away from comedy, because really, I didn’t spend my whole day like honestly working I was just kind of dicking around on my phone. And then I end up essentially taking it out on my family and stuff by being anxious because I didn’t Do what I was supposed to do. So yeah, definitely, if you can find a way to be disciplined, and when you are working actually work, you know, I, I, so many times will do this where I’m like writing, really I’m just sitting at my desk, you know, texting for three hours. And then they’re like, we’ll do want to go out you’ve written for three hours and I’m like, Yeah, but I didn’t like write anything, you know, it just was on YouTube or something. So yeah, I think that’s related.

Curt Carstensen 42:26
I think that’s a common experience. And maybe there’s people that somehow avoid that and there may be doing really well in some way and perhaps they’re struggling in some other way. But I just hearing other people talk about like, yep, that happens to me, too, is is both a reminder that this is a problem perhaps, but also, I’m not alone. And I shouldn’t feel too bad. like I’m some weirdo. Maybe we’re just a big group of weirdos that, that are struggling to get through this and figure this aspect of the phone thing that’s become far too prominent in our lives in some ways, and of course changed our lives dramatically for the better in other ways. And between that topic and the drive versus obligation I’m curious if anyone has comments leave them here on the live video I want to see emails People I Know [email protected] and I will be posting in the show notes in the podcast how to find you, Nick but what’s where would you like people to find you at online to see your comedy and to see where you’ll be doing stand up again when that’s the thing again.

Nick Hopping 43:29
I guess Instagram is the best at Nick hopping comedy. Hopping is spelled like how you think it’s felt?

Curt Carstensen 43:38
That’s where I found you first and yeah, give them follow and you’ve got 60 videos about a minute apiece. That’s one hour we’ve all wasted an hour on our phone some other way so be slightly more productive at least and watch Nick’s videos for one straight hour. And see I learned from you learn a lot. You learn a lot in the first 15 seconds and then the last 45 seconds. I can still be making stuff up that makes you laugh.

Nick Hopping 44:02

Curt Carstensen 44:02
Yeah. This has been great, Nick, thank you for providing an entertainment for the last two months and however long that you continue to do it on the Instagram and thank you for the conversation today.

Nick Hopping 44:15
Yeah, man. Thanks for having me.