A Chat with Nick Swardson

It would be fair to say that the comedy of Nick Swardson is an acquired taste, as anyone who’s seen his films, including “Grandma’s Boy” and “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star,” or his TV series, “Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time,” can tell you. With the latter now back in Comedy Central’s Wednesday night line-up for its second season, Swardson took a few minutes to chat with Bullz-Eye about what we can expect from Season 2 of “Pretend Time,” what he thinks of his lack of critical love, and more.

Bullz-Eye: To start off by kind of stating the obvious, I’m sure you’re psyched about your show returning for a second season.

Nick Swardson: Yeah, I am. I’m really excited, ‘cause I feel like, no matter what happens, this is the show I wanted to make.

BE: So what are the origins of “Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time,” anyway? Did you pitch them the idea, or did they come to you with the idea?

NS: My friend Tom (Gianas) actually pitched me the idea. He created “Human Giant” and ran that show on MTV, and he did “Tenacious D” on HBO. He’s an old friend of mine. He directed “Gay Robot,” this original pilot that I did years ago. He’s really, really brilliant, and he came to me with this idea. I’ve always wanted to do sketch comedy, and I trust Tom a lot, so I was, like, “All right, let’s do it.” And we just jumped into the show. We pitched it to the network, and they bought it off the pitch. We didn’t even get a pilot. They ordered six episodes. Which was kind of good and bad. I kind of wish we had a pilot, because it was kind of a tricky show to make. (Laughs) We didn’t really have that trial by fire. We were just kind of thrown into the volcano.

BE: You have a pretty vocal fanbase. I presume you’ve gotten some advice, either helpful or otherwise, as far as where to take the show in its second season.

NS: Yeah, it’s been interesting, because people didn’t really know what to expect from the show. My fans were kind of, like, “Well, wait, what is it? Is it stand-up? I don’t understand what it is.” They were kind of confused. Obviously, comedy’s subjective, and people either bought the show or they didn’t. (Laughs) But the people who got it, they loved it.

BE: So is Season 2 along the same lines as Season 1, or do you think you’ve kind of fleshed it out a bit more as far as what you want from the show?

NS: Um… (Long pause) I mean, it’s more aggressive. Like, there’s some really crazy stuff. (Laughs) It’s really aggressive. But we’ve kind of counterbalanced this season with doing more of a live element and more storytelling than stand-up.

BE: How much flexibility do you have with Comedy Central as far as your vision for the show? Has there been any point when they were, like, “Uh, can you dial it back a bit?”

NS: Uh, yeah. (Laughs) At the beginning, they were, like, “This is way too aggressive.” But that’s the whole point of having and doing a show. Why not make it the most aggressive thing you can do? I just didn’t want to play it safe. I wanted to just throw it against the wall, and hopefully it works. Hopefully people will dig it.

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