Nicholas Krywucki, known onstage as Nick K, has quickly identified himself as an emerging figure in the Montreal stand-up comedy scene. Wearing a baggy green sweatshirt, his floppy blond hair brushed out of his eyes, Krywucki’s posture is unassuming. As he steps on stage he nonchalantly adjusts the microphone and slides into his opening line with a soft voice reminiscent of Bo Burnham—though if pressed, he would say his favourite comedian is Doug Stanhope. An American attending McGill for its psychology program, his ability to read people serves him well in class as well as onstage.
Despite dedicating himself to comedy only this past summer, he has since performed at the Open Air Pub comedy show at McGill, and started The Dropout! Show, a weekly student-focused stand-up night at the ComedyWorks stage on Bishop Street. Although the structure of the show varies depending on performers’ schedules, both professional and academic, the Dropout! shows take place every Thursday night through December.
A newcomer to comedy, Krywucki is sympathetic to students looking to develop their skills.
“It’s really hard to do your first [show],” Krywucki said. “Before I went away for the summer I went to an open mic and I didn’t go up because I was too nervous. You get there and it’s so scary. A lot of it is based on how memorable your first experience is. My first experience wasn’t that big of a deal to me. It was brutal, but there were like three people that paid attention, so it was just something that was easy to shrug off.”
Krywucki's shy confidence pays off when it comes to the deliberate wit of his jokes. His favourite one-liner? “Have you heard the one about the depressed comic? I know my therapist has.”
But while his jokes may lean toward dark humour, he prefers to draw from his personal life than indulge in the ubiquitous disdain for current American politics.
“I just don’t think [it’s] that funny. It’s too easy. A Donald Trump tweet is funnier than anything I could say about a Donald Trump tweet. If you’re a talk show host then it’s different, because you have a guest, and you have a whole working staff with everyone’s angles.”
For students who love a cheap night out, a local stand-up show filled with half a dozen performers provides ideal entertainment. Krywucki is even setting up a students-only free comedy night at Gerts before the semester’s end; details will be available once he finalizes the event and passes his looming midterms.
Even though doing a first set for a live audience may feel excruciating, Krywucki still says it’s the way to get critical exposure and practice.
“You have to just do it,” Krywucki said. “Some people are not confident or overconfident but you just have to find your own confidence level. There’s nothing wrong with doing it once and that’s it.”
Some locations have ideal audiences for first-timers, such as Saint-Laurent’s Art Loft, which hosts informal shows weekly. Due to its kitschy decor of mismatched sofas in a semi-circle around an askew mic stand and its BYOB policy, the venue has a perfectly laid-back energy.
One of Krywucki’s earliest shows was at Saint-Laurent’s Art Loft.
“I had this moment walking along St. Laurent on the way […]” Krywucki said. “I had never done this joke, and it’s a seven minute set—the longest I’ve ever done, I look down at my paper… I don’t know what it says, because I’m super drunk. I just cram it into my pocket and they tell me I’m going first, and there was a huge crowd that night. But it ended up [being] a super memorable set.”
Since then, Krywucki has quickly established himself on stage and as the producer of recurring shows at McGill and in greater Montreal. It’s hard to believe he was once so nervous, but if his success is any indication of his honesty, you’ve got to believe him.