Nick Schuller – Comic Fights Fire With Fire

Nick Schuller Profile lovingly overseen by Allan Sko

A master of deadpan humour, Nick Schuller is as dry as the leaf litter that surrounded his family home (which burnt down).

He was handpicked by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival to be part of the prestigious Comedy Zone in 2022. He has performed around the world, and has supported some of the biggest names in comedy including Tom Gleeson, Cal Wilson, and Phil Wang.

With his new show – Fire Brand – coming to the Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre on Friday, 17 March at 8pm, we caught up with Nick to see what makes him tick…

What got you into comedy, Nick Schuller?

I’ve always loved stand-up and knew that if I never tried it, I’d always regret it.

I did my first ever open mic and it was terrible. I didn’t go back for a year.

After my self-imposed hiatus, I built up the confidence to try it again and have been hooked ever since.

How would you describe your style of comedy to the layman?

Deadpan and bone dry. Think Steven Wright, Mitch Hedberg, Luke Heggie. 

How would you describe your style of comedy to a TV Exec looking to sign you to your own TV series?

Deadpan and bone dry. Think Buster Keaton, Ron Swanson, Aubrey Plaza.

Who are some of your favourite comedians?

My all time favourite comedian is Stewart Lee. He’s easily the best comedian alive today; pushes the boundaries of stand-up in incredible ways.

There are also so many amazing Australian acts that I love like Aaron Chen, Dan Rath, and Emma Holland. 

What’s one of the funniest/weirdest things that’s happened in your career?

I once performed in a fondue restaurant in London. The gig was terrible because, as an audience member, it’s quite hard to pay attention to comedy while also trying to avoid covering yourself in molten cheese.

I got paid in fondue, though, so it wasn’t all bad. 

What’s one of the proudest moments of your career/life in general?

Last year I was handpicked by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival to be part of their prestigious Comedy Zone show. Previous alumni include Hannah Gadsby, Ronny Chieng, and Celia Pacquola, so it was very humbling to chosen.

Comedians hate being asked “tell us a joke”. So… What’s one of your favourite jokes?

Do you think “faux pas” is just a fancy way of saying “step dad”? – Emma Holland

What exactly is the meaning of life?

I love Douglas Adams, so it’s got to be ’42’. 

Hecklers… A help or a hindrance? Any favourite come backs for the lippy segment of the great unwashed?

They can be both. It depends if they’re trying to participate in the show or derail it. I don’t have any favourite put downs but because my style is slow and deadpan I generally try to make things as awkward as possible for the heckler until they stop talking. 

The Danish word ‘hygge’ encapsulates a general feeling of warmth. What creates this for you?

The Scandinavians aren’t known for their comedy but they do do a lot of other things extremely well and “hygge” is one of them. For me, it’s sitting inside on a rainy Sunday morning with a coffee and a croissant [as a half Dane, I resemble that remark – Bossman Sko]. 

What is your favourite a) film, b) book, c) TV show, d) stand up set?

a) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (don’t judge me)

b) Ready Player One

c) The Inbetweeners

d) Stewart Lee: 41st Best Stand-Up Ever

Anything else you’d like to add?

My upcoming show at the Canberra Comedy Festival is called Fire Brand and it’s about my family’s house near Batemans Bay burning down in the Black Summer Bushfires. Like all good comedians, I’ve monetised my trauma and turned my family’s tragedy into an hour of light entertainment.

Also, get out and support live comedy in Canberra whenever you can!

Canberra has a thriving comedy scene and there are so many great local acts that are worth checking out.

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