Seems our collective dream-catcher is working as Nikki Carr is one of the final three contestants on Last Comic Standing. It could be that, that our collective lez brain has willed her forward to not only the only female left in the competition, but the only lesbian standing. Or maybe it’s just that she’s that good, brilliant even, in her eccentricity, honest delivery and wildly hilarious anecdotes.
Should Nikki walk away from Last Comic Standing Season 8 as the winner, she’ll receive a bucket of money and a NBC half-hour scripted project deal to be developed by Universal Television. When asked what winning would mean to her she was quick to say, “I feel that my winning would show other woman who struggle so hard in this genre of entertainment that we can do it.” As for the prize: “For me, the most important prize is the opportunity to produce my own show.”
If you’ve caught any of Nikki on LCS, you know that that would be a show very much worth watching but, lez not get ahead of ourselves. I talked to Nikki about her meeting Ellen, her experience on the show thus far and outing herself in the process.
Nikki Carr: HA! Forget about the show: Sitting in Ellen’s guest chair was the most memorable moment of my life! Walking into a room and finding Wanda Sykes sitting there waiting for me wasn’t too shabby either! I got to meet my shero, Wanda and my all-time idol, Ellen over the course of 10 weeks! Then, as I sit at home and watch the show, I hear Keenen Ivory Wayans say, “Put her in any sitcom right now and she’ll steal it as soon as she walks in the room.” I almost fainted right there in my living room!
AE: Forget the show for a minute, tell me about meeting Ellen!
NC: When I first heard that I was going to be on the show, I knew that Wanda Sykes produced it. I was really hoping that I would get to meet her and, at that time, had no idea the meeting Ellen was down the line! I had to first win a challenge to get there. I didn’t care if I won the actual vote from her audience, I just wanted the chance to be in her aura and absorb some of her magnificent spirit, up close and in person. When we got to the set, I knew that everyone dances on the show. I love me some music and I love to bust a move but I wanted to spend every possible second with Ellen. I flew out there and RAN to her! It’s kind of funny when I think back on it.
AE: Your roast of Gilbert Gottfried was on point! Was that a difficult challenge for you?
NC: Thank you! First of all, who knew I could do a roast? I certainly did not. After Jeff Ross mentored us, we were told to go prepare. I was lost! I had nothing! Just staring at my paper with nothing coming to mind. Only two jokes had left my pen all day and they had nothing to do with Gilbert Gottfried. I felt so bad because this was the most important challenge to me. Then we get to the venue and we’re all dressed up and ready to do the dang thang and out of nowhere, all of this stuff just starts running through my head! I’m amazed at myself and proud of myself for the end result. Yes immunity! Yes Top 5! Yes last woman proudly standing!
NC: Wanda Sykes’ advice about shaving my material down to its funny bone was the most invaluable to me. It really helped me throughout the whole show. Having been headlining for at least 15 of my 17 years as a comedian, I know how to relax, take my time and built my story to thunderous conclusion. In a competition or any situation where I don’t have time for all of that, it’s important to know how to shave my material and bring out the best quickly and efficiently.
AE: You did a lot of lesbian-inspired jokes but was there a specific joke that outed you on the show? Which were your favorites?
NC: I wanted to do so many more lesbian-inspired jokes but I am only just coming out and I was a bit afraid. I think the first inkling that I was even a lesbian was when I mentioned my girlfriend, comedian Big Frannie Mei, in one of the interviews. It was a quick mention. If you blinked, you’d miss it. Every time I had to submit a set I’d have a lot of lesbian jokes and I’d take it back and submit another set. Luckily, I stayed on the show long enough to get that very important point about myself out there. The jokes about wanting to be a trophy wife but no one wanting a Heisman and the closer about being mistaken for a man from the back was greatly received! I am out and proud and I don’t want to be afraid to say so. I shan’t be afraid anymore!
AE: We had talked a little about your losing friends after coming out on Twitter and Facebook. Have you since received any positive feedback from the LGBT community about your being so out and open on the show?
NC: I’ve reached tons of wonderful LGBT fans. I hoped more organizations would’ve reached out to me. I thought maybe I could work more LGBT events, maybe be featured in their magazines or websites or something, but aside from the fabulous Windy City Times, nothing’s changed in that area.
AE: Well I think that’s about to turn around! How are your nerves going into the finale?
NC: Going into the finale I basically have prepared myself not to be the winner for many reasons that I won’t share right now. This way, if I do win, I will be pleasantly surprised. If I don’t, I’ll be fine because I never expected to in the first place. Yes, I have every confidence in myself and, of course, I would love to win. But look at what I’ve won so far already!
I’m still waiting on The Nikki Carr Show but, until then, you can catch her on the season finale of Last Comic Standing this Thursday at 9pm on NBC.