Bob Nickman [Interview]


Hello Folks! Oh do we have an incredible interview to share with you fine folks! In fact, we have a wonderful week coming for you all. Because we didn’t want to waste any time getting to around to it in 2019….we have some comedy to share! Yes, we have three wonderful interviews with three absolutely hilarious comedians! And we are kicking the week off with legendary stand up comedian and television writer & producer, Bob Nickman!

Bob has contributed to some pretty legendary comedic television programs, some of which we will discuss below, like Maron and Freaks and Geeks, which we have talked about here via interviews with the likes of Dave Anthony, Troy Ruptash, Steve Bannos and more on TWS before, but obviously not enough! But, beyond just these two fine shows, Bob has also worked on several legendary shows with some folks we have talked to in the past as well. Shows like The Drew Carey Show, Roseanne, Mad About You, and the list goes on and on.

And as it tends to turn out, Bob is a hell of a nice guy! He has some wonderful words to share with us today. We discuss his past work, what the future holds, and, obviously, the importance of a healthy life in mind, body, and spirit! Because we all know that comedians are traditionally the most healthy people in the world, both physically and mentally. I’m kidding of course! Bob has a great podcast on the subject entitled The Exploding Human, which we will discuss below, and you should definitely check it out!

So, let’s get right into it, shall we? Please enjoy some wonderful words from the amazing Bob Nickman!



What was it that drew you into the world of comedy? Was it a deep-rooted drive to make people laugh that you always had, or did you just sort of find your way in this business?

When I was a kid and first saw an adult on TV being funny, I was intrigued that this was something that was okay to do. It was far away and not a possibility in my mind at the time, but I never forgot it. Later, the options for conventional things to do seemed sad and boring so I thought I would at least try it and see. A friend in college said he thought I should try it and I would be good at it. Nine years later I gave it a shot.

What was your very first paid gig in the world of comedy, whether it be stand up or writing or whatever?

Opening act at a local comedy club in Columbus, Ohio. Don’t remember who the headliner was. But likely someone from Make Me Laugh. 

You have worked as a writer and/or producer on some of the most amazing comedy series to ever be put out. I don’t want to bother you and ask about each one, but there are a couple that really stand out, and I was hoping to talk to you about. First being the now cult classic series Freaks and Geeks. While the show did not last as long as you could have hoped, there does seem to be a real cult following for this program. As somebody who worked on the show in real time, why do you think that is? What makes this show so memorable almost 20 years later, even though it was cancelled so early?

A high level of honesty in character, dialogue and story. The focus on struggle and underdogs is very real for almost everyone in high school and people relate to that.  We avoided false victories and focused on what is the real thing that would happen or really did happen to one of us.


The second would a show that had a brilliant run, and pretty much rounded itself out nicely. And that would be Maron. You came around for the very dramatic and ultimately touching yet still hilarious final season of the program. How did you become on board with this project? And what made this one different from the plethora of other work you have done? Does anything stand out?

I know Marc from my stand up days and when I found out the show was looking for writers I called him, sent him one of my scripts and they brought me on board. It was a great experience, very collaborative with all great writers on the staff with a similar dark comedic sensibility. We were able to do a lot of things that you couldn’t do on network TV, which is always a treat. Marc encouraged that and was always ready to push the envelope and take chances.

As a person who has over 30 years of experience in comedy, from stand up to television production, I am curious to know what you think about the current climate of comedy. Obviously advancements in technology have changed access and the amount of comedy that can be consumed. But, I am curious to know what you believe is still the same as when you started. Are there still any core beliefs that seem to continue to hold true in the world of comedy? And what do you believe has been the toughest change to deal with overall?

I think it has evolved as an art form and that “joke technology” has advanced. There are so many great comics with great material.  The downside is that it is tougher for young comics to make a living. Less venues, less pay, more competition.  The internet and self-produced content has opened up new highways for comedy creators. Monetization and viewers is always the biggest challenge along with more a corporate driven entertainment industry. 


I am intrigued by a project you have entitled “The Exploding Human”. Would you mind telling our readers a bit about this project and how they can check it out?

Actually it is a podcast in the health field. It is not a comedy. I interview all kinds of health practitioners from conventional to alternative, and those who have overcome challenges.  It covers a wide-range of topics in body, mind and spirit. I do try to bring a humorous touch to the interviews at times, but I am more interested in exploring ways humans can expand and EXPLODE in making a better life. It is a result of my own curiosity and quest to find a healthier lifestyle in all areas.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I have two dramas and two reality shows, as well as a comedy I just finished. We’ll see if any of them fly.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Repairing a crack in the stucco on my house and painting it. It came out great!

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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