‘American Comic’ will shine the spotlight on other area comedians’ performances and paths to success.
Premature hair loss, aliens and telemarketing—these are the premises of George Mason University graduate and comedian Nick Hopping’s current set.
The whip-smart, razor-tongued comic is making a name for himself in the Metro-D.C. area for his absurdist take on the mundane retellings of true stories, following in the footsteps of comedians like Mike Birbiglia and John Mulaney, both top-tier comedians who got their start in the Northern Virginia comedy scene and went on to star in Netflix specials and write for Saturday Night Live.
Hopping has landed coveted spots at famed comedy clubs like DC Improv (where Birbiglia used to work the door) and Big Hunt in Dupont Circle. Haven’t heard of either of these venues? Perhaps you’re familiar with the company behind his latest project: Amazon.
At the ripe age of 22, Hopping is a successful comic (he’s been on shows with Netflix-special stars like Tom Segura and Moshe Casher), a dual-degree holder and a co-producer of an Amazon pilot called American Comic. The special will feature stand-up performances and interviews with established comedians—Hopping among them—that will reveal how they got to where they are today, plus provide insight into a new era of comedy in the United States.
As for how he landed the gig, Hopping says he was simply in the right place at the right time.
“It was like from a movie, it’s something that never happens,” Hopping explains. “I was doing a set and a guy came up to me and said ‘Hey kid, I like your stuff,’ and gave me a business card.”
The “guy” was Anthony Greene, a local award-winning independent film producer. Hopping and Greene have been working as the co-producers of American Comic, the filming for which begins March 17 at the Indian Head Black Box Theater.
Though Greene has taken the lead in determining the project’s creative direction, Hopping is hand-selecting the local comedians that will be featured while also perfecting his own set for the show.
Long before Amazon specials and famous comedy clubs, Hopping’s comedy motivation was simply to make the girl sitting next to him in his 12th grade Spanish class laugh.
“Eventually, I got so focused on trying to make her laugh that I was writing down material that worked, and then those notes would turn into me writing actual jokes,” Hopping recalls. “So then a friend of mine said to me ‘All right, you have all of these jokes, why don’t you do this talent show?'”
The talent show became his first official performance as a stand-up comic, a taste of success he wouldn’t soon forget.
“My girlfriend, Samantha Freeman, is incredibly supportive,” Hopping says. “She came to my shows when the shows were bad and I was bad. She’s taken two-hour Metro rides with me just to see me bomb a set and listen to me gripe about it all the way home. Now I’m good and the shows are good and she’s still supportive.”
While waiting for his Amazon pilot to air this December, see Nick Hopping perform at Arlington’s Ragtime, Epicure Cafe in Fairfax, Falls Church’s State Theatre and Jammin Java in Vienna, to name only a few.