Nick Di Paolo talks Tarrytown show, Louis C.K. and Artie Lange
It's been a good year for stand-up comedian and radio host Nick Di Paolo, who's spent the last 10 or so living in northern Westchester County.
He had more cameos on FX's "Louie." The sports talk-radio show he hosts with fellow comedian Artie Lange is growing. And Di Paolo's work schedule has become so busy that his stand-up performance this Saturday at Tarrytown Music Hall is somewhat of a rarity.
"My radio schedule doesn't allow me to do stand-up [often]," he told Newsday Westchester this week. "I leave [home] at 8, and I get home at 2, and those are prime stand-up hours." In terms of what he'll cover, Lange said he'll "do some proven material that's been around, but I'll also wing a lot of it. ... I don't know what I'm going to say or how many people will get offended."
Before moving to the Hudson Valley, Di Paolo lived in Manhattan, where he briefly shared a tiny apartment with "Louie" star Louis C.K. Just a few weeks ago, in a scenario that sounds as if it was ripped from "Louie," Di Paolo's former roommate sailed his way up the Hudson River for an impromptu visit.
"All of a sudden I get a text from Louie, who I hadn't heard from in a couple of weeks," Di Paolo said. "He said, 'Can you be at the Ossining Marina in, like, 25 minutes?' ... I get down there, and there he is waving me down on the pier, on a 35-foot cabin cruiser that he bought. He's up in the captain's chair, like 30 feet in the air."
According to Di Paolo, C.K. gave him a tour of the "beautiful" boat and let Di Paolo bust his chops for getting the boat stuck in the Harlem River only a few weeks earlier.
"Then, he goes to leave, after visiting for about an hour," Di Paolo added. "I said, 'Just back out, Louie,' and he goes, 'No, I'm going to try to make like a [freakin'] U-turn in a tight space.' I go, 'You are [freakin'] crazy.' The [back] end of his boat cleared the front of this other guy's boat by about 6 inches. I was turning white, I was so nervous. And there he goes, back out to sea, not knowing what he's doing. That's what I love about this guy."
When Di Paolo's not headlining shows or hosting unexpected guests in Westchester, he returns to New York City to broadcast "The Nick & Artie Show." Airing weeknights from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., the sports-comedy talk show airs on Sirius channel 92, XM channel 208, nickandartie.com, DirecTV's Audience Network and several terrestrial stations.
In July, when SiriusXM picked up the show, it was a victory for Di Paolo, who since 2007 had been seeking a full-time radio gig that would stick. "It's all going as planned, only a little faster than I thought it would," he said. "We're pretty excited about that."
In addition to being successful comedians, both Di Paolo and Lange have had their glory days as athletes, too. Before playing football at the University of Maine, Di Paolo was high school teammates with eventual National Football League tight end Mark Bavaro. Lange was an all-county baseball player in high school.
Still, every now and then, Di Paolo thinks Lange is coming out of leftfield, and vice versa. A New England sports fan, Di Paolo says he goes into every show with a specific set of sports topics, and with every intention to break for commercials when scheduled. In sharp contrast is Lange, a devout Yankees and Giants fan, who's a bit less structured on the air, perhaps due to his experience as a longtime sidekick to the satellite-exclusive and free-form Howard Stern.
"Artie is so used to being on Stern for so many years, where they didn't have to watch the clock," Di Paolo said. "He's so used to having people on for an hour without taking a break, but we can't do that, because we're on [some] terrestrial radio [stations]. So I try to keep it on track, and try to make it sound like a sports show, and Artie gets bored every three minutes and wants to take it off the tracks. That's been a challenge, but it's entertaining nonetheless."
They're still getting used to each other, according to Di Paolo. Yes, they'd toured together for years, headlining venues both near (the defunct Center Stage Comedy Club in New Rochelle) and far (a Kandahar military base during their 2008 USO comedy tour). But more recently, Lange endured drug addiction, self-inflicted stab wounds and a stint at a psych ward. It was only after Lange's recovery that he started talking with Di Paolo more regularly, and most of those conversations have been on-air since the show launched late last year.
"Me and Artie knew each other marginally, for years, and always in good times," Di Paolo said. "And then next thing you know, you're thrown together every night, and it's like an arranged marriage. He'll definitely say a lot of stuff he doesn't like about me, and we butt heads here and there, but they're growing pains. ... We don't try to hide that [stuff]. That's what makes the show so great, warts and all."
Lange expressed a similar opinion about their dynamic when he spoke with Newsday Westchester earlier this year.
"Nick is one of the funniest guys, but something Nick Di Paolo is -- and something I respect -- Nick never wavers from what his opinion is," Lange said. "Nick is never phony."
Di Paolo said even their stubborn ways don't stop them from enjoying each other's company.
"I think we have a chemistry there that underlies all of that stuff, and he's a blast to work with," he said. "And when you're a stand-up comic for 25 years, you get so jaded, but this guy can make me laugh."
IF YOU GO
Who: Nick Di Paolo
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10
Info: Tarrytown Music Hall, 13 Main St., Tarrytown; 914-631-3390; www.tarrytownmusichall.org; $25-$45