Nick Ruggia is a 27-year-old stand-up comedian, actor and writer raised by photographers in Hoboken, New Jersey. He co-runs the show Destroy All Humans on the third Friday of every month at the Creek and the Cave in Long Island City, as well as Comedy Curb Stomp at The Watering Hole every Tuesday. Destroy All Humans was nominated for Best Stand-up Show at the Creek in 2013. He is also half of the sketch comedy duo Temple Horses, whose 2013 short film “You’re Not That Crazy” has screened at the Friars’ Club Comedy Film Festival (where it won the Audience Award for Best Short Film), the Lighthouse International Film Festival and the Corona Film Festival in Ireland. It will debut in Canada at the Calgary International Film Festival in late September. He has also contributed jokes to MTV2’s Hip-Hop Squares and appeared in several reality TV shows, including Giving You The Business, and his favorite, Celebrity Ghost Stories. You can watch Nick’s funny videos and subscribe to Temple Horses at www.youtube.com/templehorses, or make plans to see one of his shows at http://creeklic.com.
Q. Do you think living in New Jersey made you want to become a comedian?
A: I grew up in Hoboken, which was an artist’s community when I grew up there. Creativity was definitely always respected and encouraged around me, and I definitely think that was a factor in me becoming a comedian. And on another level, New Jersey is an integral part of who I am. I’ve lived here my whole life. Maybe if I was from Utah I’d be a minister or something.
Q. Do you have any jokes based on New Jersey?
A: I’ve got a couple that I’ve done a good amount. I have one about how hard it is to socialize with dudes in New Jersey if you don’t like Mixed Martial Arts. And I’ve got another where I compare living in New Jersey to a failed marriage that I can’t leave. There are certainly a lot of other stories I tell that happened here.
Q. Is there a difference between a New Jersey and New York audiences?
A: There’s probably not such a thing as a New Jersey or a New York audience, because you can’t keep Jersey people out of New York. And trust me, they’ve tried. But in general I’d say Jersey audiences are very interactive. They want to know that you can handle their heckles if they’re going to get on board with a joke or a longer story. Also we love dick jokes.
Q. What made you want to do Stand Up comedy?
A: I grew up worshiping comics. My childhood had it’s intense moments, and laughing was always a pretty good escape from whatever drama was going on in my life. Then my mom got cancer in my teens, and I got really into drugs and alcohol. I was really faded late one night and I signed up for an open mic at the Comic Strip on a whim. Two weeks later, I did twenty minutes of terrible material in five minutes, and I’ve been trying to be funny in a variety of forms ever since.
Q. Who are your comedic influences?
A: I listen to a lot of people manically. Some of my favorites are Patton Oswalt, Louis C.K., Mike Birbiglia, Bill Hicks, Bill Burr and my fellow Jerseyite Kurt Metzger. They’ve all influenced my humor, and so have David Cross and Will Ferrell.
Q. What would be your super power?
A: I’d probably want to be Spider-Man or the Human Torch. But my superpower is rapidly changing moods. I’m bipolar.
Q. If you could have dinner with 4 people, who would they be?
A: Having dinner with four people is a tough dynamic. Someone’s gonna get left out, so I have to have one person less interesting than me. Let’s assign Pauly Shore that job. You need someone brilliant. I love James Joyce. I’d love to hear him talk. You need someone hilarious. I think I’d enjoy Patton Oswalt’s conversation topics the most out of all my favorite comedians. And you need someone beautiful. Rosario Dawson is pretty awesome. I’ve been at a lot of protests she was at, so she adds a lot to the room. So yeah. Pauly Shore, Patton Oswalt, James Joyce and Rosario Dawson. If this were four different dinners, the list would be very different.
Q. Any advice for people wanting to get into comedy?
A: I’m not in a position in any part of my life to be giving anyone advice about anything. But I genuinely do believe that if you do the thing that you love doing and you don’t compromise, you will find a life and enjoy that life more than forcing yourself to be something you’re not.