This weekend, up-'n'-coming star and former local boy Nick Thune brings his sweet, sharp, goofy comedy back to Seattle. En route to Bumbershoot, Thune spent a few weeks in Africa, where, among many other things, he supplied As to my Qs via e-mail.
What the hell are you doing in Kenya?
Expanding my horizons. I'm also doing a storytelling/acting workshop for orphans and widows of AIDS in the Kibera slum of Nairobi. Currently, I'm lying in bed, surrounded by a mosquito net.
Fill me in on your horizons, preexpansion.
I was born in Tacoma and raised in Redmond. I went to Bellevue Community College and got my two-year associate's degree in drinking coffee and wondering why I was in school. Then I went to work for the Boys & Girls Club in Redmond. After five glorious years of hanging out with kids and honing my foosball skills, I moved to L.A. and started getting serious about my standup and acting career.
What did your not-so-serious Seattle-based comedy endeavors entail?
I played in a cover band by the name of No Hablos. We were a joke, covering hits like "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa. We mostly played in and around Ballard. The bars we played at took note of my comedic ramblings during band intermissions and asked me to play my own nights. I started doing bimonthly "one-man shows" at random places. I wouldn't have considered this standup. I would reenact scenes from my favorite movies, like Footloose, and bomb on a regular basis. I learned quickly that bombing in your hometown sucks. So I moved to a place where no one knew me and got to work.
Prior to trekking to Kenya, you signed a sitcom deal, right?
I signed a deal with ABC and wrote a pilot with Bob Fischer (who cowrote Wedding Crashers) and Ruben Fleischer. The Nick Thune Experience is an extension of the short films I made with Ruben for Comedy Central, about a 25-year-old guy in Portland who wants to be a hero, but not in the traditional sense or the Enrique Iglesias sense. He wants to make a difference. Unfortunately, ABC said no to filming our pilot, which is weird—they put Cavemen on TV. Other people are interested in the show, but it's tied up in law stuff for now. It may pop up on FX or Comedy Central someday, I hope. After failing with my own pilot, I filmed a different pilot for ABC called Roman's Empire, a show they bought from the BBC about a zillionaire named Roman (Kelsey Grammer) and his family. My character works for Roman and holds the whole family together and the show is told through his perspective. I'm still waiting to hear if they are going to make it or not.
Back to Kenya: What's the most amazing thing you've seen, outside of your classes?
So far it's the men with huge guns everywhere. Because of the current political issues between tribes, things are kind of tight around here, especially when they see a tall, skinny white guy in Ray-Bans and tight jeans walking around. Also, I was attacked by a baboon.
I went on a safari at Nairobi National Park, and our driver had the roof lifted off the SUV for perfect viewing and photography. When we stopped at a picnic area, everyone got out to take pictures of the vast forest, but I wasn't feeling well and stayed in the SUV. Suddenly, an 80-pound baboon ran around the SUV, then jumped up and came in through the open roof. I couldn't unlock my door and was trapped alone in the car with the crazy monkey, who jumped around and finally grabbed someone's breakfast. I curled up and hid in the front seat as the baboon got what he wanted and ran off.
Aside from the shelved pilot and the baboon attack, your career seems to be zipping along most promisingly. Has Scientology come calling?
Scientology hasn't gotten me. To be honest, sometimes it feels like they don't even care anymore.