Comedian Nick Leidl’s Debut Single “Friend Zone”

Nick Leidl is a comedian, musician, actor (Bottled, Nick and Ice and No Way Out), and writer proudly hailing from New Jersey. He brilliantly finds laugh-out-loud humor in life’s most challenging moments. After dedicating his life to comedy and relocating to Los Angeles with the support of his online following, the singer/songwriter used his quarantine time wisely writing his debut single, “Friend Zone,” and songs for his upcoming album, Pivot.

From entrepreneurial ventures growing up in New Jersey to a career in the heart of corporate America. “Nick, if you want to be a leader at this company and continue to be our top producer, you need to exhibit irrational commitment toward this job.” Your response was to resign. At that very moment, what would you say led you to walk away?

I know it’s a crazy statement to read that I would resign from a company as the #1 producer. But the truth is, money is only a partial motivator to me. When the boss mentioned “irrational commitment” all it did was motivate me to focus on my goals more. I processed how hard I was working for the company and, in that moment, I realized that if I irrationally committed to my own creative projects of comedy and making music I could have similar success. I resigned and the next day I started an instagram account and began to build my brand nonstop from that point.

Straight A student to strip club owner. Seriously, what is your best advice for students doing their best to navigate the continuing academic unknowns during the pandemic?

You have to prepare for an altered future. Things very rarely work out the way you imagine them. It’s a story that I hear over and over. People dwelling on the past — I do it too. Be grateful for what you have and try to stay ahead of the curve. And enjoy the little victories even if it’s not the big one you hoped for. Another tidbit I can offer is always be ready to be “on.” I’ve met some of my best contacts riding the bus in NYC or in a kickball game. Think outside the box. Don’t follow the pack. Those are words I remind myself everyday.

Irrational Commitment. Your first hour comedy special, produced by Hollywood legend Barry Katz. Finding humor in humorless situations. Who inspired your brand of comedy?

I draw all my comedy inspiration from actual stories that happened to me. I find material from funny things just as I do super sad events. Often times I will put myself in uncomfortable situations because I know it will lead to material. The big key for me when I do stand up (and also when I write music) is I want the audience to feel something. I want them to be connected with me and feel my pain, my pleasure, my confusion, whatever. I shy away from just saying something funny if I don’t feel it connects to my general theme. Comedy is the hardest craft out there I feel. It takes years to find your voice and I feel like I just started to really understand mine right as I got the opportunity to shoot the comedy special. So when I look at the material in the special, I can proudly say that’s me.

One Drink with Nick. Having fans join you twice weekly, Monday and Thursday at 9pm EST, on Instagram. How have fans influenced you as an artist?

I’ve built my fan base entirely on social media, primarily Instagram & Facebook. One at a time. They are loyal. I engage with them. I know their names. That has helped me. I really enjoy going live and I think it has really illuminated the traits that set me apart. I’m good on the fly. What I really love about that loyal base is the opportunity to test my content on them. Jokes, Songs, Pilot ideas — they are my writer’s room in so many ways. They are the ones that told me that “Friend Zone” is a hit. That it’s catchy and relatable. So I went and recorded it first. I let the fans dictate that and I think they appreciate that. They supported the song as it was in production and pre-ordered actively when I announced it.

Let me tell you how wild my fans are. In 2018 my fans actually furnished my new apartment after getting divorced. They sent couches, recliners, fireplaces, clothes, grills — they essentially did a registry and all chipped in to get me everything. It was wild and it was beautiful. They truly appreciate my honesty and vulnerability and saw that I needed their love. I had documented the death of my mother and my divorce and I think it brought me closer to the fans. They felt my pain.

“Covid shut down the life and grind I had as a comedian and allowed me the time to explore another creative talent that I always felt I had — singing/songwriting.” Is “Friend Zone,” the first track (co-written with producer Cooper Walker) from your upcoming album, based on a personal experience or a reflection on what you see in the real world?

“Friend Zone” came to me one day as I was watching TV. Originally I intended it to be a funny idea but as I worked on it, I began to extract the frustration that I had felt in the past with girls who had friend zoned me. We’ve all been there I don’t care who you are. Its basic human interaction. My favorite line is “Stop trying to hook me up with your girlfriends, It’s a slap in the face when they know I want you.” I think the funny part of being friend zoned is everybody on the outside can see it but we are blinded by our affection for that person. So it really becomes pretty comical to the onlooker. But the simplicity of the chorus sums it up: “Why do keep me in the Friend Zone? We could be so much more.” Again we’ve all been there. We want that person to know we want more, but they keep us at arm’s length. The friend zone is a dangerous place to be.

Do you feel the need to keep your comedic personality separate from your musical one?

Yes and No. I think the fun part of my musical voice is that you can hear the humor. It’s always there. The interesting part is there are two emotions I absolutely love — humor and extreme sadness. So I can write very dark songs as well but it’s tough because I think I’m sorta branded as a funny guy. But as I’ve said, I love creating stuff that makes me feel something. So I put it all out there and let the universe decide. Writing songs comes easy to me. I wrote 17 songs in a month and made a record. It just felt right so I did it.

I love been multi-faceted in my creativity. In life there are many reasons to just to do one thing and get super good at it, but I kinda like having different arts to focus on. It gives me the breathing room to not get too frustrated over one lane. In the end, I’m me. It took me a long time to really understand the importance of just being genuine in everything I put out.

“The majority of the songs are a heartfelt yet humorous look at trying to figure out the second half of my life. When the album releases it will be appropriately titled “Pivot” since I was forced to pivot when life and comedy shut down.” What other creative endeavors do you see yourself exploring in the future?

I love that question. Well, so far I’ve owned 3 businesses in my life, lived in several cities, and worked on so many projects. I just don’t like complacency. I like new challenges. Ultimately I beat to my own drum. I’m the hardest working guy I know but I love the feeling of having goals to strive for. My goal today is for “Friend Zone” to go #1 and prove to myself and the world that I am a talented singer/songwriter. But I shot a TV pilot in 2016 that I wrote and produced. I shot a comedy special. Both of those were super rewarding experiences. But there is something so special and expressive about music. My music is the only thing I have ever gotten full approval from my Dad. That’s gotta mean something.

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