Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nikki Black

Photo Courtesy Of Nikki Black

WHERE ARE YOUR RIGHT NOW AND HAVE YOU ALWAYS LIVED THERE?
Right now I live in Los Angeles, where I've been for about two and a half years.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED?
I was born and raised in New Jersey.

WHAT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CITY OR HOMETOWN?
My hometown is pretty boring. I guess in a way that was the best and worst part of it. There is nothing quite like the slings and arrows of being a teenager in suburbia, where your main escape is your friends and your media, but with very little to do in terms of going out. Now though, I find myself missing the quiet from time to time.

WHAT WERE YOUR INFANT ASPIRATIONS?
I've always wanted to be a writer in some capacity. I've been keeping a journal since I was a child.

WHAT HAS BEEN A SEMINAL EXPERIENCE?
When I was 23 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and that experience and the experience of overcoming that have definitely shaped me as a person. It was sort of the beginning of a lot of struggles for me in the way I relate to my body and the world around me, and opened my eyes to the way sick women can be treated by society.
  
WHY  COMEDIENNE?
I started doing stand-up comedy in college, where a few friends had suggested I try out for the stand-up club on campus. Immediately, I felt a connection with the form. Comedy allows you to be very vulnerable and very strong at the same time, and I love telling my story and relating to audiences, and making people laugh, of course.

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET STARTED?
As I mentioned, I started comedy at college, but I really got into the swing of things when I moved to Philadelphia after school. There are many open mics and shows in the city to cut your teeth and hone your craft.

HOW DO YOU SOURCE MATERIAL?
My comedy is largely anecdotal - I rely very heavily on my personal life and my experiences. Dogs have also been a very big inspiration for me in terms of writing material - I never seem to run out of dog jokes.

ON BEING FUNNY: MAYBE SHE'S BORN WITH IT?
Being funny definitely requires a natural talent, but there is always room for improvement. I think learning some of the simple rules, like the "Rule of 3's" for example, can help a young performer figure out their beats and craft punchlines. Consuming funny content it important as well. Many performers starting out will sound basically like a knock-off of a famous comedian everyone knows, but eventually they will branch out and have their own voice. The most important thing is to not be afraid of failure.

WHAT OR WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOU?
I'm a really big fan of Maria Bamford. I love her comedy and I love that she tackles issues such as mental health in her material. I would say comedically, she has probably had the biggest influence on me. I am also influenced by some of my interests, like gothic literature and anime.

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING?
When I'm not working, I like to read. Mainly I read books about feminism, or told with a feminist eye, and I also really love comics. I'm a big fan of "Snotgirl" and "Teen Dog".

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
My personal style is mainly fun and cartoony by day and edgier at night. I have a lot of fun accessories - Sailor Moon earrings, ghost earrings, that sort of thing - that give me a quirky vibe, and my hair is usually some kind of vibrant color. Right now it's pink, but I change it up a lot. I also am very into neon chokers right now.

WHAT BEAUTY ROUTINE DO YOU SWEAR BY?
I always wash my face and use toner. I know that is simple, but I can't do anything else until I do. I also love a good cat eye.

HOW DO YOU RETURN TO CENTER?
Something that has been really helpful for me is expressive writing. I sit down in the morning and write out anything that I am feeling, good or bad, and try not to judge my own emotions. Then I rip it up and throw it out, able to go about my day much lighter.

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