Audio by Valerie Lopez, Words by Richard Goodwin
In a special on-location interview this week, Valerie Lopez grabs one of the many illustrious comics that have graced our fair city before moving out to Los Angeles to continue building their careers. Channeling her inner NPR-host, she partners with the infamous LA traffic to talk comedy and life with 2012’s Funniest Person in Austin winner, Ramin Nazer.
Once a fixture of the Austin scene, Nazer now physically spends his days many miles away, but you’ve almost certainly seen his work here every week in one form or another. It turns out, he’s responsible for the artwork and flyers for a majority of the local comedy showcases you know and love. Nazer is an accomplished artist, and even has a compendium book of his creations, Infinite Elephants, that you should hit Kickstarter and jump on right away.
A native Texan, Nazer grew up with an appreciation of industry legends like Mitch Hedberg, but didn’t initially have a goal of getting into the comedy game. Encouraged by a combination of friends, and some surprising life events, he found himself on stage in Austin in 2007 with a napkin for a set list.
It didn’t go well; first times rarely do.
But that didn’t stop Nazer, and he started focusing on his content, refining his style and strategy, leading to that 2012 FPIA win we mentioned. He soon felt the pull (of both the opportunity, and his girlfriend’s desire) to move to L.A., and in 2014 he did just that.
Contrary to what many believe, they don’t just hand you a bundle of cash and celebrity status when you cross the California border. “Be prepared to eat shit,” Nazer says, “it’s gonna happen.” That said, while the challenges are steep, the rewards are that much sweeter for the effort.
Comedy continues to be a theme in Nazer’s life, a familiar outlet for his seemingly bottomless well of content, paired with a passion for the art he creates and shares online and in print. You’d do well to follow him on Twitter and Instagram to get a taste of the volume and variety of his visual talents.
Nazer is also continuing to dip his toes in the podcast craze, with past collaborations with names like Shane Mauss, Tom Rhodes, and Maggie Maye, and his own series Rainbow Brainskull Hour just launched. He has his own LA showcase as well, Rainbow Brain Skull, the logo for which is the title graphic for this article, as well as a series of prints and creations available at his website.
Life so far has given Nazer what he feels are an abundance of lessons: overcoming fear, moving past losses, always being your authentic self. In an industry where being driven by demons is almost a cliché, Nazer’s devoted drive for positivity (even when you fail…or perhaps especially) is a welcome antithesis.
Listen to the episode for much, much, more on Nazer’s life philosophy, tips on sharing your art (in whatever form), and how to be your best self regardless of what the world throws at you. There are also some mini-reveals of other projects and opportunities you may see his hand in, and we can’t wait to see how they pan out.