Ramin Nazer: Embracing the Art of Reality

February 7, 2018


Valerie Lopez


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.

Ramin Nazer