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12 n TOLEDO FREE PRESS STAR

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FINE ARTS

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HIP-HOP

STAR INTERVIEW:

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NIGHT LIFE

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LITERATURE

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COLLEGE SPORTS

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MUSIC

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MOVIES

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COVER STORY

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2010

WWW.TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM

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FINE ARTS

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HIP-HOP

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NIGHT LIFE

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LITERATURE

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COLLEGE SPORTS

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MUSIC

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MOVIES

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COVER STORY

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TOLEDOFREEPRESS STAR n 13

Demetrius Nicodemus

How the one-time bartender was harrassed into becoming Toledo’s funniest comic. By Kristen Rapin Toledo Free Press Special Sections Editor krapin@toledofreepress.com

Demetrius Nicodemus was a bartender for Connxtions Comedy Club when he was harassed into performing stand-up comedy. “After the shows the staff and all the comedians would sit around, have cocktails and share stories. One day the headliner of the club, Billy Gardell, told me I was the funniest guy he’d met that isn’t paid,” Nicodemus said. “Then [Gardell] called me for 30 days straight until I went to my first amateur night. Literally, he harassed me.” Nicodemus had doubts about standing onstage with all eyes watching, but once the lights hit his face, he knew comedy was for him. “It was the best drug I’ve ever done. It was better than drinking, better than sex. It’s immediate gratification. You give to the audience and they give back to you,” he said excitedly. “I’d live on stage if I could, but I don’t think people would want to watch me shower.” Despite more than 15 years performing stand-up, Nicodemus, who goes from dry and sarcastic to silly and animated, said he still gets nervous be-

fore he performs. “Before the show I pace. I pace to the point where it’s distracting to the people around me,” he said. “People honestly think I have a bomb strapped to me. ‘Why is he so nervous? He doesn’t look Islam.’ I’m like, ‘it’s Muslim you dummy, it’s not Islam, that’s the religion.’ ” The Toledo native insists the nerves are positive and the night he’s not nervous is the night he gives up comedy. Being nervous reinforces that he still cares about comedy and the performance he has to bring the audience, Nicodemus said. On the advice of other comedians, Nicodemus played around with having a message in his act. “They told me I needed to have a message to my show, that somehow my comedy was supposed to better people’s life. Like start Scientology all over again,” he said mockingly. After battling with the idea for a few months, Nicodemus decided his standup was to entertain, not deliver a message. His comedy is about making the audience forget about their crappy jobs or bills and have fun, he said. Nicodemus’ show is never the same twice because he plays off the audience

and is improvisational. He has no set list of jokes and rarely knows what he is going to start out with, he said. “I’m very stream of consciousness. I never really know what I’m going to start out with or where I’m going to end up. I usually let the audience take me where they want to go.” The stand-up is “sometimes so ridiculous that you can’t believe you’re sitting there listening to it,” with comedy that ranges from clean to adult humored, Nicodemus said. “I’m an adult, I do things and talk about things that I think are funny and sometimes that runs blue and sometime it runs clean,” he said. “I have a Dr. Seuss parody of ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’ that if you were a teacher you’d probably never read the story to your students again. I’m very proud of that.” Nicodemus writes his best material while at the bar with a beer, commotion surrounding him, so he constructed the ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ parody while out. “I was writing this bit, and I’m going through the book trying to get the rhyme scheme and I have a notebook and a beer. This guy walks by me and he says to me ‘if you stop drinking you’d probably be able to get through

that book without taking notes’, ” he said, almost disbelievingly. “You don’t even know me, but you feel I have a problem and I would take my remedial reading skills into a bar so I could be openly mocked.” Nicodemus toured Ohio and Michigan, going as far as the Upper Peninsula, before joining the “Andrew Z in the Morning” show on 92.5 KISS FM. “Demetrius is there to entertain me,” Andrew “Z” Zepeda said. “He keeps it interesting. I never know what he’s going to say and it’s always funny.” While Nicodemus is funny even though he has to be censored on the radio, he is amazing live, Zepeda said. “It’s hilarious. He does a lot of relationship stuff, gives the male point of view. Women have it sugar-coated. Demetrius knows how men think and doesn’t mind sharing it,” he said. His show is R-rated; if someone is easily offended they shouldn’t go.” Nicodemus has been part of the Andrew Z show for nearly two years. “Being funny is easier being with people who are fun to be around. If I hated everyone I would suck on the show. I love everyone on the show, it’s not like going to work,” Nicodemus said. “It’s not a job. It’s like going out

and hanging out with friends.” Nicodemus is part of the morning show’s “Andrew Z’s Small Town Comedy Tour.” The Northwest Ohio tour consists of four comedians with Nicodemus as the headliner. “He’s our Michael Phelps. Last one on the stage and goes the longest. He’s our anchor,” Zepeda said. The tour was recently in Defiance and Nicodemus improvised with the audience for nearly an hour. “I hear him on a daily basis, and to hear new stuff for 40 minutes, and have the audience erupting with laughter says what a talent he is,” Zepeda said. Nicodemus will host comedy shows March 25 through March 28 at Fat Fish Blue home of the Funny Bone Comedy Club at Levis Commons in Perrysburg. Shows are March 25 at 7 p.m., March 26 at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., March 27 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. and March 28 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.fatfishblue.com. Nicodemus can also be seen during “Andrew Z’s Small Town Comedy Tour.” Upcoming shows are April 5 at The Clarion Suites in Fremont and April 12 at The Cla-Zel in Bowling Green. For more information about the tour, visit www.925kissfm.com. O

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[Being onstage] was the best drug I’ve ever done. It was better than drinking, better than sex. It’s immediate gratificaiton.

Andrew “Z” Zepeda with Sara Hegarty and Demetrius Nicodemus at the KISS FM studios in Toledo. STAR PHOTOS BY CHARLIE LONGTON

You give to the audience and they give back ... I’d live on stage if I could, but I don’t think people would want to watch me shower.

Being funny is easier being with people who are fun to be around. If I hated everyone I would suck on the show.

They told me I needed to have a message to my show, that somehow my comedy was to supposed to better people’s life.

’’

I’m an adult, I do things and talk about things that I think are funny and sometimes that runs blue and sometimes it runs clean.

Catch Demetrius On Air: 92.5 KISS FM “Andrew Z in the Morning” weekdays 6 to 10 a.m. On Stage: Fat Fish Blue March 25 - 28 On Tour: April 5: Fremont, April 12: Bowling Green


Comedy