Comedy show back on, La Grande native records debut album

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Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.37.26 AMAbout two weeks ago, Nick Johnson had a nightmare that someone threw a brick at his face during his La Grande show.

“I woke up in the middle of the night, sweating bullets,” he said during his podcast, “Just Scrollin.’

As a La Grande native, he knows the community here would never do that. But he was certainly feeling the stress of recording his debut comedy album.

To make things worse, just a few days before the show, Johnson found out the venue had to cancel.

Things are back on track now, though, because Joe Beans Coffee has offered to host the show instead.

That’s good news for the comedian, who said he needs the album to propel his career.

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Nick Johnson, a La Grande native who now lives in Colorado, will record his debut comedy album during a show on March 29. (Courtesy photo)

“The past few years, it’s been a challenge to get booked,” he said. “Places want you to have multiple television and film credits or have a comedy album.”

Johnson, who’s been doing stand-up since 2011, said he started thinking about recording an album for a few years.

“Now, I finally feel like the material is ready,” Johnson said. “There are some jokes that I’ve been doing since my very first show. They’re crowd favorites. There will be some newer things, too.”

Once the album is done, Johnson said he’ll be able to throw out the old material and start new.

Johnson said his material spans a variety of topics, but always comes back to his own personal experiences.

“I’ll be getting married in July, so there are jokes from the start of the relationship to now,” he said. “Some of (the material) is about my family. I’m also still at the age where I can do college humor, especially since I tour a lot of schools.”

Although his plan was to audition with Second City in Chicago, Johnson currently lives in Colorado with his fiancee and booking agent Devon Galiszewski.

“It just didn’t work out that way,” he said of his initial goal. “(Galiszewski) got a job in Colorado, so I said, ‘I can do what I do from pretty much anywhere. You have supported me, it’s my turn to support you.’”

There is a budding comedy scene in Denver and Colorado Springs, so Johnson hasn’t slowed down since the move. He’s also been cast as the lead in a Denver production of “The Wedding Singer,” gaining acting credits where he can.

Johnson said he decided to record in La Grande because that’s where he got started.

“It’s my hometown, so it’s shaped me,” he said. “That’s where I started out acting 15 years ago, and that’s where I started comedy. I’m just really excited to give back to the town.”

And now that he has a new location for the show, Johnson is feeling more at ease. He said that even if something does go wrong, he’ll have a good story out of it.

“(For instance,) there was this one time where I made a joke about Facebook, and I asked if the audience knew what I was talking about,” he said. “There was this 85-year-old woman in the back didn’t, so the entire audience turned around and proceeded to explain Facebook to her, rather than listening to me.”

Johnson said he sat and waited for them to finish before continuing his set.

“It was actually hilarious, looking back,” he said.

The La Grande show will start at 8 p.m. March 29 at Joe Beans Coffee, 1009 Adams Ave. The cost is $10 at the door.

“I’m going to pack in as many people as I can,” Johnson said.

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