Funnyman carves a niche for himself in region

A lot of comedians are quick to cite past stand–up pioneers as
influences. But for region–based funnyman Nick Gaza it hits closer
to home.

“My dad was an East Chicago policeman for 28 years, and he was
very funny,” he said. “It was just something in our house where
everyone has a good sense of humor. In fact, all my friends
could’ve been stand–up comics. I always say people in the region
aren’t afraid to speak their mind, and that’s what a comic

Taking to the Beatniks on Conkey stage on Dec. 28, Gaza, grew up
in East Chicago and is a Bishop Noll graduate. He was bitten by the
entertainment bug as a teen when he was cast as an extra in the
hometown–filmed 1981 film “Four Friends.”

After graduation, Gaza made his way to Chicago’s Second City,
where he gained expertise in improvisation and stand–up. In 1989,
he made his way to Los Angeles, where he landed supporting roles on
episodes of “Malcolm in the Middle,” “The Drew Carey Show” and
“Dharma and Greg.”

Four years ago, he left the West Coast and returned to the

“If you ever thought that you were unique, you should go to
Hollywood, because there’s literally 500 guys just like you,” he
said. “You walk into a hallway where guys are waiting to audition
for a part, and there are 50 other guys like you … (but) to get
to the level (of performing on television) and you realize what a
huge accomplishment that is.”

Onstage, Gaza looks to current situations in his life as source

“I’ve never been a topical comic and I don’t do political
humor,” he said. “The old adage that there’s nothing funnier than
the truth is very true.”

In addition to performing, Gaza is working on a documentary
chronicling his return to the region from the West Coast. He is
also producing comedy shows.

“I always say that the people in the region are just such great
laughers and they really have great sense of humor,” he said.



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