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Local Comedian Brings Standup Routine Home for Pandemic

Comedian Nick Skardarasy (dark shirt, foreground) performs for his neighbors in the front courtyard of their St. Andrews Square-area apartment building.

What do you do if you’re an aspiring standup comic, but you can’t book live gigs during a pandemic?  Sometimes, the answer is right in your own back yard…or, in this case, your own apartment courtyard.

Actor and comedian Nick Skardarasy, who has lived in a St. Andrews Square-area apartment building with his girlfriend, Hannah Pearlman, for the last four and a half years, turned 30 in August.  So he thought it would be fun to mark the momentous occasion with a socially-distanced birthday party with the other residents of his building, whom he’d been getting to know better since the COVID-19 restrictions went into effect and everyone is home more.

At first, Skardarasy told the Buzz, he thought it might be fun to take advantage of the building’s central outdoor space by turning it into a runway for a fashion show.  But then he realized he also wanted to use the opportunity to do something creative that was more directly related to his own career, as he hasn’t been able to perform since the pandemic pretty much put an end to live comedy gigs.

So Skardarasy called a director friend, and a month and a half later, “Thin Walls: An Evening with My Neighbors” was born.  It’s a 30-minute video, available on YouTube, in which Skardarasy performs a standup routine for his neighbors at the entrance to their building, intercut with interviews with several of the residents, who talk about what they’ve been doing during the current lockdown.

Skardarasy said he wanted to involve his neighbors in the project because they’re a surprisingly close group, who have become even closer during the pandemic.   Also, as he puts it in the tag at the end of his video, “I don’t have anything of truly large proportion in comedy. I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this. And I’m 30.  So…why not?”

So he dug out some old comedy material, tested it with friends, and did some rewriting to update the humor.  The result is a tightly woven set that doesn’t address the pandemic and other current events directly, but does, as he says, acknowledge this “time of great movement in this country,” without hitting people over the head with it.  “It’s not only nice as a (comedy) special,” he said, “but there is a time capsule quality to it.”

Skardarasy performing his routine at the entrance to his apartment building.

Skardarasy said his building neighbors were wonderfully receptive to the idea, and to participating in the shoot.  “Everybody was cool with it,” he said, and even the larger neighborhood universe cooperated by being miraculously quiet during the 30 minutes that cameras were rolling.

The comedy set covers things like some less attractive aspects of male culture, Skardarasy’s discomfort when his girlfriend accidentally calls him “mom,” being an only child and growing up with a superstitious Italian immigrant mother, being an agnostic who is dating someone raised in both the Jewish and Disney religions, and his personal, rather milquetoast, failures at trying drugs and expressing road rage.

And the neighbor interviews are charming, too.  One woman, who has lived in the building for more than 30 years, says she’s been spending a lot of time reading Facebook and watching British mysteries on TV…while another announces that the pandemic has inspired him to buy his girlfriend an engagement ring…and another talks about how the lockdown has helped her reconcile a contentious relationship with her father.

Skardarasy, who is originally from Michigan and has been in LA for about 7 years, says the reactions to the video so far have been “honestly, almost completely positive,” even prompting contacts from friends he hasn’t heard from in years, with almost 20,000 views for the video since it was posted in mid-September.

And it was just what his creative spirit needed as well.  “I want to tell stories.  If I could do that professionally and have a life doing that, I think it would be pretty great.”

Finally, Skardarasy said he is very grateful to all of his neighbors who helped make his birthday celebration so special.  The experience was “truly a gift” from them, he said, and the residents – who were all friendly before the lockdown – have become an even closer community since they’ve been forced to spend more time together.  “I’ve never experienced anything like this building,” he said.

Skardarasy’s neighbors applauding the performance.

You can watch “Thin Walls: An Evening with My Neighbors,” via YouTube, below.  Please do note that it does contain adult material (language, themes) and would be considered NSFW (not safe for work)…if you were still actually working in an office, or are now working at home with young kids around.

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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