A night of his stand-up comedy can go wonderfully for nationally touring comic Nick Griffin. That can be followed the next night by a sit-down discussion on a date that goes horribly.

Until he makes a confession to his partner expecting a joke a minute.

“Look, what you saw on stage — it took me three years to be that funny,” Griffin said he will say.

The 49-year-old veteran funnyman’s next date is an R-rated show 8 p.m. Saturday as part of the YES Comedy Showcase at YES Cinema, Fourth and Jackson streets in downtown Columbus. This time out, he’s looking for love from, oh, 175 or so people ready to laugh at a bit of his single-minded misfortune.

He knows well how to make people smile. Twelve appearances on “Late Night With David Letterman” says plenty. One of those visits included this classic line: “Young people drink because they think life is awesome. Older people drink because they know it’s not.”

Diane Doup, who helps coordinate the comedy series to benefit the Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center, remembers that Griffin connected well on his last visit locally, using material mocking his dating misery.

“One of the things that’s so appealing about Nick is that he doesn’t shy away from sharing the personal embarrassing moments,” Doup said. “I think that makes him so very relateable.”

He’s straightforward about late-night loneliness.

“I’m sick of being alone,” he said, adding that constant travel hurts his social life. “I’ve become just a well-groomed drifter.”

Griffin — a native of Kansas, where he started with open-mic sets at age 19 — mentioned that relating to others still can be simple, no matter how many times he lands on TBS’ “Conan.” In a world of comedy that sometimes includes the crude and rude onstage and off, Griffin remains careful to be nice to show organizers and audiences alike.

“Otherwise, I’d be terrified my (75-year-old) mother would find out,” he said.

The New York resident works 40 weeks a year and still polishes new material at a variety of Big Apple clubs in $30-per-set weeknight appearances.

“I’m always thinking about what I do and I’m always trying to get better,” he said.

But again, that gets in the way of a love life.

“I work so much that my couch at home has become my girlfriend,” he said. “But New York City is expensive, and so is therapy, so I’ve got to work.”

Away from the laughter, he dives into writing movie screenplays — no nibbles yet — and reads crime and detective fiction, including authors such as Lee Child and Henning Mankell.

“That’s kind of my escape,” he said.

Not to mention hotel gyms, where he often hops on the treadmill to burn a bit of frustration. You know, his dating life being what it is.

“I’ll work my anger through,” he said, laughing.

He was told of comic John Garrett, who a few years ago married a Columbus woman responsible for paying the YES Comedy Showcase performers. He thought for a second, and felt a bit of hope.

“Well, then,” he said, “I’ve got my fingers crossed.”

— Brian Blair, staff writer bblair@therepublic.com m

YES Comedy Showcase

Who: Standup performer Nick Griffin, who has appeared on TV shows ranging from “Late Night With David Letterman” to “Conan.”

When: 8 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Columbus’ YES Cinema, Fourth and Jackson streets downtown.

Tickets: $20 in advance at 812-379-1630 or at YES Cinema and $25 at the door.

Concessions: Food, beer and wine available for purchase.

Information: yescinema.org.

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.