Nick DiPaolo knows exactly what to take with him when he returns this weekend to Bethlehem.
"I gotta bring down a quarter inch of snark," DiPaolo deadpanned during a recent phone interview to promote his Friday, Aug. 21, performance at Musikfest Cafe. (DiPaolo previously headlined the venue in 2014.) "I had a good time last year when I did it. Being honest, I'm looking forward to it."
The comedian and former The Nick & Artie Show co-host is aware the his brand of prickly, no-holds-barred, call-it-as-he-sees-it comedy is not for everyone. "You end up being a glass of milk when you're trying to please everybody," DiPaolo said. "I like to stick to my guns. I like to do what I do. Luckily, people find a guy in his 50s whose a little angry (funny)."
DiPaolo, who hosts his own podcast on the Riotcast network, is aware that being able to speak his mind without constraint or the listening ear of the FCC is freeing. But it also means others, such as directors, actors or studio brass, may be tuning in. "I realized when I'm doing the podcast that people in Hollywood will hear what I'm saying," DiPaolo said. "I cut loose, but I can't completely cut loose."
In addition to his podcast, DiPaolo has been appeared in The Sopranos, Louie and in Artie Lange's 2006 film Beer League and has been a Comedy Central fixture. DiPaolo lent his voice, opposite late comedian Patrice O'Neal, to the former Comedy Central series Shorties Watchin' Shorties, has made frequent appearances on the network's celebrity roasts -- including Pamela Anderson and Jeff Foxworthy -- and was a regular guest on the former Comedy Central late-night show Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. DiPaolo released the standup special Another Senseless Killing in 2014 on DVD and as a digital download.
For DiPaolo, it all comes back to an open stage and a microphone. "There's no comparison of being in front of an audience and making 200-300 people laugh," he said, adding that being on television or on the radio are really vehicles to bring fans to the live experience. "One feeds the other. I want to put asses in the seats."
DiPaolo offered praise for fellow comedians Bill Burr and Louis C.K. "He (C.K.) was making all the right moves," DiPaolo said of watching the latter's career trajectory. "He was the type of guy, I knew how creative and smart he is. I knew he had the goods to deliver."
DiPaolo then turned his attention to the next generation of comedians. "There are some funny people out there. I think it's in good hands," DiPaolo said. "A lot of them don't try to rock the house, but there's funny, funny people out there. I think the future's bright."
After he mentioned Maria Bamford as one of his favorite newcomers, DiPaolo, 53, joked, "I remember being 29 and seeing a comic in his late 30s and saying to myself, 'I'll never hang on that long'."
"You're always trying to find your voice and you never really find it," DiPaolo added. "I'm way more opinionated (than when I started). The material is smarter and way more relevant."
Honesty with the audience is still key, DiPaolo said, and what helps separate him from the pack. "If I'm in a bad mood going to work, I'm not going to hide it on stage and that's the difference," he said.
Tickets for Nick DiPaolo cost $29, $25 in advance; $33, $29 at the door. Show time is 8:30 p.m. For more on Nick DiPaolo, visit nickdip.com.