YouTube proved a game-changer for comedian Nick Di Paolo … until the platform’s censors got to him.
“I’m finally on [YouTube’s] radar. I was getting insulted that I wasn’t,” the Boston native jokes.
The right-leaning comic already earned the respect of his peers through decades of touring and appearances in shows like “Louie,” “Inside Amy Schumer” and “The Sopranos.”
That only moved the career needle so far, though.
“People in the comedy world know you, but nobody else does,” Di Paolo recalls his manager telling him. So he began posting episodes of “The Nick Di Paolo Show,” heard Monday-Thursday at 7 p.m. EST, on the video platform.
“We have to put this out for free. It’s the only way it’ll grow,” Di Paolo says of the feedback he received, including wisdom from podcasting giant Joe Rogan.
During one 10-month period he added 100,000 subscribers. A recent podcast show drew 91,000 views in just a week.
Now, when he appears in comedy clubs following COVID-19 protocols, he isn’t just selling out venues. He’s drawing standing ovations before cracking his first joke.
“That’s never happened to me anywhere. That’s all because of the show [on YouTube],” he says.
Only his podcast got benched earlier this month for sharing some contrary opinions on the pandemic.
“It’s all horses***, another thing to get Trump out of office,” the comic says of current pandemic policies. Sound conspiratorial? Di Paolo notes that the vast majority of those who died of COVID-19 had pre-existing conditions, a fact backed up by the CDC. Plus, many Americans who contract the virus either experience no symptoms or quickly recover.
“It exists. It’s very contagious. But it’s not a death sentence,” he says of the virus, a position at odds with much of the media narrative.
Those opinions proved too explosive for Team YouTube, which prevented the comedian from posting on the platform for a week.
He defied the World Health Organization, Di Paolo says. For what it’s worth, that’s the same group that initially peddled the Chinese government’s lies about the pandemic.
The suspension hardly ranks as his only YouTube tussle. The comic says his podcast is regularly demonetized by YouTube, meaning he can’t earn income from the ads appearing on a particular episode. Fellow conservative Dan Bongino often lobs the same complaint against the platform.
It’s not a game changing revenue stream for Di Paolo, but getting demonetized is “a kick in the b***s,” he says.
His manager regularly appeals those decisions (which the comic says are often successful), but by then the news cycle has left his headline-driven bits behind.
The comic’s recent YouTube censorship left some fans wondering if Di Paolo had ended his program, another worry he has to counter. Fans matter deeply to the comedian, now more than ever.
His passionate base has helped him cope with Big Tech oppression. Listeners can still go to his Patreon page and contribute to the show directly. Some do just that, including a Queens, N.Y. resident who gave him $1,600 in a single week, he says.
FAST FACT: Nick Di Paolo snagged two Emmy nominations for his work writing on HBO’s “The Chris Rock Show.”
Di Paolo left New York for Savannah, Ga. 10 months ago, and he’s loving his new location. He’s not ready to lay down and let social media censors stop his career momentum.
“You rely on YouTube and stuff to put [butts] in the seats, and it’s been working,” he says, adding he and his manager have a plan B in case YouTube crushes him anew.
“I’m about to make an announcement. My manager has put a lot of money into it,” he teases.
— Nick DiPaolo (@NickDiPaolo) October 19, 2020
For now, he’ll keep railing against Joe Biden’s attempt to win the White House at long last. He’s optimistic President Donald Trump will come out on top Nov. 3.
“You see these lines to go to a Trump rally, it’s three miles long and thousands of people. Cut to Biden, and he’s talking to two camera men and his in-laws,” he says.
It’s why he suspects the polls predicting a Biden victory are more Fake News.
“Do you have any other indicators that Joe Biden is what the people want? I just don’t see it,” he says.