WEST PALM BEACH – Nadeem Awad has been here before.
Awad, along with wildcard Nathan Wallace, are the only two comics in this year’s Florida’s Funniest Comedian competition to repeat as contest finalists.
What did Awad learn in 2019 – the competition’s most recent year and the first time Awad reached the finals?
“Come out swinging,” Awad said, “Open strong, close strong.”
In 2019 Awad ascended to the finals via the west division. This time Awad started in the east and will end in the east. His opening round, semifinals and now the Dec. 28 finals will be held at the Palm Beach Improv.
Awad believes his growth as a comedian will afford improved timing compared with his 2019 set.
“I’m going to focus on just having good timing, and letting the tags and the punchlines hit strong,” Awad said. “One of my jokes has a lot of tags in it, so I’m excited to get into that one and just send it home.”
APPLAUSE BREAK Q&A: Meet Nadeem Awad
APPLAUSE BREAK: Why did you start performing stand-up comedy?
NADEEM AWAD: I have always enjoyed making people laugh and telling stories. My father would always have comedy on when I was younger and I was fascinated by it. Took me 32 years to get on stage, but I feel like I started exactly when I was supposed to.
AB: Who is your favorite comic and why?
NA: Bill Burr is my favorite comedian. I’m a fan of his conversational style and the topics he jokes about. He takes a premise that most comics would split the room on – or not even touch it – and finds a clever way to make his point and still make everyone laugh.
AB: What do you do when you’re not performing stand-up comedy? What is your job and hobby?
NA: I like being outdoors, going to the beach or the park for a run and workout. Being trapped in buildings all day makes me crazy. I’m currently working on a construction site in Plantation, I took a six-month contract that will be up in a couple months, then I’ll be a full time comic.
AB: What’s your pre-show routine?
NA: Staying away from energy-draining people. I like to be by myself before I go on stage. I do a little meditation, and just chill in silence. Also, a shot of Jameson if I can’t find silence, lol.
AB: What can people expect from your Florida’s Funniest finals set? How is it different from your normal headlining set?
NA: My set for the finals is gonna be two new bits [new since the 2019 finals] I’ve been working on. Not using anything from the previous contest. One of the bits I haven’t done in any of the rounds so I’m excited to tell it.
AB: Where do you see your comedy in five years?
NA: My goal is to be able to pay for my lifestyle and travel to beautiful places around the world. I have a lot of work ahead of me but I have a great team and we are down the field.
AB: Where did you perform in the first round of Florida’s Funniest? What do you remember from that show?
NA: It was at the West Palm Improv (my home club). I started a little slow but once I got into the bit it had a lot of tags and I was able to advance.
AB: What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
NA: I was on the road and had a show in Lakeland and there was a group of women near the front row that really wanted to show me t*ts…so they did. That was about 10 minutes into my set, I don’t consider that weird, just wanted to share. No, didn’t sign any.
AB: Of the other comics in the finals, who are you most looking forward to seeing perform? Why?
NA: I’m glad to be performing alongside Ricky Cruz. I’ve always been a fan and we don’t get to cross paths often. Also, one of our guys, John Loveless, is in the mix so I’m proud of him. What I’m really hoping for is that Nathan Wallace gets a wild card…he’s a player in game. [Editor’s Note: Organizers added Wallace to the finals as a wildcard after Awad responded to this Q&A.]
AB: What would winning the Florida’s Funniest Comedian contest mean to you?
NA: It would be honor to share the title with some of the previous guys that have won. It’s a great credit to have when booking clubs and I’m sure it would open some new doors.
AB: What else should comedy fans know about you?
NA: I hate ketchup, close talkers and cheap people.
Follow Nadeem Awad on: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
Previous Florida’s Funniest Finalist Q&As
- Orlando area comic Joe Latham
- Jacksonville area comic Danny Johnson
- Jacksonville area comic Wes Johnson
- Miami area comic Ricky Cruz
- Kissimmee area comic Donald Evans
- Boynton Beach area comic Nadeem Awad
- Tampa area comic Jay Legend
- Miami area comic Luis Diaz
- Orlando area comic Dewayne Williams
- West Palm Beach area comic John Loveless
- Fort Myers area comic Nathan Wallace