Make ’em Laugh
BU comics Cody Brotter and Nick Peine star on mtvU
They tell different jokes and have widely different deliveries. But what friends and fellow comedians Nick Peine and Cody Brotter have in common is that they both managed to catch the eye of MTV executives, which led to invitations to appear on mtvU, MTV’s new online endeavor aimed at college students.
“When my manager told me that a producer from MTV wanted to meet with me in Times Square, I was psyched,” recalls Brotter (COM’13), who is best known on campus for his Telly Award–winning comedy Welcome Back Brotter, which airs on BUTV10. Peine (CAS’13) says that while mtvU reaches a national audience of only about nine million students, it still could be an important springboard for the next steps in their careers. “It’s a good jumping off point into the world of television,” he adds.
Peine and Brotter were approached separately by mtvU through their managers, and invited to perform their stand-up routines at the mtvU Stand-Up Comedy Showcase in New York City’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in September. The taped, edited shorts shot at the event can now be seen on mtvU’s “College Quickies” segments, which include filmed sketches, stand-up, and original content produced by the network and starring students. Out of a dozen or so “College Quickies,” only five have profiles of the entertainers, the two BU funnymen among them.
For the uninitiated, Peine’s stand-up act is frequently raunchy, while Brotter’s could be described as more Seinfeld-esque. Neither comic, however, shies away from joking (at his own expense) about his struggles with the ladies.
The invitation to perform for the MTV enterprise represents a capstone of sorts for Brotter and Peine, who have been honing their comedy routines throughout their BU careers.
Peine first got the performing bug acting in school plays in his hometown of Minneapolis, but it wasn’t until he did a last-minute stand-up routine at a high school talent show that he realized he wanted to try his hand at comedy. His big break came three years ago when comedian and Adam Sandler buddy Nick Swardson (Reno 911, Bucky Larson) saw him at an open mic near his home and emailed to say he liked his set. The two stayed in touch and Peine got a chance to open for Swardson last year when he came to Boston College. Another distinction came last May when Peine was named MVP of Rooftop Comedy’s National College Competition, presented by TBS. He now spends many weekends performing his stand-up routine at clubs in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles.
“I’ve seen Nick make people laugh with his on-stage demeanor before he even tells a joke,” says Brotter, who profiled his friend on his Huffington Post column. “His self-loathing stuff makes us root for him instantaneously.”
In addition to writing, producing, and acting in his eponymous BUTV10 show, Brotter cofounded—with friend Jonathan Gaudet (COM’11)—Wednesday Night Live, an ongoing comedy variety show at BU Central, interned at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, writes a regular column in the Huffington Post, and is currently shopping around screenplays, one of which just advanced to the semifinals at the international Just Effing Entertain Me Screenwriting Competition.
A born performer, Brotter recalls that growing up in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., his nursery school teacher once awarded him a Steve Urkel pin because he wouldn’t stop impersonating the Family Matters character, constantly asking, “Did I do that?” His kindergarten teacher compared him to Jerry Seinfeld, and his fourth grade teacher told him that she would eat her hat if he didn’t end up being a comedian. “I still don’t know what that means and have no interest in finding out,” Brotter says, laughing.
“Cody has this talent that I haven’t seen from any other college comic, and that is the ability to adapt,” says Peine. “A lot of college comics don’t have a lot of experience. They’ll tell 15 minutes of jokes and leave. He can feel whether or not the audience is responding to him well, and he can change. He reacts to them.”
Peine says that it’s critical for a comic to be able to adapt since no two shows are ever the same. “I’ve been in comedy clubs where insane things have happened,” Peine says. “I had a glass thrown at me one time, not because of something I said, but because a drunk guy was getting thrown out and threw his glass out of anger. It didn’t hit me because I’m like a puma.”
Paul Ricci, head of development and production at mtvU, says the two BU comics are “incredibly funny” and the network loves “having the opportunity to spotlight their talent and work with them.”
What’s next for Peine and Brotter, both of whom earned top picks at last year’s BU’s Funniest Student Competition? Each has other projects in the works with mtvU, and each plans to head west after graduation to pursue a career in Los Angeles.
On Saturday, December 1, Nick Peine will perform at BU Central, 775 Commonwealth Ave., at 9 p.m. Cody Brotter will open the show. More information will be posted closer to the date on BU Central’s Facebook page.3 Comments