Nick Swardson isn’t one to back down.
“Whatever I do, I just extremely commit,” the comedian said in a recent telephone interview. “I’m game for anything. There’s no time to be afraid.”
Whether Swardson is portraying an obsessive fan with stalker tendencies in “Blades of Glory,” a scantily clad roller-skating cop in “Reno 911!” or an agoraphobic with a bleached bowl cut in “Benchwarmers” – the 38-year-old has never shied away from a role, and it’s exactly that kind of fearlessness that has helped him thrive.
While Swardson’s name recognition stems from these eccentric characters, his current stint on his “Taste It” tour hopes to introduce his fans to the funny guy they already know and love, but in a slightly new way. He’ll be in Temecula on Nov. 8 at Pechanga Resort and Casino.
The comedian has a no-regrets attitude toward his past roles and expressed genuine happiness with all his choices, but his trip around the country is guided by a newfound appreciation for stand-up comedy.
“I would like to gravitate toward being myself,” he said. “Guys like Seth Rogen, they’ve done movies where they’re hilarious, and they don’t have to put on crazy wigs and run around and be insane.”
Swardson is particularly eager to return to the West Coast for the last leg of his tour. After taking a two-year break from stand-up to focus on writing, producing and starring in his hit Comedy Central sketch show “Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time,” he’s never been more ready to take the stage.
“I feel like I’m at my peak in terms of performing and putting on great shows, which is really awesome,” he said. Swardson added that he’s happy he had time to “cleanse his palate, or whatever” so he could create a quality act, which he believes he’s achieved.
If his comedic resume isn’t convincing enough to attract an audience, his passion for his career will be.
“I think people think it looks easy if you have a laid-back approach,” he said. “It’s not just writing a fart joke. Adam Sandler to Ben Stiller to Will Ferrell – they all work really hard. I’m always impressed by their work ethic, so that always makes me work harder. I always try to rise up to their level.”
That mentality applies to everything, including his upcoming stop-motion adventure “Hell and Back” with Danny McBride and Mila Kunis. Slated for release sometime next summer, the film has some of his previous co-stars attached to the project and is definitely a bold venture for Swardson. “I’m always challenging myself and doing things that are new to me,” he said. “It was something really different and really cool.”
Swardson’s appeal seems to stem from his balance between unconventional humor and his down-to-earth persona. Though the moral isn’t “Nick Swardson: He’s Just Like You!,” it’s something he appears to want to touch on as he moves forward.
After all, the weirdest thing he’s tasted recently hasn’t been too out there, as his tour title may suggest – it was cherry ChapStick. “I put too much on and I ended up getting a mouthful,” he said.
IF YOU GO
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 8
Where: Pechanga Resort & Casino, 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula
This story originally appeared on pe.com on Nov. 6, 2014.