Nikki Carr is currently knocking them dead with honest jokes and a winning personality.
Starring on NBC's Last Comic Standing is a big career boost for Carr, who is a standout being the last female in the four finalists. This is season eight for the show and currently has Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Russell Peters as judges, with JB Smoove as the host. The winner receives $250,000 and a comedy show on NBC.
This out and loud comic has appeared on BET's Comic View, Martin Lawrence's 1st Amendment, and It's Showtime at the Apollo. Her movie career appearances include Golddigger Killer and Dynasty Pictures' Change the Game.
Windy City Times tracked down Carr as the final episodes are set to air of Last Comic Standing.
Windy City Times: Hey, Nikki. So you are originally from the Bronx?
Nikki Carr: Bronx, New York, the boogie-down Bronx, that's right!
WCT: I read you are a mother of four children and have four grandkids.
Nikki Carr: That's right. Back in the day, old girl was really trying to be straight. I got the kids to prove it!
WCT: Do you have a longtime partner now?
Nikki Carr: I have a wonderful partner and she's also a comedian. It's beautiful. Her name is big frannie mei.
WCT: Did you meet in New York?
Nikki Carr: She's from New York, she's Brooklyn and I'm Bronx. Together we have left New York and we are now living in Massachusetts. It is a quick drive to New York but far enough and close to the city we were born in. This is a nice calm setting with grass, trees, birds and whatnot.
WCT: You have been doing comedy 17 years?
Nikki Carr: Yes.
WCT: Are you always on the road?
Nikki Carr: I am not as of yet but I have spent a lot of time on the road since I have been with frannie mei. We travel together most of the time. We have some puppies now but they are about to go to their new homes so she has been staying home with all of the puppies. Now that they are going their ways she will be back on the road with me.
WCT: How did you get on Last Comic Standing?
Nikki Carr: Honestly, I wasn't going to submit to Last Comic Standing then a friend of mine talked me into it. He said I had been on TV but not something big like NBC, so he talked me into submitting a clip. They saw it, liked it and the rest is history.
WCT: You have done so well and beat the other women on there.
Nikki Carr: I have done better than I could have even imagined. I hoped what I was doing for the past 17 years would be enough and surprisingly it was.
WCT: Your spirit seems so genuine on the show and not like you are trying so hard.
Nikki Carr: That's sweet. I think that's because I have always been a very silly person, before I even thought about doing comedy. I've been ridiculous forever.
WCT: Were you nervous going on The Ellen Degeneres Show during this series?
Nikki Carr: I was too excited and too amped to be nervous. I was nervous after. How about that? [Laughs] Everything has been a "Wow, I did that" moment. It's not that I have to do it or am doing it, but it was after the fact that I did something.
WCT: You have Jay Leno on this current week. The competition is down to the nitty-gritty now.
Nikki Carr: It's down to the nitty-gritty. The challenges are over and it is all material now.
WCT: Do you look up to producer and mentor Wanda Sykes?
Nikki Carr: She's my shero! I've met my idol and my shero.
WCT: Sounds like a dream come true.
Nikki Carr: Are you kidding me? They call them challenges on the show but they are dreams come true for me.
WCT: So if you win then you get a television pilot. You would have to call it Nikki because it's always the comedian's first name.
Nikki Carr: Yes, that would be nice.
WCT: Is Rod Man your biggest competition? He's very funny.
Nikki Carr: He's hilarious. You know what? I was a fan of his before I even touched a stage, or a mic, or thought about doing comedy. I'm in awe of him. I'm not trying to beat him. I don't think of this as a competition, just shows. I've been the best at a whole lot of shows with less at stake! [Laughs] I'm hoping that I can do it. I'm in awe of Rod Man. He makes me nervous. To me I have to think of it as just a show and hope for the best when it's all over.
WCT: Have you been to Chicago?
Nikki Carr: I've been trying to get to Chicago my entire career. I love Chicago. I loved it at first because Oprah Winfrey was there. I wanted to do my stand-up there then go to The Oprah Winfrey Show, but I never got there. I'm coming though. I feel this in my bones!
WCT: I heard Oprah was around town with the Beyonce concert the other day, so she is still around sometimes. There is a Last Comic Standing Tour after the show is over so you can come then.
Nikki Carr: Yes; I call it The Diet Tour because I am going to lose weight with all of that work. I won't have my oven to bake all of my midnight cakes so I am definitely going to come down in pounds.
WCT: But with the Chicago food, good luck with that plan. We have pizza for you!
Nikki Carr: [Laughs] Well, thank you.
WCT: Then we can hit the gay bars and dance it off.
Nikki Carr: Please take me.
WCT: Absolutely. We are happy to get you in our LGBT newspaper.
Nikki Carr: I am completely honored to be a part of your publication.
WCT: Was it difficult to come out as a comedian? I know during your Martin Lawrence show, you talked about dating men.
Nikki Carr: It was very difficult. I always wanted to however there are a lot of homophobes out there. At that time I cared about every single penny, the money I would make from churches and schools. I didn't want them to judge me or not book me because I am a lesbian, even though I had worked for them before and always been a lesbian. I hadn't talked about lesbian issues since I am diplomatic and know when to talk about it and when not to.
Throughout my career I tried a little bit every now then. Sometimes it would go over well and sometimes the audience would shut down then I have to go get them back.
Even now it is still difficult because I don't like to be disliked by anyone. At this point it doesn't really matter. My kids are fine with me, my mother was fine before she left, God is fine, he created me. I can't hide anymore. Once I turned 50, I decided to not hide anymore.
Obama was a big help because in the inaugural speech he spoke up for gay rights and equality. They had the float in the parade. After that when someone stands up for you it is really time for you to stand up for yourself. That is why I came out nationally on TV actually recently. I am trying to work the new material into it. Last week I just did a set in D.C., where I talked about coming out. They kind of shut down but once they heard the new material about coming out they all laughed and it was great. It is a scary thing.
WCT: I don't know if you have seen Wanda Sykes' segment about coming out gay and comparing it to coming out Black, but it's hilarious.
Nikki Carr: It is true. I never professed to love men but I can say that I love men. I love macaroni and cheese like I love men. It is my favorite thing in the whole world but you will never catch me stuffing either one in my vagina!
WCT: People like Ellen and Wanda have paved the way, and now you never know who you are helping in the future by being open about your life.
Nikki Carr: Right, exactly. I want to come to Chicago and hang with you.
WCT: See ya on tour and good luck in the final rounds!
Carr drives through the competition Thursdays on NBC.