It's 10 a.m. on a Thursday, and Nick Swardson is trying to get his morning on.
The comedian answers his phone with a yawn and a stretch from his L.A. home, and explains how his newfound sobriety has led to earlier and earlier starts to his days.
"It's like a whole revelation," he says, of being two months sober. "I didn't even realize there was a morning. I didn't even know what that word meant when people would say it. I was like 'Morning? I think you mean afternoon...'"
With the last sentence, Swardson adopts a character voice reminiscent of some of his on-screen work — which includes the Comedy Central series Nick Swardson's Pretend Time, the cult classic Grandma's Boy and a slew of other Happy Madison productions — and his inflection alone is enough to draw a laugh.
His decision to ditch the booze — at least temporarily — was driven by a host of factors, he explains.
"I'm turning 40 in October, so I wanted to just kinda go into that with a clean slate. I have a shitload of work this summer, too," Swardson says, before listing off the projects he's currently working on: A new TV show for Comedy Central, a new movie with Adam Sandler and a bunch of stand-up road dates.
"Doing that stuff hung-over, which I've done for the last 20 years, I was just like, let's try and not do it, and see what that feels like."
Swardson takes the stage at the Pemberton Music Festival on Friday, July 15. He plans on sticking around for the weekend, though he's not anticipating any epic debaucheries on his part.
"When you're 40 and waking up under a tree by a river, it's like, alright. It loses its glamour," he says.
"When you're 22, you're like, 'Yeah! I don't even know where I am! I'm missing an arm. I'm missing a fucking arm, dude!' You know, you're all fired up.
"But I feel like if you wake up under a tree when you're like 70, it's kinda cool again. It goes full circle."
Swardson was scheduled to play the festival in 2014, but ended up cancelling last minute. "My schedule is always kind of a mess with filming and stuff like that, so that kinda fucks up a lot of shit," he says — but he's excited to make the trip this year.
"The lineup is phenomenal... there's so many great people," he says.
"I know Eddie Vedder a little bit, I know Brandon Flowers, and so I'm psyched to see those guys, and I'm just excited to hang out, stay for the weekend.
"And then hopefully I'll wake up under a fucking tree," he adds.
Hopefully or hopefully not?
"Yeah. Well, I'll play it by ear," he says.
When it comes to his actual comedy set, Swardson says he's not quite sure what to expect.
"I've done festivals before and they're all pretty completely different," he says, recalling his set at the 2014 Sasquatch Festival.
"They gave me my spot in the lineup and it was 5 o' clock on a Saturday, and I was like, 'alright, that's cool, nobody will be too fucked up,'" he says.
"And then everybody was like, shirtless, with like beach balls and face paint, and obviously on mushrooms or molly, and like, crowd surfing.
"I was like, 'What? This is a comedy show!' I was trying to tell my jokes, and it went fine, but it was very bizarre. I was not prepared for that."
He might expect a similar crowd up in Pemberton, I tell him.
"I'll be ready, believe me," he says.
"Who knows? Maybe I'll jump into the fucking crowd. I don't give a fuck."
Swardson's new TV show Typical Rick is starting as a digital series for Comedy Central and will be available online this November, while his upcoming movie with Sandler — Sandy — will premiere on Netflix at a later date.
Catch him onstage at the Pemberton Music Festival on Friday, July 15 — or maybe you'll get lucky and run into him somewhere else.
"If you see me under a tree," he says. "Wake me up."
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