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Nick Youssef

Comedian, podcaster

in comedian, mac, podcaster

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Nick Youssef and I'm an L.A based, nationally touring stand up comedian. I just released an album called "Stop Not Owning This," which right now can be found on iTunes and All Things Records. The upcoming vinyl release will be out Jan. 13th, 2015 on Literally Figurative Records.

I also host a podcast called Occasionally Awesome on The All Things Comedy network.

What hardware do you use?

The running theme with technology for me is user friendliness because I am basically computer illiterate. So, for the podcast, my co-host and I record all episodes on a Zoom H4N recorder because it is easy to use as well as portable. We use anywhere from two to four Shure microphones, depending on the number of guests.

For comedy writing, I still use a combination of computers and pen and paper. I find I'm more connected to my thoughts with the latter. That, and I started comedy in the early 2000s before everyone was carrying around iPhones, laptops and iPads. Most of my ideas come when I'm out and about so I always carry around a Pilot G2 Mini gel pocket pen and write things down on a Moleskine ruled soft cover pocket notebook.

They are virtually indestructible little notebooks. Once it's time to sit down and flesh out the ideas into working bits for the stage, I use a large, hardcover ruled Moleskine notebook and a full size pen. Lately I've been using this Lamy rollerball and this Retro 51 Hex-o-matic ballpoint.

Moleskines don't come with pen holders, but this company, Lechtturum, makes a great one that adheres to almost any notebook. After I write and re-write a few times, I switch over to my computer, a mid 2012, 13 inch MacBook Air. I chose the Air because of the lighter weight and portability. I'm always on the go so the lighter load the easier it is on the shoulders. Jokes rarely work the way you envision them when writing, which is why it's smart to always record your sets. For that I use the voice memo recorder on my iPhone 5 (32GB) with a beat up old pair of (now discontinued) Beats Pro headphones.

I write in a lot of coffeehouses so drowning out the sounds of college kids and screenwriters is essential to maintaining my focus and sanity.

And what software?

I edit the audio for my podcast using GarageBand. Audio of two or three people talking involves minimal editing or sound manipulation so for software, GarageBand is perfect. I can import audio, make tweaks and export it all inside of a half hour.

If I start bits on paper and pen I always transcribe them into Microsoft Word for Mac, then edit, re-write and catalog them into folders. A lot of writing involves sitting down at the computer and figuring out what went wrong. I like to stay inspired by listening to music. Like most people I've jumped onto the streaming music bandwagon and my service of choice has been Rdio. From what I hear, they treat artists better when it comes to royalties. Also, their interface is album friendly, instead of playlist-oriented. I'm an album guy, through and through.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be a home office complete with a 2TB hard drive MacBook Air (doesn't exist but it should) so I never have to worry about space again. That would sit on a large, vintage rosewood or walnut desk with some kind of old wooden swivel chair with arm rests. There would be a record player and some nice speakers, as well as a set up for digital music files. The final piece would be an Eames chair, for reading and writing in a more relaxed position.