It first began in Mrs. Ownings’ classroom, in Waldo Elementary School, as a humorous song written by then sixth-grader Aaron Nemo. The incident inspiring the three-stanza song- “There’s a Mouse in the House” Aaron shared was, “Some hysteria erupted in the classroom when a mouse had somehow managed to climb to the top floor of the now-destructed building and infiltrated our classroom.” His teacher allowed him to perform this song for the class and then over the PA to the entire school. Who knew that this childhood incident could so inspire Aaron Nemo to create a career in comedy?
But before we share his current-day success, there is more leading up to what made this career possible. Aaron admits that about that time in life schoolwork and extracurricular activities started taking a backseat to writing and sharing silly songs. Tony Williams, a friend from Harding High School, and Aaron would spend hours recording parody songs in Aaron’s basement on a twelve-dollar microphone. He then published these songs on MySpace or burned them onto CDs, that were then distributed at school — a ritual that got him called into the principal’s office more than once.
But it was at River Valley’s annual talent school for graduating seniors that Aaron Nemo made the decision to try stand-up comedy. He had thought he could only perform stand-up in New York or Los Angeles, but in Marion, Ohio he got his one-time audience. His only memory of this performance was Mr. Klingel, the gym teacher and a former defensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles, telling Aaron he would tackle him during the set if he used any profanity. As Aaron said, “I kept it squeaky clean because, frankly, that dude was huge.”
After moving to Columbus to study at Ohio State, Nemo started attending open mic nights. Aaron encourages anyone who wants to see or try stand-up comedy to look into the Columbus comedy scene. He found it an incredibly welcoming, supportive, and talented community. While there are great nationally-touring comics at the Funny Bone, you’ll get a taste of Columbus’ home-grown talent at places like the ShadowBox or Barrel On High’s weekly open mic, hosted by the legendary Sean Sommerville. Aaron’s humor also came out when he shared his advice to start writing jokes now so that you’ll have a five-minute set when live entertainment finally reopens ”sometime between this fall and 2037”.
In 2013 Aaron moved on to New York City. With a few friends from college, he took improv and sketch comedy classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade and performed at open mics around town. His first job there was as an audience page at the Late Show with David Letterman, where he welcomed members of the live audience and tried to get them excited for the taping.
During that time, he was allowed to submit freelance jokes for Dave’s monologue. He cringes now at those first submissions that he calls “bad” but admits that repetition and practice were the only way to improve.
Now seven years later, he still working, though currently remotely in Brookly because of COVID-19, at The Late Show, hosted by Stephen Colbert. Aaron said, “Steve is a mind-blowingly funny and kind man.” Nemo is the Cold Open Associate Producer. Together with his team, they brainstorm, write, and produce each night’s cold open. The Late Show’s cold open is a short, topical sketch that kicks off the show at 11:35 p.m. before the opening credits. Occasionally Aaron acts in them, like in “Vegas Set To Reclaim Status As America’s Hotspot” or “Mailbox From Blue’s Clues Isn’t Well”, which are on YouTube.
His future plans, when it’s safe for live events to resume, are to continue performing his solo act around the city. His act incorporates live music and animation. Some of these can be found on his website at aaronnemo.com.
Aaron was encouraging to those wanting to get into comedy. A piece of advice he shared is to get out there and do it live when it is possible. As he said, “in Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland, and — the biggest audience of all — on the internet!” Or maybe soon in one of Marion’s reopening spots and the new ones emerging.
As Aaron Nemo said, “There are more ways than ever to share your sense of humor with the world, regardless of where you live. Go for it, baby!” We look forward to seeing where Aaron’s sense of humor takes him in his very talented future.