Nikki Payne, comedian (b at Lower Sackville, NS 17 Jan 1976). Nikki Payne was educated at Truro Community College, Humber School of Comedy and The Second City Conservatory. She began her career as a comedian at college, where people laughed at her antics as the school's mascot. She has been clowning around ever since, except for the few months she took off in 2006 to donate a kidney to her father. Even that dramatic act is fodder for Payne, who publicized the experience in her routine, "My Big Fat Kidney Donation."
Over the years Payne has developed and exaggerated her professional persona. Most often her opening line is, "So! I have a lisp!" and after stating that bald fact, Payne warns everyone to watch out for spittle. Next she repeatedly punctuates her blurb with as many "sss" sounds as she can. She may tie her hair in ribbons or little-girl pigtails but then nice becomes naughty as she turns her back on the audience and flips her skirt or her finger to get a reaction.
The lisping, the crude language and the rude gestures are so professionally delivered, it is difficult to separate the clown from the woman. Her unladylike language is accompanied by wide-eyed innocent eyes and a big grin. Payne exudes joy as if she truly loves life and laughs often at her own shortcomings and at the curveballs life throws her way.
Of those, she's had more than a few. She explains to audiences that the lisp is a result of a cleft palate. For a time she suffered partial facial paralysis because of Bell's palsy. Then there's the kidney donation itself, which by any measurement scale is not a small thing. The onstage Payne laughs and talks about and sometimes physically illustrates all the medical indignities involved, including enemas and urine tests. She talks about these things until people laugh with her and, in doing so, understand more about physical disabilities and especially about organ transplants.
Nikki Payne's comedy work has earned her accolades. She is the recipient of 3 Canadian Comedy Awards as best standup newcomer in 2003 and as best female standup for 2005 and 2008. She was nominated twice for GEMINI AWARDS for performances at the Halifax Comedy Fest Gala and in Comedy Now. She has appeared on CTV's Comedy Inc special, in Nikki Payne's Funtime Show for CTV and in THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA 's The Next Big Thing. She was a semi-finalist on the American television show The Last Comic Standing and was nominated for a best supporting actor GENIE AWARD for her appearance in the film Le Marais.
Nikki Payne has perfected her innocent/bad-girl image but at its best, her earthy, unpredictable and uninhibited humour is refreshingly human. She also works with the AboutFace organization, which supports children with facial differences.