Nolan Gilbride started performing comedy in Omaha, Nebraska. At first, Gilbride worked as a doorman at Jokers Comedy Club. The club owner Doug MacCraw gave Gilbride a guest set and he was soon a regular emcee. During his tenure, Gilbride had the fortune of opening for Bob Zany, Doug Stanhope, and Steve McGrew. MacCraw, a former standup-comedian who evolved into a comedy hypnotist, moved his family to Florida and sold Jokers Comedy Club.
At the Omaha Funnybone, Gilbride worked with some of the best nationally touring stand-up comedians, including Jimmy Pardo, Dom Irrera, Nick Griffin, Emo Phillips, and Bob Saget. All appreciated his performances. Saget especially enjoyed Gilbride's style and was compelled to write jokes for his act.
In 2005, Gilbride was chosen to showcase for the Aspen and Las Vegas Comedy Festivals. Despite a stellar set, he did not perform in either festival. He continued to emcee regularly at the Omaha Funnybone, where he polished material and continued structuring a stream of conscious type set. Since he does not use segways, he has meticulously crafted a set where jokes flow logically from topic to topic.