Bright Lights, Big City, Children’s Book? Brother Nick Cutelli Says He Would Not Be Where He Is Today Without Lambda Chi Alpha
Like so many of us, Nick Cutelli entered college having no idea who he was or what he wanted to do with his life.
He took up psychology at Southeast Missouri State University. He thought maybe he would become a counselor or therapist. But the classes were boring, he said.
Then he rushed Lambda Chi Alpha.
By the second semester of his freshman year, his brothers had him writing and performing sketches for the chapter’s fundraisers. He produced a Greek Week sketch that won him several silly awards, he said.
So he switched his major to theater.
He had acted in high school, but had never taken it seriously.
“If it wasn’t for the fraternity, I have no idea what I would be doing,” Cutelli said. “If it weren’t for my fraternity brothers who pushed me to do it, who knows?”
Today, Cutelli lives in Los Angeles where he is an actor, comedian, news reporter, television host and writer. He just released his first children’s book, “The Tigers and the Exciting Inviting Meal.”
The book started out as an “adult scene” type of work, he said. But it didn’t pan out.
With their first child on the way — due this week actually — his wife suggested he try it as an actual children’s book.
“I thought it could be something fun to do,” Cutelli said. “I did it in the style of Second City musical improv, and it ended up being a pretty good story. So I thought, ‘Hell, I’m just going to go out and get me an illustrator.'”
He did, and together they self-published the book, which is part story, part activities.
“When you self-publish, you can reach the demographic you’re trying to hit,” he said.
He has experience with The Second City in Chicago. After he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, he did theater on the East Coast before moving back to Missouri to do some local theater in St. Louis.
Once he earned his Equity Card from the Actors’ Union, he headed up to Chicago to study at Second City, a famed improvisational comedy enterprise.
“I’d do those shows and write. It was a lot of fun,” Cutelli said.
But when he hit the roof there, he decided L.A. was the next step. So he packed up his things and moved across the country.
His dream is to create, write and produce a sitcom.
He admits he wouldn’t have been able to do any of that without networking, which is something he encourages all Lambda Chi’s to do, especially undergrads.
“When I was starting out in entertainment, I networked heavily,” Cutelli said. “My greatest piece of advice for undergrads is: If you want to work in a certain field, go out and find every single Lambda Chi in that field and ask for their advice.”
Older, more established brothers should be willing to network too, he said.
“Once you graduate, don’t think, ‘Oh, I’m done. Party is over,'” he advised. “When you get to a point in your career where you’re a VP or whatever, be open to helping that next generation of Lambda Chi Alpha’s.”
“Sure, you’ve graduated from your group of guys,” he continued. “But now you’re involved in the global chapter.”
He owes everything to the fraternity, he said.
“Being in a fraternity that accepts all different types of guys from all different backgrounds is one thing that really helped me,” Cutelli said. “They supported me. I never really felt like I was facing anything alone. In reality, if it wasn’t for Lambda Chi Alpha, I would have never majored in theater. I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
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