LOS ANGELES - Nick Swardson swung open the door of his trailer, roughly the size of two portable toilets. He was shirtless with purple sweatpants, a necklace celebrating Minnesota swinging from his neck and his hair mussed up from the power nap he just took on his prison-style bed.

"Wassup, dude."

It's the kind of slacker greeting one expects from the Minneapolis native, who got his start doing open mike at Acme Comedy Co. and has, apparently, slouched his way into the mainstream, first as a flamboyant stooge on "Reno 911!" and numerous Adam Sandler movies, and now in his own series, "Nick Swardson's Pretend Time," a censor-teasing sketch show in which the star leads a sexual-harassment seminar for the staff at a donkey sex show, pelts an obese man's naked bottom with oranges and munches coca leaves in the jungle.

But Swardson didn't just belch his way to the top.

Running your own show isn't child's play, which Swardson proved after slipping on a Vikings sweatshirt and Vikings slippers and heading to the set, where everyone -- costume designers, producers, makeup artists, actors -- wanted a piece of his time.

"It's a lot harder than I thought it was going to be," said Swardson, who turned 34 on Saturday. "I'm probably in 98 percent of the sketches, and each one requires a different voice, a different mustache. It's intense."

Critics probably won't have a lot of sympathy for a guy who called his last standup special "Seriously, Who Farted?" He and his mentor, Sandler, specialize in scatalogical, silly humor that's not likely to be lauded by the Peabody Awards committee. But Swardson, an astute student of such comedians as Charlie Chaplin and Woody Allen, dares anyone to think his approach is ridiculously easy.

"There are people that will slough off my comedy as stupid, sophomoric and idiotic, but I'm not an idiot," he said. "There's really a method to the madness. You just can't have a cat that has diarrhea. There has to be a joke there. You know, people called 'You Don't Mess With the Zohan' the dumbest movie ever made, but Sandler made a Middle Eastern comedy that's insane. That's amazing."

Swardson, who appeared in "Zohan" as well as "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" and "Bedtime Stories," has also been a Sandler favorite behind the scenes, guiding him through writing, editing and producing.

"I honestly don't think it was calculated," Swardson said. "I think it just evolved from Sandler thinking, 'Oh, this guy is funny,' to me rewriting 'Grandma's Boy' and then co-writing 'The Benchwarmers.' He's just thrown everything at me, but in increments."

Their next two collaborations are major steps in their relationship. In April, Swardson will play the leading man for the first time. The film, "Born to Be a Star," about the Midwestern son of two porn performers, was co-written by Sandler and Swardson. The two are currently shooting a romantic comedy with Al Pacino.

Swardson hasn't completely abandoned his standup act. He'll perform in Minneapolis Nov. 20 as part of Vince Vaughn's traveling show. He plans to stick around to watch that weekend's game between his beloved Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. But he may be the guest of an unexpected new friend.

He recently befriended Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

"I know, I know. It's like having a beer with Darth Vader," he said. "But he turns out to be a terrific guy."

Now that's outrageous.

njustin@startribune.com • 612-673-7431 • Follow Justin on Twitter: @nealjustin