Clean comedian Nate Bargatze talks about the new “Hello World” Amazon special

Major national publications have been saying nice things about Nate Bargatze for some time now.

The Old Hickory, Tennessee comedian who saw his profile move from two Netflix specials (“The Tennessee Kid“in 2019 and nominated for the Grammy Awards”tallest average americanin 2021), has a well-established reputation these days — age-appropriate, relatable, and unafraid of its own shortcomings.

A natural draw for the Utah public, isn’t it?

It’s another big week for Bargatze, whose first comedy special for Amazon Prime drops January 31 on the streaming service. It’s called “Hello World” and was filmed in Phoenix at the end of his last tour, which included four shows at the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City.

He’s on the road in 2023 to play new material in “The Be Funny Tour” while hosting a weekly podcast titled “Netherlands.” He also directs and produces “clean” comedy specials for three other comics.

In a telephone conversation, we spoke with Bargatze about clean comedyhis reputation for cuteness, his popularity in Utah and what to expect from his new special.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity:

Desert News: Have you made a conscious decision to be clean?

Nate Bargatze: I did it. That’s how I grew up. I grew up in southern Christendom and (clean comedy is) all we could watch. That’s how we were.

I knew I would never be dirty. I have always been clean.

It was just always what I was going to do. Geez, when I moved to New York and a lot of comics were dirty, I would do a lot of midnight shows that sounded like “uncensored comedy.” Being pissed… was like this big thing. But I always knew I was going to do what I was going to do. I could never be dirty in front of my parents. Not that it’s the only thing stopping me. It would never happen.

DN: What do you think is different about your act?

NB: If you talk about yourself and your family, you will be unique in that you are yourself. So everyone is unique. If it’s all about an observational joke, they can be relatable and you’re the one noticing them. But it’s kind of like you’re in the situation, so people imagine you going through these observation things. If Starbucks mess up my order, everyone can figure it out because theirs is messed up too. …I’m just telling the story of me going through it, and that’s what makes it unique.

DN: Do you think The Atlantic’s description of your comedy as “nice” is an accurate description?

NB: Yeah, I hope so. I can sometimes make jokes where I feel like I’m being mean to a person – it’s not like they’re there – but… I don’t want to come out as pure anger. It’s just like, “Can you believe this guy? He ruins everything. »

I can tell when something seems too mean. I have to do a lot with my wife’s material. I want to be relatable, but I love my wife. There’s a line where you have to learn how to tell that story, or if I tell a story about it, you can tell there’s love there.

DN: At what point in your career did you realize you had been discovered by people in Utah?

NB: You’ve always heard that (Jim) Gaffigan and (Brian) Regan can go… You’ve heard, “If you’re clean, you’re doing really well in Salt Lake City. The first time I would go to them, I would go to Wiseguys Comedy Club. Keith (Stubbs) there, he would book you. Every time I’ve been there it’s like the next time it’s a little busier and then a little busier. And then it happened slowly.

In fact, I now have many close friends who live in Salt Lake City. And I often end up there. The Eccles was probably where you were like, “Oh, okay.” We did four shows there. When we did that, you were like, “Okay, I think I’m finally…” Because I wanted to. I had always heard of it. Hopefully all of these people will learn who you are. And especially with my comedy. You just know that would be a really good audience for me. This last trip to Eccles was important. I could definitely feel it. It was definitely building and building.

DN: Who do you think people should know about or? Who are the comedians who do good work?

NB: I’m doing three specials… Mike Vecchione, Greg Warren and Joe Zimmerman. It’s three guys, they’re going out with me on the road. They have been doing comedy for over 15 years.

Mike is someone who was not necessarily clean. He was always close enough to be clean. I was like, “Listen, if you can do a special by being clean, I’m ready to get behind it.” How awesome he is as a comedian.

You see Dry bar (comedy), there are a lot of great comics that are clean comics. But I have a lot of friends who were in New York, they’re just really amazing comedians. And some were basically clean, but have gimmicks (some edgy). And I’m like, ‘Look, if we can’t do this stuff, then I’d like to do this special.’ When I produce it and do it, if you like my comedy, it’s along those lines. It’s just giving an audience more choices. Especially from a comedian who really learned on the road and learned in New York and has the New York chops.

When I take these guys on the road, they’re not openers. They are headliners. But fortunately, I can play in very large halls. You can just tell when they destroy in front of the public. You’re like, “Man, they would fit perfectly.” And these are guys who can all work cleanly.

DN: It sounds like it’s really important for you to advance this kind of comedy. Why is this important to you?

NB: I just want people to watch comedy. It’s hard to watch stuff with your family. With my shows, when people go out, it’s all ages. These are grandmothers up to 9-year-old children. And it’s not like I’m trying to do comedy for any particular band – I don’t want to be just a children’s comic. I just want to do what I do. But I like the fact that it can appeal to so many people.

There just aren’t many things families can do together. And everyone wants. I’m bringing in a father with his teenage daughter. And he says, “There’s not much that we agree on for entertainment, except when they come to the show.” It just means a lot to me.

I love that a whole family can go there. We all went to see (Jerry) Seinfeld in 2000 – my whole family went to see that. And it was like a great experience that we all had. And I still remember it. And it’s a night where everyone starts laughing. And I know you don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.


DN: What’s different about this new special?

NB: You’re always changing as a comedian just because of age. I am very, very happy with this hour. I’m talking about growing up. I have a bit in there about growing up as a Christian. He talks about my family. This hour was very fun to tell and I had a lot of fun telling it. People laughed a lot. I enjoyed shooting with this hour, so I’m glad to have it on tape. And then we recorded it in the round, which I like, in Phoenix, so the whole time I’m on stage, you can see the audience. And I like that because it came from a pandemic where the audience wasn’t together. It was nice to be able to show the public that they were together. With all this, it’s a big problem for me. And where I’m at in my career, that’s where I’ve seen the most people come to shows and they know who I am.

And go to Amazon. Amazon is doing kind of a comedy push where they’re going to do a lot more stuff with stand-up. And to go out there and kind of be the face of that is a giant deal and I’m excited to be at Amazon.

DN: Who is the most famous person you have ever made laugh?

Tiger (Woods)…I don’t think I laughed. I think I bombarded him too much where he didn’t know how to laugh.

Joe Walsh of the Eagles. He saw me play, and then I played at his 70th birthday party. And you know who else was in the crowd? Tom Hanks was there. So this is it. They laughed and enjoyed the show. So that was a big problem. Ringo Starr was there too, but I didn’t really see him laugh. Then I do not know. Maybe I lost on Ringo.


Leave a Comment