Hailing from Tennessee, comedian Nate Bargatze has steadily built a huge following of fans over the last several years. Initially gaining national attention through his set on “Comedy Central Presents,” Bargatze further boosted his popularity by appearing on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” many times.
After joining Fallon’s “Clean Cut Comedy Tour” in 2013, he released his debut comedy album, “Yelled at by a Clown,” in 2014, and followed that up with 2015’s “Full Time Magic.” Today, he is perhaps most well known for his half-hour routine on Netflix’s six-part series “The Standups” and his hour-long Netflix special, “The Tennessee Kid.”
Next week, Bargatze will perform on a regional stage during his “Good Problem to Have Tour,” with a show scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
I recently caught up with Bargatze to discuss his life in comedy, and to see what fans can expect from his upcoming show:
NS: How excited are you to be starting up this new tour?
Bargatze: I am very excited. I was off for like a month, and you start getting antsy and you’re like, ‘Alright, I gotta do something.’ So, luckily this started up, and then I start feeling like, ‘Okay, I’m working and I’m moving forward.’ So I am thrilled to be on this tour.
NS: How do you use your time between tours? Is that just time spent with family, or are you working on new material for the next tour?
Bargatze: It’s downtime, but even with the downtime you are still kind of looking for new material. You try to go do some stuff with your family, but you are always observing in case there is something funny to add to your show.
NS: How has your audience evolved through the years as you have become more well known as a comedian?
Bargatze: They know who you are, which is different. Before, when you first start doing this, it is kind of like you are just trying to win everybody over. Then it switches to them knowing who you are, so you are trying to meet these expectations that they might have.
But my audiences that have been coming out, the ones that I’ve met, everybody has been super nice. It has kind of been all over the map — I’ve had a lot of people bring their kids, or people around my age bringing their parents or their grandparents. I always think that’s kind of fun, because everybody is looking to do something with their whole family, and it is hard to find that. So, that is always very cool and I love seeing it.
NS: Why have you made the decision to keep your act so clean?
Bargatze: I just started that way and that’s just how it has always gone. When you start that way, you just tend to think that way; that’s just kind of what pops in your head. Other stuff, not saying I ever would or wouldn’t — I don’t know — but a joke would just have to be good enough. It is just what pops in my head. That is what comes in, and that’s what I tend to write down.
Now I like being clean because there aren’t as many clean comedians as there once was, so it helps you stand out a little bit. It makes your act different and makes you talk about different things. So, I think it’s a benefit.
NS: How do you like to describe your style of comedy?
Bargatze: I always say that I like to tell stories in a joke format. That is something I made up, and nobody ever really agrees — it’s just something I like to say (laughs). Most people are like, ‘That doesn’t really make sense,’ and it probably doesn’t.
I just tell a lot of stories and I talk about my life, and just stuff that happens to me.