Nate Bargatze’s first comedy special is coming to Comedy Central and the network is calling it magic. “Nate Bargatze: Full Time Magic” premieres on Saturday, May 2nd at 12am et. The new one hour of comedy was filmed in front of a live sold out audience at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City. The title of the special as well as Nate’s comedy is influenced by his father, a former clown turned world class magician. That’s also what inspired his debut comedy album “Yelled at by a Clown” which reached number one on the iTunes comedy charts.
Amy Hawthorne talked with Nate about his special, living in New York vs LA and how his family feels about his comedy.
The IBang: What is it that makes you feel more like a New Yorker?
Nate Bargatze: I like that it’s not all about the business, it’s just about running around trying to come up with new jokes. You get to the point where you ask comics [in LA], “What are you doing?” and they answer, “Well, I’m working on this pilot” or “I’ve got this script” but in New York it’s just, “I’ve got this one new joke that I’ve almost got worked out.” They’re just about the material. I loved the simplicity of that, just pure writing jokes. And I miss just all seeing each other, it helps you keep tight and think in jokes if you’re all sitting around talking, just trying to say the funniest thing constantly. You’re just always trying to be funny either onstage or in conversation with other comedians.
The IBang: You’re someone other comics consistently say “You have to see Bargatze,” do you ever worry you’ll end up pigeonholed as a “comic’s comic”?
Nate Bargatze: I don’t know if I’ve thought that far ahead. You want respect from your peers, so you hope people say that. But you can tell when you go onstage if people aren’t getting it. I try to be conscious of that and change it up. Like if I’m doing all jokes about being married, time to write something else. When my daughter was born I wrote a bunch of jokes about having a baby but then I made myself write about something else. I never wanna be just one thing. That’s something that you strive for, to be someone other comics tell people to check out. But you also just wanna do good on stage.
The IBang: You do tour so much, you probably get a good crosssampling.
Nate Bargatze: That’s the good thing about the road you get an hour and you aren’t around comics and you’re out of New York or LA. You don’t wanna go up and just do subway jokes. You do have to go experience other things, get out and do things that everybody does.
The IBang: Well, you’ve got a family, which is something everybody does, but seemingly less among comics. How do you fit that in your life and do you worry about telling jokes about them?
Nate Bargatze: Y’know, my wife is a great sport and I’ll tell her stuff beforehand and if it’s working, that helps. If she’s sees the joke work and it gets a lot of laughs, you can just step back and say “Even though it’s about us, it’s not really, it’s about all of us.” It’s your life, I mean, any interaction you have with anybody can turn into a joke, you just try not to hurt people. I remember early on I was doing too much stuff hard on my wife, so there was a point where I worried people would be like, “Jesus, dude, why are you even married?” So, then I had to put myself into the situation to make me look worse so it balances it out. It’s not just “Take my wife, please!” I’ve learned that you can make fun of anything as long as you make it about yourself. So you aren’t just pointing out some guy and saying he’s a loser, I’ll be the loser and then you can laugh safely knowing you’re also a loser. You can laugh because “yeah, yeah, I do that too!”
The IBang: So, you already have an album out, did that make you nervous about having to top that with this special or did you feel more comfortable, like “Ok, I know how to do this”?
Nate Bargatze: Well, first there’s a couple of jokes from the album that are on the special and I want people to know that I know they’re on there, but it’s a different platform. And with the album, I had been doing comedy almost ten years and it was just time to do an album. Then this special a couple of years later, it was just time and worked out organically. It’s the next one I’m super nervous about. The one after this. When I perform the hour that’s about to air, the whole time I’m just thinking “How on earth are you going to come up with something else that works like this joke?” I’m not excited about that, I mean it is exciting, but I’m also not excited, y’know?
The IBang: Anything else you want to make sure people know?
Nate Bargatze: (sighs) Yes, I know my special is airing during the fight, but you can just switch back and forth during the commercials, take a little break and relax. And then I think they’re airing it backtoback at midnight and then at one, so after the fight’s over, you can just relax by watching the special and laughing.
Nate premiered his new special at the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival in Austin, Texas. For everyone else, “Nate Bargatze: Full Time Magic” will debut on Comedy Central on Saturday, May 2nd at 12am et.