It's been just a whirl of wind for Tennessee-based comedian Nate Bargatze. Following an appearance on Netflix's comedy series The Standups and a special of his own called The Tennessee Kid, Bargatze's touring on the reg and winning hearts with his pretentiousness-free Southern charm. The man's so funny, honestly, that we were willing to overlook how his show's in Albuquerque (a city we rarely cover) at the Kiva Auditorium (7 pm Saturday Feb. 15. $20-$49. 401 2nd Street, Albuquerque, 505-768-4575). But trust us, y'all—he's worth the drive.
(Alex De Vore)
In The Tennessee Kid, you mention how things changed in your career for you following your set on Netflix's The Standups. Is that still in full swing? Are you getting mobbed? Has it gotten better or worse or neither since the newer special?
It's funny to talk about it onstage. I do get recognized. It's not a problem—I can go everywhere. I get recognized where it's…it happens every week now, but sometimes, you can be thinking it's happening, but it's not. At all. It's embarrassing, but I'll get people who come up and get excited, and they'll take pictures, but once they leave I have to then explain who I am to 10 other people. People see it and they're like "What was that?!" And I have to go tell them. It's definitely changed everything. Before it was here and there, and it's now definitely more than it used to be.
How much of the polite, Southern hospitality thing is for-real ingrained from your upbringing, and how much, if at all, is a bit?
You try to make your onstage persona as close as you can to your offstage, that's the ultimate goal. I think it's real. I was raised up, you say 'Yes, ma'am, no ma'am.' You're polite to your elders, it's that kind of thing. I hope it's real, I think it's real. You try to be…whatever your thing is you want it to be, I'm sure it's magnified onstage. Everybody from the south…most everybody is actually good, actually, in every city you go to. I always like people being proud where they're from, I'm not saying you have to live there. But I like that.
There was a pilot in the works, and as someone who kind of misses the days when standups were regularly given sitcoms, that's exciting. Do you feel, like, Seinfeld pressure, or is it its own thing with its own identity?
It did not go, so now it's over. But that's fine. It was very fun, I was very excited to do it. It was just an unbelievable wild experience. But it's tough to get these shows on TV. I miss those days. The biggest shows of the past 30 years have been when standups have done these shows, and that's what we were trying to do. That's the good thing with standup, though, I can always do standup, it's my main thing that I love.
It's funny you say that, because I've always wondered about how there's so much pressure for standups to do these other things. Is your main thing—you want standup to be your main thing?
I wish I could do…to me all of it's to push standup. And now you're in a time where you can do standup, it's more popular than it's ever been. People are touring around, you've got Sebastian Maniscalco, you've got Brian Regan, you've got people who can be actual comedians. They're not even doing anything else, but it just feels like a new wave where people are seeking out standup, they don't need you to have a TV show as well. If we do another TV show, I'll try to do it, but you try to do it more where it works out in your schedule. You definitely look at it like it's not my main thing. I hope I can do it, it's very fun, it would be fun to be creative in a different way.
Tickets are through TicketMaster (sorry). Click here for some of those.