Comedian Nate Bargatze

From Nashville to Hollywood and Back Again

Nate Bargatze comes to us live, fresh from two big events. First, an appearance on James Corden alongside Jamie Lee Curtis. Second, a special engagement, career day at his daughter’s school. You might have missed buying tickets to his sold-out Bridgestone Arena tour stop on April 15, 2023, but you can catch him on Amazon with his latest show, Hello World, or right here, talking to Brentwood Lifestyle about his plans, his craft, and his family. 

BL: Thanks, Nate, for taking the time to speak with Brentwood Lifestyle Magazine. You grew up in Nashville. What made you decide to live here?

NB: Yes, I'm from old Hickory. In 2003, I had a buddy who wanted to go to Second City [an improvisational theater troupe based in Chicago], and back then I was reading water meters in Mount Juliet. So I went, first to Chicago, and then to New York, and then to LA. I've been back for about seven years. I started touring a lot, and it’s easier to tour out of Nashville. I can go to LA easily when needed. 

BL: How do you incorporate being Nashville-based into your act when touring takes you to other places?

NB: I’ve always just done my act, that’s been the simplest way, and then you either see if the audience is going to come along or if they're not. People take jokes differently. In my first Amazon special, Hello World, I talk about being brought up Christian and not being allowed to watch certain movies. In the south, people get that part in a very relatable way because that's how a lot of them grew up. In other places, they kinda laugh at it instead of with it. It’s really about being authentically yourself. It’s the easiest approach to write and no one can take it away, because it’s essentially you. No one has your unique point of view, your essence, and the way you tell them is what makes the jokes work.

BL: Do you prepare differently for your European tour compared to your American tour? 

NB: Not really. You can overthink what people are going to get and what they aren’t. Audiences are smart, so they’re gonna get it. I am nervous though! It's one thing to bomb at home. It's another thing to take it worldwide. 

BL: What does creating comedy look like? 

NB: It’s 24 hours for me. Right now I'm building a new hour-long show, so I’m always observing. I think about it all day. Seinfeld said it’s like you’re watching yourself in situations, almost like you have a third eye that can look out for any ideas. [Once I have the ideas] I think about the order, and how I can get from one joke into another joke. Before a show I’ll write a set list so I can keep track of where I’m going, where are the new jokes and where it all fits in.  It doesn’t turn off. I’d love for it to turn off, but it doesn’t. 

BL: Do you ever have to course-correct in the middle of an act? 

NB: Yes, comedians refer to it as a crowd feeling “tight” sometimes it's hard to get your rhythm because you end up telling your jokes faster, maybe they aren’t laughing as long, so you either have to speed it up or maybe you shorten jokes. You're just kind of in the moment figuring it out. Sometimes it’s me asking "why does it feel weird in here?" -  and that can save a show. 

BL: How do in-person hecklers differ from Internet hecklers?

NB: Heckling in live shows does not happen as often as you might think, usually, everyone is watching the show. As for online, I try not to look at comments but it's very hard not to, and I have spurts where I won’t read anything and spurts where I’ll get in a spiral. Sometimes I look at criticism to see if there’s truth to any of it, and if there is, I try to answer that and better [my]self.  If someone says something that I think I want to respond to, the rule is to give it 24 hours, but you really never want to respond. 


BL: Your comedy is family-friendly. Do you have any aspirations to have your own sitcom? 

NB: I've tried. I've actually sold a bunch of shows that haven’t been made. We even shot one pilot. Stand-up is what I do, so a sitcom would be like the cherry on top. I want to make an Everybody Loves Raymond or King of Queens or Seinfeld. I grew up on that stuff. Multi-cam shows with a live audience, like Night Court, are doing well right now, which could help. 

BL: Tell readers about The Nateland Podcast you host with Aaron Webber, Brian Bates, and Dusty Slay. 

NB: It started because of the pandemic, and I was not touring and so I did not want to lose being funny. It's like a muscle. If you're not being funny, you can get really sad, and then mentally you're not in the right space. You can’t watch too much news or be overwhelmed, otherwise, your brain can be very negative. We started the podcast to avoid that, and it’s going really really great. Because it’s clean comedy, many families listen together on long drives, and I like providing that.  We’ve met some of the kids who listen and that means a lot. It surprised me, that I like doing it so much.

BL: With all the traveling required in stand-up, how do you manage family time with your wife and daughter?  

NB: I do a lot on weekends, so we have a bus, and the bus pulls up to the house and we load up. We plan more local trips where they can pop in.  They're busy, too. I am gone a lot, and so when I'm home, I'm at home the whole time.  My wife and daughter are going to Europe with me.  It’s all about balance. I actually just got home from Career Day. 


BL: Thank you so much for your time, Nate, and best of luck on your sold-out Bridgestone Arena event and the rest of your tour! 

Find tour dates and follow Nate’s adventures here: 

Website: natebargatze.com
Instagram: @natebargatze     
Twitter: @natebargatze

It’s really about being authentically yourself. It’s the easiest approach to write and no one can take it away, because it’s essentially you. No one has your unique point of view, your essence, and the way you tell them is what makes the jokes work.

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