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Clean Is Cool

Nate Bargatze's Wholesome Path To Success

Article by Joe West

Photography by Danielle Del Valle @ The Bobby Hotel/Makeup by Mercy Anderson

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

As Nate Bargatze prepares to embark on his most expansive year of comedy to date, he’s proving over-and-over that his style of wholesome comedy is without a doubt, cool and trending.

If you haven’t come across Nate this past calendar year, you’re certainly in the minority. He’s been making the rounds on late night television, clips from his performances are going viral on social media, he’s the host of his own podcast, ‘Nateland’, and has multiple stand-up comedy specials across streaming services. When he’s not entertaining arena-sized audiences, he’s also dabbling in acting.

Sure, there are a few other comedians with a similar resume, but it’s Nate’s brand that sets him apart from most others. Nate is known for his observational humor, storytelling and southern charm. What some may not have noticed is his comedy is not opinionated, it’s not political, and it's certainly not risqué.

“This is the comedy I want to do,” he says. “When you’re a clean comic, you don’t really want people to think about it. That’s the goal. I like when people don’t even realize I’m clean and I also like when people are there because I’m clean.”

Nate says his style wasn’t a conscious decision. “Luckily, I started this way,” he says. “It’s just how my brain works. I think sometimes clean comedy has a stigma and I don’t think it has to. I think you can make clean comedy cool.”

Raised in Old Hickory, Tennessee, Nate is one of the few touring comedians who appear to adhere to a strict clean brand of show despite the lewder approach to comedy by some of his peers. He doesn’t hold judgement against others, having partnered with many comedians with different styles.

“On the Nateland podcast I introduce a lot of other comics,” he says. “When they are with me, they are clean, even if they are not always clean outside my shows. I don’t make anyone do anything. This is just what I do.”

That doesn’t prevent him from wondering if he should be mimicking some of those styles.

“I remind myself that I don’t think that’s what I’m being called to do,” he says. "I'm called to be entertaining." Nate takes pride knowing his comedy can bring the whole family together and appeals to all. “I have a 10-year-old and there’s not a lot you can do with them anymore.”

He says it’s nice when the family can do something together and compares it to some of his own experiences growing up. “[Comedy] was such a big deal. Going with your family and a kid seeing their dad laugh really hard. I remember how great it is and how great it feels. You just want to recreate that for people.”

It’s working. Nate’s comedy and his career certainly have momentum, and he continues to churn out great material. His third hour-long stand-up special called ‘Hello World’ dropped on Amazon Prime earlier this year.

“I feel really good about this last special,” he says. “You never think you’re going to come up with something else. Every single time, [I question] how am I ever going to come up with something new. There’s nothing else to talk about, but you just have to trust you’re going to find something.” 

‘Hello World’ was taped in Phoenix, Arizona as an ‘in-the-round’ performance where the audience sits 360-degrees around the stage. “I love in-the-round,” he says. “I don’t move a lot and it makes you move and be a little more animated.”

Nate will be performing a similar show at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on April 15. This will be his largest show ever and will be in front of a home crowd. As the audiences continue to grow, connecting with fans can become even more challenging, especially in venues that have multiple seating tiers.

“I try to make it feel like I’m talking to each person individually,” he says. “But I’m hoping everyone is connecting with each other. You’re all laughing together, with the people next to you, and that’s the bond.”

Asked if there is additional pressure performing in front of a local crowd as opposed to other venues around the country. Nate replies, “Everybody’s here. It’s different in that sense. You’re doing the same act. Maybe I reference Nashville more being from here, but I want everything to be more perfect.

“It’s home. I remember handing out flyers in New York on the sidewalks to get five minutes of stage time at the end of the night at one o’clock in the morning in front of four people.  As I’m out there in the freezing cold in New York, I remember thinking if I could get to Bridgestone it would be crazy, but you don’t really think you can get there.”

Nate won’t find himself in the position of having to hand out flyers for his shows any time soon. His tour last year was his largest ever and 2023 sets up to be even bigger. He’s fully booked coast-to-coast until June and then will begin his first European tour later this year. Catch his new special ‘Hello World’ on Amazon Prime or download a new Nateland episode every Wednesday. NateBargatze.com

1 - "I think sometimes clean comedy has a stigma and I don’t think it has to. I think you can make clean comedy cool.”

2 - “I try to make it feel like I’m talking to each person individually. But I’m hoping everyone is connecting with each other. You’re all laughing together, with the people next to you, and that’s the bond.”

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