Comedy: Q&A with Nate Bargatze

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From the May 10, 2012 edition

Nate Bargatze is a very funny comedian who also happens to be a really nice guy. Maybe it’s from his southern upbringing in Nashville, or maybe it’s because he got maced once. Whatever the case, Nate was kind enough to talk with me about his upcoming show, becoming a father soon and how New Yorkers apparently can tell the difference between mace and pepper spray.

Tell me about your upcoming CD.

I’m going to record my first CD right after the Columbus show. I think you’ll see a difference from some of my jokes in my “Comedy Central Presents” special. I would say they’re stories in a joke form. Some are getting a bit longer, coming together more as I get older.

Is Nashville different from New York City?

Actually there’s a joke that will be on the CD about me being maced in New York when I first moved here.

I come from the south, so I have this … that guy is being a jerk, I’m going to go sit him down and talk to him like I’m Andy Griffith. In New York this literally got me sprayed with mace.

When I got sprayed everybody asked if it was mace or pepper spray, which is weird. How would I know? What kind of life would I be living if I knew what the difference was? It was literally the only question I got. I don’t — it hurts, that’s what it was.

You seem to be very humble on stage. It that your personality?

I’m probably even quieter … that’s what my wife always tells me. People ask her if it’s the funniest thing ever to be married to a comedian. And she says, “It’s not even sort of like what you think. It’s miserable, and not as fun.”

If anyone ever thinks about marrying a comedian, probably don’t do it. Or talk to a comedian’s wife, I guarantee you it’s not what you think it’s going to be.

When I’m out with comics we’re all joking around. When you come home you don’t feel like you have to be on. But I should probably give my wife some joy in her life.

Do you find material in your home life?

I do. I added a couple jokes because I felt like I was going too hard on my wife. I’m writing all these jokes from a guy’s perspective of being married … so I wrote a few that make fun of myself for counterbalance and show that I’m the problem. She’s clearly not the problem.

We’re having a baby girl in July. We’ve been together a long time, so I think it’s good to get married, have a kid and just go through life with your audience.

Can you tell me what it’s like performing for the troops overseas?

When you perform, they’re always so appreciative of you coming over that you both just end up going, “No, thank you. No, no, thank you.”