Analyzing a comedy script: Nate Bargatze - “Full Time Magic”

Analyzing Nate Bargatze’s “Full Time Magic”

Nate Bargatze has become one of my favorite comedians in the past few years– mostly because he is so conversational in his delivery, it is hard to find his jokes. We have looked at his work on Episode 29 of Kaizen Komedy – here is an excerpt of his bio:

Bargatze is a comic’s comic, even referred to as “Someone who should be big” by Marc Maron in a Rolling Stone article. He has had multiple appearances on Late Night television and even won the Boston Comedy Festival and the New York Comedy Festival in the same year.

I wanted to analyze the transcript of his album, “Full Time Magic”, to find the magic behind his craft.

Like most stand-up albums, he starts the show by graciously thanking everyone and immediately goes into his first joke:

I'm married and stuff.

This is what marriage

feels like, by the way--

what it feels like in here

right now.

It's just one person talking,

and the other's like,

"I'm gonna get out of here

This is a perfect introduction for his set for what is to expect. The album is mostly biographical – bits about his marriage, wife, and daughter. This first joke has a great analogy, with his unique conversational style that helps set the precedent to his hour.

Below is the transcript for “Full Time Magic” –

Nate Bargatze: Full Time Magic

Thank you.

Wow.

Wow.

So--thank you.

Thank you.

Very kind.

All right, all right.

It's, uh, you know...

I'll be honest with you.

I don't think the show's

gonna be as good as that.

Like, I think I will

let you guys down.

Thank you guys so much.

That was unbelievable.

You guys are great.

And, it's just,

you know, we've--

I feel like we've peaked,

so let's just get...

doing it, something?

All right.

I'm very excited to be here.

1

My name's Nate.

I'm married and stuff.

This is what marriage

feels like, by the way--

what it feels like in here

right now.

It's just one person talking,

and the other's like,

"I'm gonna get out of here."

It's...

That's...

2

We--I'm from Nashville,

and me and my wife,

we were in Nashville

last summer,

and we went out on the lake

with some of our friends.

And we were, like,

floating around in the water,

and there was a guy in a boat,

like, right next to us,

and my wife was like,

"Oh, that's my ex-boyfriend

in that boat."

Now,

I didn't know who he was,

so she didn't have to say that

at all, you know?

She was just basically like,

"Are you having fun?

'Cause I'd like

to put a stop to that."

"And make you stare at this guy

the rest of the day."

So I'm, like, staring at him,

and then I look at my wife,

and she's staring at him,

and I feel like

she's staring at him

to see what her life would

be like if she didn't marry me.

So I started staring at him,

'cause I'm like,

"I want to see

what my life would be like

if I didn't marry her,"

you know?

And we were putting--

we were putting

so much pressure on this guy.

And...

we--we stared at him

for a while.

He did nothing exciting at all,

and, uh, you know,

we looked back at each other

and just realized,

"You know what?

We don't have a boat.

That's the only difference."

My friends--

my friends were like,

"You should've went

and tried to fight him.

Why didn't you go fight him?"

And I was like,

"Well, I would've had

to swim over to that fight."

"So I don't know

how intimidating that is,

for a guy to see a head and a

life jacket floating his way."

And then I got to get

in the boat, you know?

Like, have you ever tried

to climb into a boat from water?

It's not aggressive.

It takes an hour

if no one is in the boat.

Like, if he's in there,

I'm never gonna get in.

I would need his help.

I'd be like, "Could you

help me into this boat?

I can't tell you why,

but I really need in this boat."

3

We have a daughter now,

and so it's getting--

you know, 2-year-old daughter--

it's getting pretty serious

between me and my wife now.

And it's--

I don't know.

I was living in New York

when my daughter was to be born.

She was not born here, though.

We flew home.

She was born in Tennessee.

I didn't want her to be born

in New York.

You know, I don't need her

growing up

thinking she's better than me.

Yeah, yeah.

I was like, "You start

where we start, all right?

No one gets a leg up

in this family."

It's our first kid.

I don't know if we had a kid

too late in life.

Sometimes I wonder, like,

you know, I'm 35.

I was 33 when she was born,

and, like--

'Cause you ever ask someone

that has kids,

you're like, "When's

the best time of your life?"

They will say

before they have kids

or after their kids move out.

There's, like,

20 years they don't mention,

and that's when kids

were in their house.

So by the time my daughter

moves out, I'll be 53.

I'll be dead within hours.

So I've just pushed it

too far, you know?

Like, I should've

done it earlier.

Like, I watched that show

Teen Mom,

and I was like, "Man,

those girls are nailing it.

Like, that's what"--

Just get it over with,

you know?

No one likes junior high

or high school anyway,

so just throw a kid in the mix.

Wrap it all up.

If I had my daughter at 13,

she'd be moved out right now.

Right now,

she'd already be gone.

I will be excited, like--

I'll be excited when she goes--

like, when she goes to school,

like, to do homework

with her and stuff, you know?

'Cause it's like bonding,

and it's not gonna hurt for me

to do one more run-through.

Just one more pass.

None of it stuck for me.

4

I went to community college

for one year.

Do--yeah.

A couple of us?

Just me and this guy.

That's--did you go for longer

than a year?

Or one year too?

Or did you go to real college?

Couple years.

Oh, all right.

Valedictorian over here,

jeez.

Just...

I-I made it one.

And what's even more

embarrassing--

that I do not have a credit.

Literally, I do not have--

I have zero credits.

Do you have credits?

You got credits,

like, all of 'em?

Did you graduate

community college?

You think you're better than me?

No, just--

I just started to attack.

He's like, "I don't know."

It's easy, I think, to graduate.

Like, I--you know--

My loan was $40.

I just paid cash.

That's all.

I was like, "This is good."

He was like,

"That's more than enough."

5

I was all remedial classes,

which, remedial,

you know, it's like,

they just--they don't count.

None of 'em count,

so all my classes were outside.

Every one was outside.

We wouldn't even meet

inside the building.

We would just meet

at a picnic table outside,

'cause our teacher was like,

"Well, you guys

will all be working outside."

"We're gonna teach you

about weather, you know,

"and, like, we're gonna

teach you about morning dew,

"how to get your socks wet.

"You're gonna be getting up

pretty early

"the rest of your life.

"I hope you guys like sunrises,

because you're gonna see

a lot of 'em."

That's what remedial classes

are for.

They're a heads-up that

you're gonna do manual labor.

The assignments--

our teacher'd be like,

"All right,

so today's assignment is,

we're gonna help me move,

so..."

It's--

I'm, like—

6

I'm pretty dumb.

I'm--like, you know,

I tell people I'm dumb.

I'm like, "Hey, I'm dumb."

And--but no one goes,

like, "Okay."

They're just always like,

"I bet you're not dumb."

And you're like, "Well, I'm

trying to help you out here.

"Uh, we're about

to have a conversation,

so I'm just trying

to give you a heads-up."

Here's a story--

I can prove it--

if I need to--

like I got to prove it.

Like, everybody's like,

"Now, we--yeah, you know.

We don't need proof."

Here's my proof,

is, when I was 15,

my first job was, in Nashville,

was at Opryland theme park.

We used to have

an amusement park,

and I was working,

and I'm sitting eating lunch,

and this couple sits down,

and we start talking and stuff.

I was like, "I'm Nate."

And the guy's like,

"I'm John.

This is my wife, Jane,"

and they--

their last name was Doe.

So it was John and Jane Doe.

And I was just like,

"That's the craziest thing."

Like, what are the odds

of that, you know?

Like, that's so crazy.

Couldn't believe it.

Cut to earlier this year.

I'm 35, I'm driving,

and I'm thinking

about John and Jane Doe.

And, you know,

I was like,

"I bet they were lying

to me about that."

That's how long it took--

20 years--

for me to catch on to a joke

they wouldn't remember saying.

I don't think

they would remember it.

They'd be like,

"Maybe we did that."

Well, it worked.

It worked so good.

I tried to--

I tried to Google 'em,

'cause I was, like, "Maybe

they're not lying," you know?

"I'll find 'em

and go talk to 'em."

But I am sad to report

they were murdered.

Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, it's not good.

Yep.

It's--

Like, I think of it like—

7

like time traveling.

Like, if I could go back

in time--

like, if I could go

back in time tonight

and go back to, like,

the '20s,

knowing everything

I know right now,

I don't think

I would make a difference.

I don't think you guys

would even hear about it.

I don't think you would.

I just don't--like, 'cause

I don't have anything to get--

You know, like I would go back,

and I would see, like,

some guy on a old phone,

and I would be like,

"Hey, eventually

they have phones

you, like, carry

in your pocket."

And they're like, "Yeah?"

It's like, "How do they do it?"

I'm like, "Phew, I mean,

I don't know how they do it."

"Oh.

I think it's a satellite?

I think--a satellite?"

They're like,

"What's a satellite?"

"Oh, I shouldn't have

even said that, uh..."

"It's like metal--

"Metal's got to go

pretty high in the air.

I don't know

if you guys are doing"--

I don't even know if I could

prove I'm from the future.

I don't even think I could.

I think I would just get stuck,

'cause they would want

something.

Like,

"Who's the next president?"

"Oh, boy.

Uh...

"Ooh--

Abraham Lincoln.

You guys are gonna love him.

He's really good."

They'd just think

I'm from the past.

That's--they were like--

It would just look--

And then I'd have to get

a regular job.

I would just have to, like,

wait tables or something

in the '20s.

I would go back in time

and do worse

than I'm doing right now.

I went and visited

my parents recently.

My parents have a real,

real, real fat cat.

It's real fat.

People point it out,

you know?

They walk in; they're like,

"Man, that cat's fat."

And it feels rude, you know,

like, "He doesn't speak English,

but we do,

so maybe don't say that."

And they're just--

you know, they're like,

"What are y'all feeding

this cat?"

You're like,

"Whatever you feed a cat, dude.

"Like normal cat food stuff.

We pour a bowl.

Like, if he eats eight birds

outside, he doesn't tell us."

You know, he's not like, "Oh,

I ate out tonight. I'm good."

And then they're like, "Well,

y'all should do something."

You're like, "What do you think

we're not doing?

"Do you think he has

a gym membership

and we don't drive him

to the gym?"

He's a cat.

That's his gym membership,

is, he's a cat.

I watched him jump

from the ground

on top of the refrigerator.

That's like if I jumped on top

of a school bus from the ground.

Like, if I--if I did that,

you're not gonna be like,

"Well, you still could lose

a little bit, you know."

Just keep doing

what you're doing.

I got to get in shape.

Not this shape.

This is not a good shape.

Something--I got to get--

really.

I thought--I was like,

"Oh, I'm doing an hour special.

That'll motivate me."

And here we are.

I tell people

I got to get back in shape.

I've never been in shape,

you know?

Like, most people are like,

"If I could go back to my 20s."

I would have to go back to 7.

If I could get back

to when I was 7,

I was just killing it.

I don't know how to work out.

For me,

a good workout would be--

walking to McDonald's

would be a great start.

You know,

maybe stand up and eat it.

See if that does something.

I ordered the P90X videos.

I thought I could do that.

Never worked out

a day in my life,

so let's do

what the Navy SEALs do.

You know why I ordered it?

'Cause in the commercial--

you know how they have, like,

a before body and after body?

In the--I was blown away

by the before body.

I thought that's

what you get to look like.

I was like,

"That guy looks great."

You know, "I would love

to look like him."

Then I saw the after body,

and I was like,

"Does the before body guy

have a DVD?

"'Cause that guy seems

more my speed, you know.

What did he do to get to that?

And I'll just do that."

Someone gave me an Under Armour

shirt to wear.

Have you ever wore

one of those?

It's, like, skintight.

It just shows the worst parts

of your body.

I look better without a shirt on

than with that shirt on.

You know in plastic surgery

how they draw markers on you?

They should just put you

in that shirt and be like,

"Obviously, you can see

what we're gonna go after."

I'm lazy.

I can tell, like,

watching sports--

I was watching a football game,

and I'm sitting on my couch,

and I was gonna get something to

drink out of the refrigerator.

Right when I get up,

one guy--

one team kicked off

to the other team.

And before I could get back,

the guy ran a 100-yard kickoff

return, and I missed it.

The guy ran 100 yards

before I could get

3 to maybe 4 yards.

That guy also had 11 people

really trying not to let him

run 100 yards.

I had--I didn't even have

an ottoman in my way.

It was wide open.

I played sports growing up,

though.

I played baseball,

and one time when I was playing,

I'm up to bat;

I get walked.

So I go,

I take my base,

I get to first base,

I turn, and I look.

The catcher was still

holding the ball.

And, like, he wasn't--

you know,

he was staring at me, almost

like he's daring me to run,

like, "Why don't you see

if you can go?

I don't think you can go."

And I was like,

"I'm gonna go, all right?"

So I run to second.

He throws it to second,

overthrows second base,

goes in the outfield.

I run to third base.

They overthrow third base,

so my coach is, like, losing it,

like, telling me to go home.

Like, this is about to be

an inside-the-park home run

off a walk.

I'm about to be

On SportsCenter,you know?

Like, this is the biggest thing

that's ever happened in sports.

So I go.

I slide.

There's a play at the plate,

and then the umpire goes,

"It was only ball three."

So I have to now get up.

I'm dirty,

for no reason, apparently.

I'm out of breath.

I got to pick my bat up,

exactly where I left it.

It's now three balls,

two strikes.

Next pitch,

immediately strike out.

Immediately strike out.

The umpire goes,

"Now you can go.

Yeah, you're fine."

I did learn something, though,

that day.

What I did learn was that

if you're confident, you can get

away with quite a bit, you know?

'Cause why didn't anybody

stop me?

No one stopped me.

No one--they knew I wasn't

supposed to be going.

But I was so confident

about it that

that's why the catcher

was holding the ball going,

"What? I don't--why's he--

Is he supposed

to be doing this?"

And then I run to second;

it's like,

"Well, no one's that much

of an idiot.

I guess I wasn't

paying any attention."

The ball goes in the outfield.

The outfield--

they're not looking.

They think it's a hit, you know,

for all they know.

And then I guess the umpire

at some point realizes it

and is just like--

well, it's easier for me

to get all the way back to him

to tell me.

At least let me feel

what it would feel like

to get an inside-the-park

home run off a walk.

I was thinking about, too,

like, all the parents

in the stands,

'cause, like, they can't hear

what's going on,

so they're just, like,

watching this,

and then I bat again.

Like, they're just like,

"I guess I don't

understand baseball.

"I thought I knew--

"It's just--baseball's changed

since I was a kid.

"Used to--you go around

like that, you're done.

"You don't have to get

back up there.

I don't like

these new rules."

I drink too, which isn't--

like, you know,

that doesn't help.

Me and that guy drink.

We have pretty big problems

and...

Just us two.

It's--

I don't know.

I've had signs

that I should quit drinking.

One was, I did a show.

It was three hours outside

of Phoenix, Arizona.

It was at a Indian casino,

which I don't know

if you're supposed to say.

I'm not--

I don't know.

It's--

I don't know.

It was like--I don't know

what you're supposed to say.

It was a casino.

There was, like,

a crazy amount of Indians there,

and...so I--

I go.

I drive this three-hour drive

to the middle of nowhere.

I get there.

I do the show.

Then I was like,

"I'm gonna go to bed," you know?

Had to get up at 7:00 a.m.,

just be a normal person.

Then I'm meet

this cool Indian dude,

and we drink till 5:00 a.m.

So then I have to get up--

I sleep two hours, get up.

I'm walking outside

with my roller bag.

It's, like, 190 degrees.

I'm just questioning everything

I've ever done in my life.

I'm like,

"What are you doing, dude?"

And I look up,

and there's a wolf.

A real wolf,

just in front of my car,

just staring at me.

Like, and I'm just

looking at this wolf.

I'm like, "Why is this wolf"--

I'm, like, looking around

'cause I'm expecting, like,

some guy to be like,

"Sorry,

my wolf got loose and..."

But there's no guy.

It's just me and this wolf.

And he's just staring at me.

And I don't know

how to make a wolf leave.

You know, you're like,

"Get out of here, wolf."

Like, I don't know--what--

So I'm just staring,

and I'm, like, looking at him.

He's looking right at me.

I said, "Why is he not leaving?"

Then I just was like,

"Wait, is that that Indian dude

I was drinking with last night?"

Is he a wolf?

Is--

It wasn't him.

The wolf left.

The wolf did wander off.

And then I got in my car,

and I was driving back,

and this happened--

This doesn't seem real,

'cause it's back-to-back,

but I'm driving,

and then I get stopped

'cause a helicopter lands

in the middle of the road.

There's no one around

but me and then this helicopter,

and it picks up a guy

and then flies off.

Like, I should've video'd it,

'cause it's the craziest thing

I've ever seen.

But I'm, like, hungover,

so I'm acting like

it happens every day.

Like, I'm honking

at the helicopter, like,

"All right,

out of all days?

You couldn't have hovered

a second and let me get under?"

The other one I had

was, I got real drunk

and let locked myself

out of my hotel room

completely naked.

Yeah, I've done that in my

2-year-old daughter's lifetime.

So...

if she hears this and she's

like, "Oh, was that college?"

It's like, "No, that's when you

were the most dependent on me."

Here's what--look, I don't know

why I was sleeping naked.

You just sleep naked

when you're drunk.

I don't do it normal.

I think it's gross.

But that day, I was like,

"We should try that.

Let's see what that's about."

And then I remember,

I was like,

"I got to put the

'Do Not Disturb' sign on,"

so I walk and I open the door--

"Do Not Disturb" sign,

you can crack the door

and it would fit outside.

But acting like I was, like,

moving a couch outside,

and I was, like,

opening it with my body,

and then I step outside,

and I heard the door shut,

which was the most

sobering noise

I've ever heard

in my entire life.

I was like,

"This is not good at all."

You know, like,

you're way too far.

I'm holding this

"Do Not Disturb" sign,

which is pointless.

It's like I just walked out

to be, like,

a real "Do Not Disturb" sign,

just for the hallway.

I was like,

"Don't come down here.

We're not ready."

So I'm standing there,

and I'm like,

"All right,

what are you gonna do?"

You know, so I look,

and there's a window.

I was like,

"I could jump out of that.

That's easier than having

to explain this to my wife."

And then I looked to the left,

and there was a cleaning lady,

and she's just staring at me.

And the reason she's there

is because it's 11:00 a.m.

That's how far in the day it is.

And I'm, like, looking at her--

And, look, I don't have

a body that, like,

when she sees it, I'm like,

"You're welcome," you know?

It's like, "I'm sorry.

Look, I'm really--I don't know."

So I looked at her,

and she knew what I needed,

you know?

Like, we didn't really talk.

Like, I just

kind of looked at her like,

"Whew, you know, this happens--

happens to the best of us,

right?"

And she looked at me like,

"It does not--

it does not happen."

She just let me back in my room.

When I told my comic buddies,

they tried to make me

feel better.

They're like, "I wouldn't even

worry about it.

I bet she sees stuff

like that all the time."

And I was like,

"I bet I'm in her top three."

She might walk in

on people naked,

but no one ever

charges at her naked

and then needs her help,

you know?

Someone might

run by her and laugh.

No one goes up to her like,

"Look, you're the most important

person in my life right now,

"and I need you to be on board

with all of this, all right?

Don't ask questions."

I'll mix it up,

like, too, like,

'cause, you know,

when you're gonna lose weight,

you try to, like, go--

you ever do vodka-soda

when you want to lose weight?

Like, "I'll do vodka-soda,"

then you drink it like beer,

and you wake up in the street.

But you're like, "I'm not

bloated, and that's nice."

You know, that's--

It feels so good,

just that little--

you're finding any little thing.

It all does--

it leads to the eating--

like, I mean, look, I don't need

help eating bad at all.

I'll do it naturally.

And drinking just makes it--

the decision that much easier.

I have--

like, I do all chain stuff.

I like my restaurants

to be doing good

everywhere in the country.

I just want to go,

and wherever I go in the--

I've eaten McDonald's

in Dubai.

'Cause I'm like, "Well,

let's see what they're doing."

You know, like,

"What's their McDonald's like?"

It's a little different.

And Applebee's--

I'm a big fan of Applebee's.

You know, I really just--

whatever--

If I eat somewhere

that's not Applebee's,

I will only eat what Applebee's

would serve.

Like, if Applebee's

is not on board with it,

I'm not gonna be, you know?

I eat at Walmart.

You can eat there.

It's fine.

They're fine with it.

And...

Walmart's great.

They're always open.

No one likes--

you know, no one likes Walmart,

but they're always open.

That's why they're great.

There was a fire at a Walmart,

and they did not shut down.

They remained open

during the fire.

Like, some people didn't even

know there was a fire.

Other people thought

they were just selling fire.

Like, that's--

that's not that crazy

of a thing.

I'm a Walmart guy.

I think I'm in the middle,

you know.

I'm not Kmart,

but I'm not Target, you know?

I don't--I'm not old money.

I don't think I'm better

than everybody.

Just right in the middle.

You ever go to Kmart?

Like, Kmart doesn't even

look open when you go in there.

You just walk in, you're like,

"Are you guys about to close?

Are you getting looted

or something?"

They're like,

"No, we're open."

"Are you?

"Are you gonna cut the lights on

on that side of the store?"

"Maybe get some stuff,

you know?"

Kmart looks like

where you go buy stuff

if you were about to open

a new Kmart.

If you--if you needed

shelves for your Kmart,

you're going there

and be like,

"This is--this is good.

I think we're gonna

do it right here."

I lived here for eight years,

and I love New York.

I love the driving.

That's what's, like--

See, I think we should all

learn how to drive in Manhattan.

'Cause it's great.

Everybody honks at everybody.

Just screaming, yelling.

That's how it should be.

Growing up in the South,

no one honks ever.

People just sit at lights,

and they're like,

"If you don't want to go,

I totally understand.

"I'm probably not gonna go

when I get up there, so...

"let's just wait it out,

you know?

Let's let traffic die down,

and we'll get home tomorrow."

I once had to take my car

to get it fixed,

and I go to, like,

this mechanic.

It was, like--it looked

like it was just, like,

this dude's house,

and I go inside, and there was,

like--there was a line.

There was, like,

people in there.

So we're sitting there--

they were taking forever,

and we're all getting, you know,

pretty upset about it.

Finally, one of the fellow

customers just starts yelling

at all the employees,

and I was like,

"This guy is great."

Like, I loved it.

Like, I would never do it, but I

like when other people do it.

So I was like, "Good for you.

Just keep yelling at them."

And he keeps yelling,

and then a mechanic comes over

and is like,

"You got to calm down.

You can't yell at us

like that."

And the guy keeps yelling.

I'm like, "This guy is great."

Like, he's getting stuff done.

You know, like,

nothing can happen.

Uh, I was wrong.

Because they fist-fought him.

They fist-fought him, and then

they just dragged him outside.

We just watched it.

Like, all of--

we just--we, like, moved up,

and we're like,

"That's crazy, right?"

And...

Just like, "I guess

that's what goes on here."

Like that's in

the employee handbook.

It's like, "What are you

gonna do if someone gets upset?

"Well, I'd like you to fight 'em

in front of the other customers

"so they get it

"and then drag him outside

"so people driving by

get it as well.

"You know what our motto is--

our motto is,

"'What did you say?

That's what I thought you said.

Keep your mouth shut.'"

Yeah.

You know, I tweeted about it

when it happened.

Like, afterwards,

I thought it was funny.

And they found me.

That's how crazy they were.

They found it on Twitter,

and they were like,

"Hey, could you follow us

so we can send you a message?"

I was like, "How about,

I got the message, all right?

"I got it.

I'll delete the tweet.

Don't worry about it."

They were crazy.

You just don't say--

I don't say anything,

you know, like, you know,

anything about stuff

that goes on.

You just let stuff happen.

I was flying recently,

and I was on my--

Now when you fly, you know

you can leave your phone

in airplane mode.

So I'm, like, sitting there.

We're about to take off.

I'm playing a game.

This lady leans over a guy

and was like, "Hey,

you got to cut your phone off."

And I was like, "What?"

And she goes, "You got to cut

your phone off.

You can't have it on."

I was like, "You don't

have to do that anymore."

And she was like,

"You have to do it."

I go,

"You don't have to do it.

That's not the rules,

you know?"

And she was like, "Look,

I'm not a rule maker."

I was like, "Well, you're

acting like a rule maker,

'cause those are not the rules."

And she just--she goes,

"Cut it off, all right?"

And guess what.

I cut it off.

I cut it off,

and now I think about her

every day.

Every day,

I think about her.

I just want to find her again.

I really do.

If she ever sees this,

you are not right, all right?

I was completely right.

This is, I think,

the only way.

You were wrong about it all.

I travel a lot doing comedy,

which is great.

I've been to, like,

a bunch of different countries,

and I--like,

it's all wasted on me.

It would be better

for you guys to go than me.

I don't know where I'm at,

like, in the world,

like, when I'm there.

Like, I could be an hour

from my parents

or, like, five days.

I'm like, "I don't know.

It's somewhere, you know?"

I went to Bahrain,

and I told people

I went to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia,

like it was the city

of Saudi Arabia.

And they were like, "You know

Bahrain's its own country."

I was like, "Are they now?

Good for those guys, you know?

Yeah, that's good.

Good for them."

I went to Honduras.

I went there.

Pretty--I have a pretty decent

fan base there, and...

Yeah, this special's

gonna blow that place up once--

I mean, they're gonna be like,

"Wow, that's unbelievable."

A lot of fans,

and it's--

No, I'm joking.

It was--it was a USO tour,

so we go.

And I remember

I went to the airport,

and I, like, told the guy--

I was like, "Hey,

I'm going to Honduras."

And the guy was like,

"All right, like, what city?"

And I was like, "Well, I mean,

I'm just learning right now

that's not the name

of the city."

"Ugh.

"You know, where do you think

I would be going?

"Like, looking at me,

which plane do you want me

to get on?"

We land in Honduras,

and this guy picks us up.

He's driving us

to the army base,

and on the way there,

he was like, "Look.

There's a couple things

you got to keep an eye out for."

He's like,

"When you go to bed at night,

"you got to check your bed

for spiders.

Like,

spiders hide in your bed."

He's basically just like,

"You're not gonna sleep.

Hope that's cool."

And then he's like,

"There's a lot of snakes too,

"a lot of venomous snakes,

so keep an eye out for snakes.

"But if you do get bit

by a snake,

"the best thing to do is go

ahead and just catch the snake

"and then bring it with you

to the doctor.

"And you're just gonna be like,

'This is the snake

that bit me.'"

And I was like, "What?

"I'm not gonna do

that part of it.

"Like, you want me

to catch a snake, dude?

"I've never caught a snake

in my life.

"And you want me to get bit.

"Then I got to get it together

and catch a snake

for the first time?"

I was like,

"It's not gonna go good.

"He's gonna keep biting me.

That's all that's gonna happen."

And he was like,

"It doesn't matter.

You've already been bit."

And I was like, "What?

"Do you even know

what a snake is?

"Because it completely matters.

"There is a huge difference

between one bite

"and probably 30 bites,

"which is what we will be at

if I try to catch this snake.

"Like, who told you to say this,

the snake?

Is that who you asked?"

I don't believe in science,

you know?

That's just--

I don't understand it,

so it's easier

not to believe in it as a whole.

That gets you

out of a lot of arguments.

If you're just like,

"I don't believe in science,"

they're like, "All right,

do you need help or..."

Scientists

could be making stuff up.

That's a great job to have

if you want to make stuff up,

'cause no one--

no one can challenge you.

You know?

No one, like...

Nobody'll say anything.

Like, they don't even get

in trouble if they mess up.

Like, the Earth

was 2 billion years old.

Then they're like,

"Now it's 4 billion years old."

It's like,

"All right, like,

how many people got fired

after that?"

And they're like, "Nobody."

You're like, "Really?

Y'all just--nothing?

'Cause y'all were way off."

I read beetles

are 320 million years old.

It's like, "Are they?

"Or you just know that I don't

know how to figure that out?

'Cause you could be doing that,

you know?"

Like, I feel like that's

your first job as a scientist.

Like, when you go,

they would just probably do

the beetles thing.

They're just like,

"Go see how old beetles are."

Like when you're a new scientist

and then you're--

You know, you don't think--

the guys are just--

Those guys are, like,

back there, like,

"Just write--

write 320 million.

"Like, it doesn't matter.

Like, who's even gonna check,

you know?"

It's like,

"No one's gonna question us.

We can change it

at any point."

Pluto, you know,

Pluto's not a planet.

Or it might be a planet.

I don't know.

They change it

every five seconds.

The last I heard,

it's not,

and that's, like, crazy.

That's when I left science.

I was like, "I'm out."

Like, "You can't do that.

"You can't jam Pluto

down my throat my whole life,

"and then the second

I get out of school,

you're like, 'We were just

kidding about Pluto.'"

It affected me.

In elementary school,

I got a C minus on a test

because I forgot

to put Pluto,

and turns out,

I should've got above an A.

That's what I should've got.

Yeah.

I should've been asked

to teach the class.

I should've immediately

taught that class

and be like,

"Nate's apparently the best."

I never believed in Pluto,

you know?

I said, "It's too far."

That's what I told people.

I go, "You just--

you guys will see."

I watched a thing

on60 Minutesonce

about, like,

this guy with animals.

It was about buying tigers.

Like, you can buy--

Like,

if you guys want a tiger,

there's a guy you can go to,

and you can buy a tiger

if you want.

And I was like--see,

they did this

whole undercover reporting.

And they filmed, like,

where he keeps tigers.

And then, you know, they, like,

asked him afterwards.

They're like, "Hey,

do you think it's too easy

to buy a tiger in this country?"

And he was like,

"Yeah, yeah, sadly, it is."

And that was, like,

my favorite part, you know?

I was like,

"That's why America's the best."

I didn't even know

you could buy tigers.

I would've been embarrassed

to ask.

And then I watched this,

and I was like,

"I don't even have to jump

through hoops

if I want to buy a tiger."

It's not an all-day thing.

It's an hour.

I'll be right back

with our tiger.

And everybody wants

to get rid of guns, you know,

like guns are the problem,

but what makes me nervous is,

like, you take away

guns from people,

those are the exact same people

that will buy tigers.

That's gonna be a much bigger

problem, all right?

You're probably gonna be like,

"Look, here's your gun back."

They'll be like,

"No, I'm good.

"My tiger is way better

than my gun.

"My gun missed all the time.

"My tiger rarely misses.

"Even if he does miss,

"it's just for a second.

It's never long."

Like, if a guy dodges a tiger

and he's like,

"Your dumb tiger missed,"

it's like, "Well, he did not.

"He's right behind you now.

And he is furious,

so..."

You know that saying, like,

"Guns don't kill people;

people kill people"?

The new saying

will just be like,

"These tigers

are killing people."

I don't know.

It won't be a good saying.

It'll just be asking, like,

"Do you know where

your tiger's at by any chance?

"Do you have any idea?

You don't know?

That's--all right.

That's a big problem."

It's--

I love doing comedy, though.

It's great.

The show's almost over,

just so you guys know.

I like to let--

I like to let everybody know

where we're at.

We're about done.

I think it makes you feel better

when you're like,

"All right, thanks.

Thanks."

Like, how many movies you go to,

and then you're just like,

"Jeez,

this is taking forever."

And if a guy, like,

popped in the screen,

was like,

"It's about to wrap..."

Yeah.

It's...

I know. I know.

Two more seconds.

And you're like,

"Thanks, man.

That was, you know..."

I love doing comedy.

I was--there was a time

I was gonna quit.

I was gonna quit early on.

I tried.

Then there was no one

to quit to,

no one.

Here's why I do it,

or I think why.

My dad--my dad

is an entertainer as well.

He's a magician.

Still is a magician.

Started as a clown.

Just, you know,

I don't want to come off

like I come

from some rich magic family...

And I'm better than you guys.

You know,

he paid his dues,

his clown dues.

It's weird

when your dad's a clown.

It's weird every day.

It's--I never

trusted clowns, you know?

Like, have you ever

been yelled at by a clown?

I have.

Do you know how confusing

that is,

to get screamed at by a guy

that's got a smile

painted on his face?

You're like,

"Is this not the same clown

those kids are gonna see

outside?"

He was a clown

till I was about 12 and 13,

and that's about as long as

you want your dad to be a clown.

When you're six and seven,

there's perks, absolutely.

By the time you're 12 and 13,

kids at school are like,

"Is he still doing that?"

You're like,

"You know, off and on.

"All right, guys?

"Yeah, he's almost

full-time magic, so..."

I--like, it's funny, too,

when I tell people

that my dad was a clown.

People will just be like,

"Oh, I hate clowns."

It's like, "Hey, remember--

remember that time

I just said my dad was a clown?"

"I just said that.

You're just like,

'I hate your father.'"

Hanging out with comedians

is, like, some of the best,

the funnest time--

I don't know--

because comedians are crazy.

They can be.

Like, a good buddy of mine

is a comedian.

His name's Luis J. Gomez,

and...

Whoo!

Big fans.

A couple Luis J. Gomez fans.

Me and Luis once, we go

to McDonald's to go eat, right?

Like, I'm a big fan,

so, uh...

And everybody acts like,

when I go there,

they're like, "Haven't

been here in forever."

It's like, "Don't act like

I'm the one keeping 'em afloat.

All right? You know?

Someone's coming here."

So we go in.

We ordered our food,

and then we take our food,

and we sit down at our table.

And then Luis

went to the bathroom.

He left me alone

with his food.

So I was, "You know what?

I'm gonna play a prank on him."

So I grabbed his hamburger.

I unwrapped it.

I took a bite out of it.

Then I wrapped it back up.

I put it back down

on his tray.

So that's my big prank,

right?

Like, when he comes back

from the bathroom,

I'll be like, "Dude,

did they eat your burger

"before they gave it to you?

"That's crazy that they're

doing that, right?

Is that crazy?"

It's a stupid prank.

It's harmless.

It should never leave the table.

All that should happen is,

Luis should come back,

he should open his burger,

his first reaction should be

to look at his best friend,

who's sitting with him,

who also, by the way,

dabbles in comedy...

And just be like, "Hey, I just

wanted to run this by you,

"uh, before I unexpectedly

go freak out

on this entire McDonald's."

That's what I thought

would go down,

just a quick, "Hey,

did you touch my food

"the only time

it was out of my sight?

"I just want to know

"before I try to fight

a group of people

"that are gonna be

pretty confused

on why they're fighting."

But instead, I got to learn

I'm friends with a lunatic

and a guy comfortable

fighting McDonald's employees,

because he opened his burger

and could not

have ignored me quicker.

He looked at them so fast,

almost like he expected them

to do it, like...

Like it's happened before,

and he's like, "Again?

Again with this?"

He just starts yelling

at everybody, just,

"I'm gonna fight everybody till

I find out who ate my burger."

He gets up.

He starts walking towards 'em.

I can't believe

this is even working.

We are so much farther

than I'm prepared to get.

So I grab him;

I was like,

"Dude, I ate your burger.

I ate it.

"Why would you

not look at me once

to see if I did this?"

I walked him back to the table,

and we sit down,

but it's already, like, weird.

Like, everybody's, like,

looking at us.

It takes ten minutes

for people to quit filming us

with their phones.

And it hits me.

I start, like,

thinking about it.

I go, "Dude."

I go, "Luis.

"You're out of your mind.

You're gonna get killed

one day, dude."

I was like, "You were

about to go fight a guy."

I was like, "Let's pretend

I'm not here, all right?

"Let's pretend that someone

did eat your burger

"that worked at this McDonald's.

"You were gonna go

blindly fight that guy.

"Not even try to size him up,

see what he looks like?

"Do you really think

you could beat up a guy

"that is apparently

pretty confident in himself

"that he's making burgers,

he's then eating 'em,

"and then he's wrapping 'em up

and just sending 'em out

to whoever?"

"You don't think

that guy's probably

"the greatest fighter

of all time?

"I think you're gonna walk

to that McDonald's counter

"and be like,

'Who ate my burger?'

"And all the McDonald's

employees are gonna part ways.

"They know exactly

who you're talking about.

"In the very back,

you're gonna see a guy

"cracking his neck.

"He's got his fist

in the fryer,

"doesn't even know it.

He's just warming

his hands up."

Guys, thank you so much

for coming out.

You were unbelievable.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

You were great.

Something to notice is the way he uses language that makes his standup seem so relaxed and conversational.

top2phrase_nate.PNG

top3phrase_nate.PNG

From the graphs above, we can see that he uses “you know” – 89 times, and the phrase “I was like”- 39 times. This is ultimately how he disarms his jokes by making it feel like he is having a conversation with a friend. The phrase “I don’t know” is his point of view on things and plays to his self-deprecative humor.

Below two other graphs showing some key metrics:

othermetrics_nate.PNG

othermetrics_nate2.PNG

The above graph shows that the readability index is 4.5 which exhibits Nate’s approach to his comedy. He rarely uses high-brow vocabulary. He is relatable – and a 4.5 readability proves that.

Go check out our Episode 29 where we look at Nate’s work and then watch him on The Standups steaming on Netflix.

Written by Shafi Hossain. Please send any feedback to kaizenkomedy@gmail.com

Reference:

Spotify. (2019). Full Time Magic. [online] Available at: https://open.spotify.com/album/6VvMC7hOxe1bRTjQ2AOVKH [Accessed 3 Jan. 2019].

Humor Sapiens and Mental Health

"I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it's like to feel absolutely worthless and they don't want anyone else to feel like that."- Robin Williams

It feels like every time I am sitting at an open mic or a comedy show, there is at least one comedian talking about depression and therapy. Without seeking out any data or online literature, therefore, one might conclude that most comedians are either sad, depressed or both. It is ubiquitous in the profession – contemporary performers like Gary Gulman openly talks about going to therapy to deal with depression. In the documentary series “The History of Comedy”, many comics publicly discuss their depression and how they cope with it.

Very few studies on comedians and mental health are readily available online. A study in 1975 which was conducted only on 55 comics, found that around 80 percent of the participants had been in therapy. The study also informs that majority of the comedians were close to their mother, while the fathers were absent in large periods of their life. Many comedians are known to use comedy as validation from strangers to fill a void.

To better understand comedians and the relationship to depression, I used a questionnaire which entail only 3 questions. It asks you to describe your mental state, the reason for pursuing comedy, and if you have sought out therapy. The survey was filled mostly by comedians in the Northeast and had 133 participants.

Results

Around 41 percent of the participants described their mental state as being content, while approximately 31 percent assessed their mental condition as clinically depressed.

humorsapiens_1.png

Additionally, 53 percent of the participants are pursuing comedy because they enjoy it as an art form, while only 17 percent get on stage to seek some form of approval. Surprisingly, even though most comedians are aware of the absurdity of the human condition, only 5 percent of the participants are pursuing comedy due to life’s transience nature.

humorsapiens_2.png

The data suggests only 30 percent of the comedians are in therapy. This is an interesting finding, because earlier data indicates that 31 percent of the participants subscribe their condition as clinically depressed.

humorsapiens_3.png

Analyzing the data further, it shows that 26 percent of the subset of comedians who assess their mental condition as happy are in therapy, while only 34 percent of the clinically depressed are in therapy.

humorsapiens_4.png
humorsapiens_5.png

Some reasons for not seeking out therapy might be financial, fear of anxiety due to oversharing, or some are just using comedy as therapy.

Based on these data, it is apparent that more than 50% of the comics are either content or happy. It is also worth noticing that more than 30% of the participants in the study are clinically depressed. You can assume that out of the 10 people that are performing in your show or open mic, at least 3 are clinically depressed.

A lot of people, like myself, are not schooled in clinical depression. The following resources helped me learn and understand the issue better and I highly recommend them to people who are interested in learning more about the subject matter. The TED talk “Depression, the secret we share” by Andrew Solomon talks about his journey with depression and is a must watch for people who are not well versed on the subject. Another article “Here’s how you can connect to friends who are depressed” by Bill Bernat is an excellent read on the topic.

Thank you to all the 133 participants who took part in the survey.

 

This study was done using the survey sent out to Albany Comedians, Boston Comedians, and various other Northeast comedians groups. Written and conducted by Shafi Hossain.

References:

Janus, S. (2018). Cite a Website - Cite This For Me. [online] Emilkirkegaard.dk. Available at: http://emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/The-great-comedians-Personality-and-other-factors.pdf [Accessed 21 Jan. 2018].

https://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_depression_the_secret_we_share. (2018). 

Bernat, B. (2018). How you can connect to friends who are depressed. [online] ideas.ted.com. Available at: https://ideas.ted.com/heres-how-you-can-connect-to-friends-who-are-depressed/ [Accessed 25 Jan. 2018].