Between them, comedians Louis Katz and Nate Bargatze boast an enviable list professional credits, including half-hour specials on Comedy Central, festival acclaim and clips on all the best late-night TV shows.
But the superficial similarities end there.
“Nate is a ‘clean’ comic originally from Nashville, I’m a ‘dirty’ comic originally from Los Angeles,” Katz told us via e-mail recently. “Nate has a wife and a brand new baby girl. I’m a perpetually single man-whore who will probably die alone. Despite (because?) of our superficial differences, we’re good friends, and we’re both very excited about touring cross country together.”
We caught up with the guys in advance of their Comedy Works dates tonight (Tuesday, Nov. 6) and tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 7) to chat about the reason for the tour, winning the lottery, food, tigers and oh-so-much more.
So how did this tour come about? Does one open for the other, or do you ever appear on stage together?
Nate: I’m moving to LA from NY and have to drive my car across country and asked Louis to come with me. We decided to set up shows and make a tour out of it. I’m really excited about it and hopefully we are still friends by the time we get to Denver.
Louis: Nate convinced me to join him on this trip with two simple words: road head. On stage (and in the car), we take turns opening for each other. Since we’re both equally unknown, it really doesn’t matter who closes out the show.
Louis noted in one of his e-mails to me the contrast between you two guys (your material, your perspectives, etc.) Do you feel like you complement each other? Or when you don’t, what causes the most friction?
Nate: It’s great because we are different. It’s not like watching the same comic back to back. There’s no friction.
Louis: Nate is a “clean” comic, and I tend to tell a lot of dirtier jokes. Nate’s also a small town Southern guy, and I’m a big city Jew. But despite our differences, we’re very good friends and our different styles do complement each other on stage. It just goes to show, a good person is a good person, and funny is funny. Even though I do hate his God.
What were your respective first times on stage like – and what made you want to come back? (Rampant masochism is not an acceptable answer.)
Nate: It was great cause I had a lot of friends there. I thought I was good. Then the next few shows I learned I wasn’t. And then I wanted to get back to that first feeling of it going good.
Louis: My first time was at an open mic after a stand up show at my college, UC Berkeley. I had always loved being funny, and once I realized I could potentially do it professionally, I never stopped.
What’s a joke you used to love to tell but don’t anymore – and why?
Nate: I had a Superman joke that was my first big joke. About the guy who saw Superman coming. He would say, “Is that a bird? A plane? No, it’s Superman!” This guy has the worst eyesight ever. I still like the joke but as a comic you just keep growing and then jokes get left behind.
Louis: I’m trying not to do most of the jokes off my album, “If These Balls Could Talk” (Comedy Central Records), so I’ll be forced to write new ones. So if you really want to know the answer to this question… you should download my album!
What’s one of the worst things you’ve ever felt bad laughing about?
Nate: I worked a track meet for a mentally challenged high school and one of the runners tripped and fell. It was a long fall too. Still feel bad.
Louis: Once I was in San Francisco for Halloween, and a homeless guy came up to me and asked for some change. I responded, “sorry, I can’t help you. Great costume, though.” I felt like a dick, but it just had to be done.
When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Nate: I do a lot actually. Being friends with comics is the best thing ever.
Louis: Probably some YouTube video involving a chimp.
What’s your favorite joke of the moment?
Nate: About buying tigers. I don’t want to give it away though ’cause I am doing it still.
Louis: I’ve got a chunk about relationships that comes from a real place, and it seems to really resonate with people, so I’m excited about that. Also, I’ve got this great new squirter joke.
Having had Comedy Central Presents specials, what’s your next big goal?
Nate: An hour special and my own TV show. Or winning the lottery. Whichever comes first. Both have about the same odds.
Louis: I’d also like to do an hour special. And I’d like to make a movie.
What’s the first thing you do when arriving in a new city on a tour stop?
Nate: Usually walk around where I am and grab something to eat.
Louis: I seek out whatever the famous local food is and eat it.
Podcasts: the new stand-up boom and bust, or the best thing since the invention of the microphone?
Nate: I think they will take over radio. It will be the new radio. So best thing since the microphone.
Louis: One of my favorite comics, Robert Hawkins, once said something that pretty much sums up my feelings on podcasts: “Remember all that extra stuff we took out of stand up to make it funny? Well, it’s back!”