Stand-up Comedy 101

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nick Vatterott

Today I am interviewing Nick Vatterott, a comedian born in St. Louis, MI who has been doing comedy for seven years. To find out more about Nick, visit his website.

Why did you start doing stand-up comedy?

I started doing comedy because I was failing out of every class that I was taking at the University of Missouri. The only things I enjoyed doing was writing a weekly column in the school newspaper, my weekly improv show, and cracking wise around the ol kegger. I live comedy, it makes life tolerable. Goofing around on stage is the most fun thing to me, it is a drug. And the fact that there is a drug out there that you can get paid to do is amazing to me.

Do you have a favorite topic to talk about on stage?

My favorite topic to talk about on stage is whatever stream of concious is happening. But sometimes, something hits you while you're on stage. Every day we have a thousand thoughts, and some of those thoughts we feel would be worth exploring on stage. And every once in awhile, we have one of those thoughts, WHILE we're on stage. And exploring those ideas in that moment, whatever the topic is, are my favorite to talk about. I was at an outdoor show recently at a food festival. The type of show you roll your eyes at as a comic. Two in the afternoon, on the hottest day of the year. The whole point of the festival was for people to try foods they never had before, and I was supposed to perform in this comedy tent, for people to take a break from food. I asked everyone if they enjoyed all the unique foods, they all said 'YEAH!!!' What's been your favorite so far? And this very sweet old man in the front row, in complete honestly yelled, "Corn!"

And that killed me, that this guy had never had corn before. Every tent had funnel cakes, and pate, and sushimi, and this guy was blown away by the corn. And there is, for the next ten minutes I just get to riff about a guy who is blown away by corn, amazed by water, and was scared of the future technology of forks...those moments feel like you're just joking around with your buddies, as opposed to being on stage telling a joke that 'you're working on', or a joke that doesn't work because you can't recreate the moment when its circumstances occurred. And those spontaneous topics are my favorite.

Where do you get your ideas?

The material that I do comes from everywhere. But I think much of it comes from when I'm in some heightened mood. Rants about subways come from a moment of complete frustration, bits about a woman come from a moment of total pain, and god in his office saying, "work work work, I tell you what holy spirit, not enough DAYS in the WEEK!...of course I only have myself to blame for that" come from a moment of being in a super good mood, joking with the people you are the most comfortable with. Also drinking and drugs are where a lot of bits come. Two things that also heighten mood, so maybe its no coincidence.


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