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Nate Bargatze Was "Too Mundane" For David Letterman

By Andrew Sanford | TV | May 8, 2024 |

By Andrew Sanford | TV | May 8, 2024 |


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Niche audiences are key to comedy. Some comedians can have full careers by having a “limited” appeal. They stick to certain rooms and audiences, cultivating a passionate following. They may never become a household name, nor could they sell out a stadium, but they work. They are successful. Then there are the other comedians. Folks who could get laughs out of people from Boise to Baton Rouge. Nate Bargatze is one of those comedians.

Bargatze’s signature brand of stand-up has made him a hit across the 50 states and beyond. He’s a normal dude with a sharp wit. He jokes about family life. There’s something that feels relatable about his comedy. His success has seen him setting attendance records in Tennessee, winning awards, and hosting SNL. But earlier in his career, he was rejected by David Letterman’s Late Show.

Nate was recently a surprise guest on Letterman’s Gods of Comedy interview series. “I have not met this man, so to nudge up against a guy who is just as good as it gets is a thrill for me,” Letterman said about Bargatze. “In the world of comedy, some perhaps are as good. No one is better.” When asked about his journey as a comedian, Bargatze revealed that he was rejected by Letterman’s bookers in 2012.

“I was told that it was ‘too mundane,’ and I did not know what that word meant so I looked at it and I put it in my head, and I was like, ‘I don’t think it’s good,’” Bargatze told the host. Letterman then played a clip of Bargatze on Conan, an appearance he had secured by submitting the same jokes. To Bargatze, it’s all part of the journey. He explained, “You’re just constantly getting told ‘no,’ so it’s frustrating because everything’s switching, and you don’t want to miss out on the things you grew up seeing. But finally, I submitted it to Conan, and they said, ‘Yeah, all we do is mundane.’”

When asked why he works clean, Bargatze had a pretty straightforward answer: his parents. “I just never wanted to be dirty in front of my parents. I never wanted my parents to come to the show, and I would feel like I was embarrassed.” He continued, saying, “I’m obviously family-friendly. I don’t write material for kids, but my favorite viewers I see in the crowd a lot are grandmothers because I don’t think they really have anything that they can go watch, and no one wants to go watch anything with them,” explained Bargatze. “At my special, there was a 12-year-old girl sitting in the front row, and then it’s awesome to see a lot of grandparents. I like that they can all come together because that’s the only stuff that I was allowed to go to as well.”

In a way, Bargatze has found a niche in being broad. He said, “I think you can make movies like Home Alone and things that everybody can enjoy, and everybody can go to. I don’t think that’s happening right now, so that’s where I want it to go.”