Nate Bargatze started out as one of the guest comedians in Jimmy Fallon’s show. But he’s on his way up with his second Netflix special, The Greatest Average American. One of my favourite things in any moving picture medium are creators getting things out of the way. And he does it by bringing up how 2020 is the best year in history, and he does this so he can get to what comedians get their material from.
A substantial amount of the show’s material, then, tackles airport humour and who Bargatze’s kid follows on YouTube. His daughter has the same strange YouTube habits like most kids do, presumably. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a comedy special, but it seems like the most prominent comedians, as good as they are, treat other human beings as punching bags. He, however, can make material out of people without treating them like space aliens.
Bargatze also tackles another topic that most comedians from the past decade have tackled – peanut allergies. This is a more important topic in his life because he is a father of a girl who goes to school and school have kids with allergies. But he shows that he can be funny and empathetic. Doing light research on him, empathy is less of a goal than being funny, but it’s nice that he can do both.
Empathy is important right now, and it seems to be on the wings of what Bargatze’s brand might be. He referenced his iced coffee joke, a four and a half minute masterpiece of what it’s like to be an anxious person today. And that anxiety pops up again in a surprising place to find comedy material – claustrophobia. His semi-lax delivery provides distance to his anecdotes but it’s just as funny as watching somebody having an… attack.
Headlining a show in a comedy theme park takes a lot of presence, but again there’s something relaxed about Bargatze. He’s the friend on a different stage of his life from a viewer but he’s still relatable. A funny storyteller instead of an outlandishly physical comedian. He doesn’t use a lot of the space but he doesn’t need to. He prefers a simpler approach instead of the TedTalks feel that most specials from the previous decade have.
Another material source he has is his marriage, and he toes the line of being a ‘take my wife please’ comedian before thankfully withdrawing from that cliche. He connects marriage comedy to another anxiety that most X-ennials have of turning into their parents, but he puts a spin on that Oedipal joke. And he does this all in an open air at night, while the occassional helicopter flies above him. A testament of true courage.
FInd out when to watch Nate Bargatze: The Greatest Average American on netflix.com.