By Isabella Patta, Staff Writer —
Communications student Nathan Smith performs as a stand-up comedian during the week at open mic nights.
Smith is a junior from Maryville, Tenn., majoring in Communications and minoring in Anthropology. He started his freshman year in stand-up comedy.
“I always thought I was kind of funny; I was a class clown in high school and always tried to do goofy stuff,” said Smith. “It seemed like something that would be fun. All the comedians online say that it would be easy, so I figured I might as well give it a try.”
Smith was looking for a creative outlet and started with comedy in local venues.
“I didn’t know JJ’s Bohemia is a 21 and up place, so I guess I was technically sneaking in for a long time,” said Smith. “But I never talked to anybody, I just went there to perform.”
Smith stated that a lot of his jokes are on the line of being clean and not clean.
“I read once that a lot of comedians say it takes like anywhere from six to 10 years of doing comedy to really find your voice, so I think I’m still looking for that,” said Smith. “I’m still figuring out what my stage presence is and how I write my things.”
“I have a lot of life stories that I tell, I’m kind of embarrassed to tell them though. It’s a lot of dumb short jokes that I think of. Everyone tells me that my life stories are pretty funny, but I haven’t had a lot of confidence to tell them on stages,” said Smith. “If I tell a joke and it’s not that funny, it’s okay, my joke wasn’t funny, that’s fine. But if I tell a life story and it’s not funny, it’s like shit, I have a dumb life.”
Smith sometimes writes his jokes within an hour, but sometimes he writes his jokes thirty minutes before he gets on stage.
“Sometimes I don’t think of anything during the week, and then Wednesday comes and I don’t have anything but I go to JJ’s and write my name down anyways, and I tell myself, ‘I better come up with something fast’. So, in 30 min I scribble down whatever comes to mind and usually I get a couple laughs out of it,” said Smith. “So, it’s not that bad. Even if it is bad, everybody’s going to forget about it and you come back the next week and do it again.”
One thing Smith likes about doing stand-up comedy is the immediate feedback he receives.
“If nobody laughs, it’s great because you keep working on it. If everyone laughs, it feels good., said Smith. “Them not reacting is a reaction, because it means I have to keep working. It’s fun to get on stage and to tell jokes.”
In a perfect week, Smith does stand-up comedy up to three times, but he always performs at least once a week.
“I’m still not very good, or very funny, but it’s a good past time,” said Smith.
He has also been to the open mic at the Honest Pint, Moccasin Bend Brewing Company’s open mic and the Comedy Catch.
The Comedy Catch hosts an open mic once a month and used to host a comedy round table as well.
“A bunch of comedians would sit around and we would talk about our jokes,” said Smith. “That was so cool; sometimes it would have people from out of town and it would be real comedians, who would get paid, and they would be like, ‘this is a good joke and you should say this instead though or you should change the wording’ and it would help.”
Smith usually performs at JJ’s Open Mic night on Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
For more about Smith and where he’s performing, follow his Twitter at theactualnathan.