Nate Bargatze Shows Why Clean Comedy Is King

Comedian packs Colorado arena, delights with deadpan shtick

Leave it to the king of clean comedy to explain why stand-up is having a moment.

Jerry Seinfeld says audiences hunger for something missing in today’s culture – laughter.

“Now they’re going to see stand-up comics because they are not policed by anyone. The audience polices us. We know when we’re off track. We know instantly. And we adjust to it instantly…But when you write a script, and it goes into four or five different hands, committees, groups – ‘Here’s our thought about this joke’ – well, that’s the end of your comedy.”

Audiences crave the truth, even about things as tiny as who does the laundry. That’s where Nate Bargatze shines.

Comedian Nate Bargatze on his life and career

The Tennessee native brought his “Be Funny Tour” to Colorado over the weekend, playing both the Blue FCU Arena in Loveland and The Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.

The latter found Bargatze playing to a packed house north of 10,000 fans of all ages.

Why? We crave comedy in uncertain times, and squeaky-clean comedy kills. Dry Bar Comedy, a purveyor of just that, draws huge online crowds and helps boost the careers of the comedians in play.

And few comics explore our mundane lives better than Bargatze.

He does it without dipping a toe into politics or the culture wars. No cursing. No friction. Just relatable tales untouched by his blossoming fame. Not every comedian can fill an arena, mind you.

The Broadmoor show opened with the comedian’s recent “Saturday Night Live” appearance where he played future president George Washington. The bit inexplicably went viral after it aired, but it hardly captures Bargatze at his best.

The crowd wasn’t amused.

Washington's Dream - SNL

His set quickly shook off the clumsy start, proving consistently sharp without a single dead spot.

His gentle stage demeanor turned even half-hearted gags into winning bits. He’s the anti-Sebastian Maniscalco, a stand-up who spends much of the show with one arm tucked behind his back.

Comedians no longer need Johnny Carson’s couch to break it big. They require viral shorts, podcasts and streaming stand-up specials. For Bargatze, having material like Netflix’s “Nate Bargatze: The Greatest Average American” sells his aw, shucks approach.

Nate Bargatze: The Greatest Average American | Official Trailer | Netflix

Of course he has a podcast all his own — “Nateland.”

Bargatze raises self-deprecation to a fine art, and even when he broaches tough subjects like 9/11 the results are surprisingly sweet.

He ribbed his elderly parents, fast food and his wife’s cheap ways during his Broadmoor appearance, but mostly he poked fun at himself. He described storing a way a killer refrain (“I do my own laundry…”) for a future fight with his wife, a bit he extended with precision and care.

No gimmicks. No profanity. Just tiny truths delivered with his deadpan style.

Sounds simple. Ask any aspiring comic and they’ll tell you it’s anything but that.

It’s Bargatze’s stock in trade.

Comedy exists on two distinct tracks in 2024. Some crave the unexpurgated humor that’s banned in mainstream Hollywood. That’s where Tim Dillon, Andrew Schulz, Louis C.K. and Joe Rogan shine.

The other has Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, Seinfeld and Bargatze bringing people together with G-rated bits. The more our culture curdles, the more we’ll need the clean comedy brigade to keep us company.


  1. More fake news from Toto. Clean comedy is OBVIOUSLY NOT KING as NOT ONE of the TOP COMEDIANS in the country works clean. They are ALL working blue with the slight exception of this guy. Bill Burr, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Tim Dillon Kevin Hart, (I could go on) are the top selling draws in stand up. NONE OF THEM ARE CLEAN.

    1. his point was that this guy is now at the top and he’s very clean. He sold out a huge venue. He’s obviously popular. Most average comedians can’t do that

  2. humor does not need x-rated vocabulary. look at the great comedic movies of the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s. no foul language and pure funny.

  3. Comedic stand up is a layman’s sermon. There are many elements that are similar. Today’s entertainment is forced Woke and brimstone. Nothing enjoyable to watch. Nothing beautiful to behold. All off kilter. Comedy allows one to make fun of all that if we can be allowed that. SNL isn’t funny.

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