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Nate Bargatze Discusses The Advice Jerry Seinfeld Provided Him For Hosting SNL


When Nate Bargatze hosts the venerable sketch show “Saturday Night Live” for the first time on October 28, he is excited to bring his style of sardonic comedy to the program.

Bargatze, who is pleased to be hosting the concert, tells TODAY.com that he is performing with musical guest Foo Fighters.

“People ask about being nervous,” Bargatze says during a sit-down interview. “(But) your nerves just kind of become excitement. I’m very excited to see that world.”

Bargatze has been entertaining audiences for over 20 years with his family-friendly comedies, but it has only been in the last few that a number of his popular TV specials, such as “The Greatest Average American” and “The Tennessee Kid,” have elevated him to a household celebrity.

As suggested by the title of his well-liked special, Bargatze is a native of Tennessee who first gained success in Chicago before honing his craft in New York City’s comedy clubs. The comic says TODAY.com that he could never have imagined himself on the sacred “SNL” stage even five years ago.

“From five years ago to be here is definitely pretty wild,” says Bargatze. “It feels like it’s really sped up. I’ve done this for 20 years and it takes a long time to then go super fast.”

While on tour with his most recent show, the comedian just achieved a record-breaking sellout of a more than 19,000-seat venue in Nashville, Tennessee. Although it could appear that Bargatze’s achievement happened suddenly, he claims it took a long time to develop.

“I’ve done this for 20 years, and it takes a long time to then go super fast,” he explains, saying that the upside is that the process has taught him to adapt. “I’m grateful that it took this long because I think I’m much more prepared for the stuff I’m going to be put into now.”

His prior experience working at Applebee’s contributed to some of that preparation. Bargatze thinks his greatest lesson from waiting tables at chain restaurants was developing a sense of urgency, in addition to meeting his wife Laura there.

“I’ve used that my whole life,” he says and explains that in conveying to people that he was making an effort as a server, it helped them feel better about their experience.

“If you look like your trying, then they feel much better,” he says.

He has kept that lesson with him. According to him, the idea is applicable to nearly every aspect of life, and it’s probably this moral code that has made Bargatze known as “The Nicest Man in Stand-Up.”

But in “SNL’s” promo for the forthcoming program, Bargatze’s reputation as an all-around pleasant man takes a hit. The “SNL” cast members Devon Walker and Andrew Dismukes encourage the comedian in the teaser to do whatever he pleases because he is the show’s host.

Accepting the advise, Bargatze goes full diva, chuckling as he smashes guitars, rips cue cards, throws coffee cups, and spray-paints graffiti before grinning and asks, “How’s that?”

Putting aside his “SNL” outbursts, Bargatze says he values the clean component of his comedy and wants to create more family-friendly content with his new company, Nateland.

“Not that you’re making comedy for kids, but I just don’t want anybody to feel uncomfortable watching it with their parents or if your kids watch,” he says.

Because so many of his rituals are based on his family life, he says he also considers how his wife and daughter, Harper, 11, might feel about them. Bargatze’s commentary about his wife Laura’s perplexing method to scheduling an airport journey stands out among his most memorable moments.

“Laura, I don’t know if you even know what an airport is,” Bargatze cracks in “The Tennessee Kid,” before continuing, “But if the plane was in our driveway, I don’t think you could make it.”

Bargatze claims that before incorporating his family into a routine, he thinks about how they would feel.

“You just try to have a balance. You try to do everything where you just have that nice love with it,” he says.

Regarding his “SNL” debut, Bargatze says he’s concentrating on his monologue, which is based on guidance from longtime comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

“He talked about the monologue,” Bargatze says of a recent conversation he had with Seinfeld. “He’s like, ‘The monologue. That’s why you’re there. That’s your job.’”

A long-time fan of Seinfeld’s observational humor, Bargatze says, “I just kind of follow whatever that dude says. There’s just so much he’s talked about comedy that I do,” he says. “I don’t wear short sleeves on shirts because he said not to.”

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