Stand-Up Comic Jesse Nutt
On this episode, host Rodney Veals sits down with stand-up comic Jesse Jutt to discuss the importance of writing, sacrificing your darlings, and how comics have to navigate the tricky, ever-changing landscape of a gig-based career. To quote Jesse himself: “I love that we live in a country where people have the freedom to put pineapple on a pizza, hot sauce on donuts and pancake syrup on fried chicken.” Find out how comedians see the world just a little bit differently on Rodney Veal’s Inspired By!
[00:00:29] Rodney Veal: We are talking to Jesse Nutt, who is a comedian extraordinaire who is from the local region. But he is from all over and he has great insights and things to say and things to share.
[00:00:44] And we’re going to talk about his history. So Jesse, welcome to the podcast.
[00:00:50] Jesse Nutt: It’s an honor, an honor, and a privilege as you know, I’m a big fan of the art show, big fan of you. I love. I love the focus on local [00:01:00] artists and art, even though the segment you did about the person doing sculptures at a dryer sheets, I thought it went a little far, but whatever.
[00:01:08] Let’s celebrate. All art forms. So that’s why I’m glad I’m here. Let’s talk about comedy as an art form, which I know is going to piss other artists off, but my opinion is it’s the hardest of the art forms.
[00:01:20] I don’t, I don’t disagree.
[00:01:23] Well, it’s, I think mainly, mainly because. There is no other art form where the artist is challenged every single time you present the art to adjust your presentation to the audience.
[00:01:40] Comedy is the only collaborative art form. Other art forms, okay, if you’re a visual artist, you might be at a showing, and you might hear people talk badly, disparagingly about some of what you’ve done. Okay? Comics get that every 30 seconds. Okay, you either get approval [00:02:00] or you get rejection immediately, immediately,
[00:02:06] Rodney Veal: and it’s sometimes this talk back, they come back at you with language.
[00:02:10] Jesse Nutt: Oh, they will. Lame. That’s old. Boo. My favorite is they’ll start jingling their car keys. Shut up. Okay, seriously, that is that means it’s time for you to go. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Look, the Sandman ain’t got nothing. Oh, yes. On the brutality of the types of rejection that a comic will get. And I mean, this isn’t just in bars.
[00:02:38] This is in comedy clubs. So the comic is always challenged. No two shows can be exactly alike. A comic can tell a great joke at the first shows Friday night. Everybody loves it. You’re a genius. Best joke they ever heard. The comic can tell the exact same joke the exact same way at the nine o’clock show, and they look at [00:03:00] you like you spit in their mama’s mouth.
[00:03:02] Yeah. I’m literally telling you. That’s real. That is legit real. That’s literally the spectrum of the challenge that a comic must face every show, every time. Now, it is also the comic’s beautiful blessing. That we are the only art form that if we do our job correctly, if we do what we’re supposed to do, we can generate into a human, an involuntary response, whether they want to laugh or not, they will laugh.
[00:03:36] Every comic knows that feeling when you’ve done a set or you’re doing a set and you’ll do a joke and you’ll hear somebody go, okay, that was pretty good. That’s them grudgingly admitting that up to this point they hated you Now suddenly you said something that clicked and they love it and whether they want to or not they laugh So yeah involuntary [00:04:00] responses.
[00:04:00] Nobody can make you tap your foot. Nobody can make you appreciate Renoir Phyllis Wheatley Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Nobody can make you do that. No even a film, but I can make you laugh. Yes. Make you laugh. So yeah, it’s, it’s the ultimate artistic challenge.
[00:04:20] Rodney Veal: I always hear the, my phrase is comedy’s hard and I was thinking about that in the, in the, in the context this morning.
[00:04:27] I was like, the difference between comedy, like being funny and humorous, there’s a difference. Oh yeah. Some people are humorous and they’re just not funny. And there’s some people who are just funny. I mean, it’s, there’s, there’s different degrees of what comedy is and what is funny and humorous. And so my question to you is, how did you realize that you were funny?
[00:04:51] Jesse Nutt: I honestly, I’m not sure I am. I mean, no, because well, okay. My philosophy is you are only as funny as your last show. [00:05:00] Okay. Luckily Thursday night I had a great show. Thank you. Funny bone. Here’s the best way I can explain it: Two of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life.
[00:05:12] I’ve known my whole life. One of them is a school friend I’ve known since first grade. The other is the older brother of one of my best friends. They are absolutely hands down two of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Make me tears to my eyes every time I talk to them. I have offered, begged, pleaded with both of them to get on stage.
[00:05:33] Neither one will do it. Period. Not a chance. Scares them to death. Interesting. Okay. Now, genuinely funny people, hilarious. And don’t just make me laugh. They make everyone laugh. That’s just who they are. But they would never, ever think about getting on stage and doing what I do. I’ve always heard, and people have [00:06:00] always told me this, when they find out I do stand up, they’re like, you don’t look like you do stand up.
[00:06:06] You because I don’t smile all the time. I’m not always joking. I knew at an early age that this is what I wanted to do because I had the ability, I had the gift of combining certain words and presenting those words to people and they would laugh. Okay. And I found that fascinating even from like age six.
[00:06:25] Okay. Just fascinated by this combination of words or that combination of words could make a group of people who have nothing in common be in unison and be in agreement and find something funny. I was absolutely fascinated by that. So that’s what I started studying was this unifying power of laughter.
[00:06:48] And that was from the time I was a small kid that I knew I wanted to be a standup comic when I was four years old. This is absolute truth hand to God. [00:07:00] I was five. I think five I’m old enough and dated enough. My family, my older brother, older sister, mom and dad, we were all watching a variety show called the Ed Sullivan show on this show was a stand up comic.
[00:07:14] Don’t remember who it was. Couldn’t tell you what jokes they told. What I do remember is looking around and seeing my brother black panther, black militant. My sister, the feminist, my parents steeped in sanctified faith, all four of these very different people were all laughing hysterically in unison. And I said, I want to do something that does that, that brings all these different people together and they can have a moment of unity.
[00:07:47] I said, this is the greatest thing in the world, the gift of laughter. And once I saw it, and once I started studying it and what it could do, the power of it, the curative power of [00:08:00] laughter, its ability to diffuse the most tense situation. I was hooked, absolutely hooked. Elementary school, my teachers would tell you, if you did show and tell, I’m getting up and doing five minutes of Bob Newhart.
[00:08:11] Or Godfrey Cambridge or Dick Gregory.
[00:08:14] Rodney Veal: So, I asked this question of a lot of like folks in different art forms. Like they all say the same thing.
[00:08:18] Like they knew and they kind of pursued it. I mean, like Amy deal, I’m a visual artist. Boom. I knew I was going to be creative and I needed to translate that in on canvas or in print. And yeah, countless was like, I have to move. I have dance. I got to, got to do my, you know, it’s, so it’s, it’s like this thing of like, I Cause people always ask the question cause we’ve been here about that word creativity.
[00:08:41] Yeah, it’s abused, you know? Oh, sure. Okay. You’re a computer programmer. You’re creative. Okay. I guess, but I think we abuse it in order to, to get people to do things. I mean, you know,
[00:08:56] Jesse Nutt: the word creativity has become a participation trophy [00:09:00] rather than an acknowledgement of something unique.
[00:09:04] Rodney Veal: That took time.
[00:09:05] Yeah, I mean this is what this is my did to my point is like you’re saying five years old Mm hmm. This is time. This is yeah, like oh, I just decided, you know to get up on the stage and
[00:09:16] Jesse Nutt: like But it’s like there are tons of people that do that. They just on a whim they lost a bet They you know want to impress a girl whatever and they get up on stage.
[00:09:25] I knew this was something I was gonna do and I approached it. I thought like any artist would, I began to study the masters, those who were already doing it, who had done it. And some of it, I discarded some of it. I totally embraced, the timing, the comedic pause, watching someone like Jack Benny or George Burns turn 10 seconds of joke into 30 seconds of laughter simply by [00:10:00] pausing.
[00:10:00] It’s almost the same as a musician noticing phrasing or the bending of a note a dancer noticing just that little extra, right? That that changes a movement to something just glorious where the audience almost gasps because they can’t believe what they just saw. That that was always my goal was it.
[00:10:27] Okay. How do you, how do you get a moment where you create something like driving instructor, Bob Newhart, hippie, dippy weatherman, George Carlin, the hair poem why no versus Dracula by Richard Pryor, which I still think hands down is one of the most perfect bits ever written. Absolutely. Perfect.
[00:10:46] Rodney Veal: And that’s, and that’s a key phrase, written, let’s, let’s, let this be very clear.
[00:10:51] There’s something about the people believe that it’s just, it’s, it’s a, it’s improvisational. And there are people who do improvisation. Oh, sure. Do improvisation [00:11:00] in art, they do it in dance, they do it in other art forms. you. There is. It’s not all improv .
[00:11:06] Jesse Nutt: No, it’s not. Now. It cannot be improv. It’s not.
[00:11:08] That’s also part of the magic. Yeah. That’s part of the magic though. Intended or unintended. Part of the magic is people do assume that when they see you on stage, all of that is extemporaneous. Just off the top of your head, you’re making it up as you go. Mm-hmm. , there are comics who it. The term is called crowd work, and there are comics who are absolute zen masters at crowd work.
[00:11:38] One is good friend Vince Morris, another Steve Iott. Matt Reif is very good at crowd work. There are a lot of comics that are great at crowd work, but never get it confused. All three of the names I gave you have tons of written material that they have swept over. Thank you. Okay. [00:12:00] So you, you often will use a combination of crowd work and written material.
[00:12:06] The magic is when you make it seamless where the audience doesn’t know what part is conversational and what part is written. But yeah, you write jokes. Jokes are no different than songs. Has to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Has to if it doesn’t, what you’ve got is a question or premise or, you know, something like that, which may or may not work, but it’s not a joke.
[00:12:34] It’s just a question, you know, Hey, what’s the deal with airplane food? That’s not a joke. That’s not a joke. Yeah, it’s not a joke, right? Could be, but it’s not yet. So it’s all about. looking spontaneous, but it’s not. I got plenty of jokes that have taken me. I mean, 30 second jokes have taken me years. Literally.
[00:12:55] You’ll write it. Then you rewrite it. Then you try it out. It [00:13:00] sucks. So you don’t try it again for a year. Then you pull it back out. You write it again. You write it again. You write it again. And every time you have to try it out, comics literally live the scientific method. We come up with an idea. We then execute that idea.
[00:13:20] If it works, then we have to replicate it just because it works does not mean. Much. It means it worked at the chuckle bucket. That’s all.
[00:13:31] Rodney Veal: But down the street at Wiley’s, it might be a completely different thing.
[00:13:35] Jesse Nutt: So you see, if you can replicate, once you can replicate, now you’ve got something, but that whole process can take weeks, months, years, years to get.
[00:13:47] And again, it can be a 10, 15, 20 second joke. Just getting the words right can take that long.
[00:13:54] Rodney Veal: And, and that reason why I asked that question, because there seems to be, as an educator, I always deal with kids [00:14:00] who, who want the instantaneousness, sure. And I keep telling them, that’s not it. They want a microwave career.
[00:14:08] They want microwave careers. They want the microwave love and affection, like instantaneous, like, no, that doesn’t work that way. This is like, you need to be in the rehearsal studio, working it out. That’s what made the dancing. I, I mean, I was still be able to tell him like, well, how did your career was successful?
[00:14:25] I said, because I love the process. Yeah. And so you have to love the process. And so I, I would like when you’re talking, like, cause we’re talking and I know people are going to be listening to this and they’re going to be like, you know, I had never considered that the fact that it’s so much work. Yeah.
[00:14:40] It’s like, what do you tell people? Like when they, when they, when they come up to you and say, well, I want to be a comedian like you. What’s your
[00:14:47] Jesse Nutt: advice to them? It’s funny. After the show at the Funny Bone, this couple walks up and they say their 18 year old son is interested in becoming a stand up comic.
[00:14:58] What? Would you [00:15:00] tell him? I would say, talk him out of it immediately. Get him counseling, get him a hobby. Okay. But tell him there’s so many other ways you can serve mankind.
[00:15:17] Rodney Veal: It’s like, are you sure? Well, okay. Right. And I say that I say the same thing about dance. Are you sure? Right. You really want to be a pain all the time.
[00:15:28] Jesse Nutt: And the only reason I do that is because first and foremost, and this may sound real blunt, but if you’re asking, then you’re not ready. Oh, okay. That’s a good point because I never had to ask. Okay. I knew some way, somehow I was getting on a stage somewhere and doing this hell or high water in out. Update.
[00:15:56] Didn’t matter. Didn’t matter. Okay. You knew this was, this [00:16:00] was the end goal, period. So once somebody to me comes up, what do you think of me being a comic? What do you think about you being a comic? Okay. No, then, then go home and figure this out. Now, a lot of people, the only reason they get on stage, same reason I got on stage because you ain’t, your brain is not going to let you have in a moment of peace until you do this.
[00:16:27] Until you do it. Right. A dancer, I think has the same thing until you dance. Okay. Until you do this thing, you get no peace. Yeah. Oh, you can trudge through life and all. But you’re not going to get any real satisfaction.
[00:16:44] Rodney Veal: And that’s, I love that phrase, satisfaction, because it is, it’s satisfying. And I don’t think like, you know, it’s like, yeah, yeah.
[00:16:50] I was like, no, I’m like, no, no, no, no, I got this. And again,
[00:16:53] Jesse Nutt: it’s not necessarily about becoming famous or becoming great. It’s becoming as good as you can be. [00:17:00] and satisfying your artistic self. And that’s what fuels most artists and especially comics because the comic is like a decathlete.
[00:17:09] You’re not competing against the other comics. You’re competing against your best, your best, your best. Okay, every set is judged against your best set not how good so and so did in comparison
[00:17:26] Rodney Veal: It’s not a competition. This is something that was conversation I had yesterday with a group of visual artists.
[00:17:31] It’s like we’re not in competition with each other you and your journey is like You do a caustic she does Paintings that involve pins and, and, and thread, that’s a completely two different apples and oranges. I mean, and so when people, I just feel like sometimes that happens when, with, in all the art forms, I can imagine in comedy.
[00:17:52] Is there a thing where people try to say, Oh, you’re like, so and so. So therefore stay in this box for, you know,
[00:17:59] Jesse Nutt: [00:18:00] When I started. And I started booking on the road and comedy was still an overtly racist environment. The, the thing that I heard the most when I would call up clubs about getting booked, Oh, we already have a black comic click.
[00:18:19] That was it. That was it. Okay. We have our black comic, don’t give a damn what kind of material you do. Doesn’t matter. You’re a black comic. So you obviously do this. Okay. Right. Right. Now these are the clubs that have a black comic, a fat comic, one female maybe an Asian, a Jew, if they can find one, and those are the people they rotate in and out of the club and that’s it.
[00:18:49] And that’s it.
[00:18:51] Rodney Veal: Sounds like a formula.
[00:18:52] Jesse Nutt: There’s just as many clubs that are exactly the opposite. The only thing they’re interested in is are you funny period [00:19:00] that you’re a comedian who happens to be fat or black, whatever, but what they care about is the content. What they care about is the material.
[00:19:09] Those are the places that sustain you. Those are the places where after playing the other clubs, you go in somewhere like that where you are appreciated, the audience really gets it and the energy you get from those performances gets you through.
[00:19:26] Rodney Veal: The ones where you were the, where you were the check of the list, the check.
[00:19:30] Jesse Nutt: Yeah. Okay. Where, you know, basically it’s the modern cakewalk and you know, you’re doing the buck dance and that’s what you’re doing and you realize it. And you’ve got two choices. You can walk out assuming you’ve got enough gas money to get home.
[00:19:48] You can shake this s*** off. Do what you came here to do. Get your money and bounce, right? Okay. Both are options. You can, you know, exercise them.
[00:19:58] Rodney Veal: That’s that freedom of the choices. The [00:20:00] choice is like either do it. Or don’t. Or don’t. Or don’t.
[00:20:03] Jesse Nutt: But getting back to your question, I mean, I would tell anybody if you want to do this, do it just as simple.
[00:20:11] Do it. Find an open mic and go in first and watch. Watch what happens. Then go home. Hopefully this urge has dissipated now a lesson learned if it hasn’t write five minutes, write a five minute set of your own jokes, yours, nobody else’s not, not variations on memes, your jokes, write them.
[00:20:45] Rodney Veal: Don’t rehash.
[00:20:46] Jesse Nutt: Yeah. And then once you’ve got that written, throw it away because it’s garbage. Now you’re going to write a new five minutes, just like real comics do. Okay. You’re going to write that first stuff. You’re going to look at it. It’s trash. Trust me. It’s trash. [00:21:00] Okay. Okay. It’s pure garbage. Yeah.
[00:21:02] Yeah. Don’t go in and tell them, just throw them away. Now write something else. And you’re going to write, I would say, write at least 20 minutes. If you’ve got 20 minutes worth of material, that means you have three. And then go do them. Go, go and stand in front of a mic and do the jokes and see what you got.
[00:21:22] If you’re lucky, no one will laugh. You will go home dejected. You’ll never do this again. If you’re unlucky, they’ll laugh. And you’ll get that rush, like that first hit a crack and you will spend the rest of your life chasing that high.
[00:21:42] That rush.
[00:21:44] Okay. You will spend the rest of your life. Once you hear that first applause, that first, okay, whether you’re a dancer or a singer, what a first time you get that your mind is saying, okay, you know, you ain’t going to sleep tonight. You know that that’s not happening.
[00:21:57] Because you’re trying to do it again. You’re like you’re ready for the next day.
[00:21:59] [00:22:00] I’m ready.
[00:22:00] I’m ready. Let’s go right and so yeah, it’s Yeah, it’s addicting But it’s also the energy that the applause the adoration whatever it is The affirmation, that’s what keeps you doing the hard work, the hours of writing and rewriting and editing and editing and bugging other comics.
[00:22:26] Okay, how’s this sound? There’s a huge part of what comics do that involves writing, editing and being brutally honest. Okay, okay. I love jokes, and there’s a line right now that I have to take out of my Yellow Springs joke. I have to take it out because it doesn’t get the reaction I want. Now, I love the line.
[00:22:52] I think it’s a great line. I think it’s brilliant. It lays the biggest turd right in the [00:23:00] middle of this wonderfully crafted joke. Joke’s not six months old. It kills every time I tell it, except for this one part. And I’ll even, I’ll, I’ll put the line out there cause I’m putting it to bed. I’m taking it out, but I do the joke.
[00:23:15] I, the setup is I’m woke, you know, I’m, I’m woke. And, and I tell people, you know, I think woke has positive connotations, but I think the word woke is a lot like hip hop. Okay? Black people invented it. White people messed it up, but that’s okay. We forgive you. Do you know every time I do that joke, I mean, it gets nothing, nothing, nothing, even though everything now, if there’s a smattering of black people in the audience, they’ll laugh.
[00:23:45] They’ll laugh. Yeah. White people are pissed at me. The minute I said, how dare you?
[00:23:48] Rodney Veal: How dare you tell our secrets?
[00:23:51] Jesse Nutt: And that’s the thing they, but up to that point in the joke, they dig the joke. They’re with me on the premise and that derails it. So it’s got to go much as [00:24:00] I love it, much as I think it’s a great line, right?
[00:24:04] It diminishes the power of the punchlines and the joke. So that’s what I mean by brutally honest, much as I love it, got to go, got to go.
[00:24:11] Rodney Veal: Got to go. It’s not hitting.
[00:24:14] Jesse Nutt: No, it’s, it’s not doing what I wanted it to do. And if it’s not doing that, Okay. Now the only reason it stays in is ego. No room for that.
[00:24:24] Okay? As I tell young comics, never forget what your job is. Okay? Your job is to sell drinks. You can be replaced by a karaoke machine or male strippers in a heartbeat. Your job is to sell drinks unless you’re somewhere like you’re doing a theater show or whatever. Then your job, if you’re not the person’s name, if your name ain’t on the ticket, your job is to set a nice table for the headliner.[00:25:00]
[00:25:00] That’s it. This is not your time to shine. This is your time to do your job, be a professional, okay? But in a club setting, your job is to move drinks, okay? You’re no different than a stripper, you just get to keep your clothes on. Your job is to move drinks, period. Wow. Don’t ever get it twisted,
[00:25:22] Rodney Veal: okay? I love that, I love that, because that’s, that’s important.
[00:25:25] I mean, because I don’t think people understand. This is work.
[00:25:28] Jesse Nutt: This is a business. This is a business. You don’t like the business side of it. Go do poetry slams. You can go to courthouse square and tell all the jokes you want all day long.
[00:25:43] But if you want to treat this like a business, right, then. Have a business mentality, be a professional, understand that part of it. And that part is honestly the most important part next to, again, the only qualification to get [00:26:00] in our little tree house club.
[00:26:01] You gotta be funny. It sounds oversimplified, but it really is that simple.
[00:26:09] I’m sure you must have rhythm. I mean, I’m sure you need to, when you have an open audition, open call for dancers. There are people that come in and you see it in their face.
[00:26:21] They desperately want to be good dancers. Yes. If they had a different set of feet, maybe, but with the feet, they’ve got connected to the brain. They have, it’s never gonna happen. Wow. And you have to be, you know, understanding diplomatic and all this. But the truth is, you know, within a few seconds. No, no.
[00:26:45] Rodney Veal: This does not fit.
[00:26:46] Okay. You’re not, you’re not, you’re not there.
[00:26:49] Jesse Nutt: You’re not there. You’re not there. And I’m not sure This is going to get you there. You notice that a lot in comedy, people want it and they get up there and they [00:27:00] do their thing. And you’re like, there’s nothing there, dog. Now, whether or not that can change, it can, it can evolve, it can evolve.
[00:27:08] But especially when you get up there and you see no raw talent, when you see no raw potential, when there’s no, they’re there, that’s when it’s like. I’m sorry, but yeah, you know, regroup, I don’t know, man. Take up needle point, but you know,
[00:27:28] Rodney Veal: yeah, maybe, maybe it’s Hallmark. Maybe you need to write in Hallmark, but it’s just not this.
[00:27:34] This pathway is not yours. I mean, they’re dancers who are they don’t have the facility their bodies cannot handle it, but their minds can create movement. So I was so I would go well your pathway might be choreography versus being the dancer. Maybe it might be a being the administrator and not the one on stage.
[00:27:53] I mean, there’s just, you know, knowing you got to know you have to, you got to go through it and it’s never [00:28:00] point blame. That’s a really interesting. I’m just gonna ask you about that. When, when a set bombs, do you? Do you say, Oh, it’s the audience. Not getting the joke or is it like, you need to work on it?
[00:28:12] Like, who do you blame? I mean, cause some people blame other people and I go, no, you need to well, work on that.
[00:28:19] Jesse Nutt: You know, I think you have to be anytime the show goes bad, which I just had one. You have to be again, brutally honest. Now there can be a litany of reasons. It went bad. I always start with what was my contribution to it going bad.
[00:28:36] Now, it, my contribution might only have been 60%. Okay. There are situations where, you know, instantly the audience hates you. They will give up no love and it doesn’t matter what you say or do. They’ve made their decision collectively. Okay. And that can happen to anybody. Yeah. [00:29:00] Yeah. Well, it’s true. Sometimes it happens to every comic on the show.
[00:29:03] Sometimes it might just be you and you have to deal with that. Okay.
[00:29:09] Rodney Veal: That’s interesting. I mean, I never really thought about sometimes it’s the venue.
[00:29:14] Jesse Nutt: Sometimes you go into a place and everything is wrong. The acoustics are wrong. Management clearly doesn’t give a crap. Okay. If it’s not in the club, let’s say it’s in a bar.
[00:29:28] They ain’t even turning off the TVs or the dart machine. Okay. Oh, and that’s no joke. Wow. Okay. Like they expect you to the best comedy. The best you get is they’ll mute the TV. Which makes it interesting if it’s a really good game, because in between your jokes, you get, yay, or you suck or Oh, H I O stuff like that through your set.
[00:29:53] And yes, the expectation is you better go on and do what you came here to do. Okay. Oh, yeah. There [00:30:00] were plenty of shows like that. And those shows may or may not go good. Okay. So again, when I start. Dissecting a bad show. Again, I start with me. What was my part in it? Okay. Was my delivery off? Was my choice of jokes incorrect?
[00:30:21] Because again most comics, even the crowd work comics, you still have in your head an idea of what you want to say. The jokes are going to tell in the order you’re going to tell them. Maybe you picked wrong. Maybe you decided on this set of jokes when the audience would have rather heard this one or that one and then there’s also the personal aspect of it.
[00:30:44] Did you get too drunk? Did you get too high? Did you take a nap? Should you have taken a nap? There’s all these physical things that you have to take into consideration that affect your performance. So for [00:31:00] this particular bomb, it was a real short list. I knew what I did wrong. Okay. Absolutely. Got way too stoned with other comics way too stoned.
[00:31:11] Okay. Way, way, way, way, way to stoned.
[00:31:15] Rodney Veal: I love that. Like, okay, I’m, I’m picturing it.
[00:31:17] Jesse Nutt: I’m like, okay. No, man.
[00:31:18] Rodney Veal: No, I can’t. So you’re telling me I can’t picture it. Okay.
[00:31:22] Jesse Nutt: Friday squared. Okay. I was, I was, I was smoked. All right. I was smoked. All right. And I should have, and you would think after all these years I would know better, but that’s what we will do to you.
[00:31:35] Oh yeah. Go up, man. You got a tight five. Go on, do it. This, the set was so bad. And I’ve literally told the story a few comics, you know, it’s bad when your brain is so messed up that you say, I know what it’ll get me out of this. I’ll try a new joke. I haven’t even finished yet. Oh no. Yes, it did. No. Yes, it did.
[00:31:56] Yes, it did. And you know what happened? The joke [00:32:00] died like I did a horrible, painful death. So the set could not have gone much worse. Well, if it had I wouldn’t be sitting here, but the point is it just it went badly it went really badly but the reasons Most of it that’s all me. That’s all right. That’s 100 percent on me I could have done a lot of different things, which I chose not to do or didn’t do or whatever, but the bottom line is bottom line is you.
[00:32:29] So now I’ve also had bad shows where they didn’t have anything to do with me. There’s nothing you could have done. And nothing I could have done differently. Those are the tough ones to deal with. Those are the hard ones to swallow because you’ll still replay them in your mind. And you’re still trying to internalize and personalize what happened, but the bottom line is, there’s nothing you could have done differently because it, it was just written in the stars.
[00:32:59] Rodney Veal: Yeah. The [00:33:00] universe had decided that is not it.
[00:33:02] Jesse Nutt: But as I’ve always said, what do you learn from? That’s a good question. Okay. Do you learn a lot ovation? No. Only thing you learn from a standing ovation is you’re the s*** and you’re not. You are not. Yes. Okay. So an agreement. So what do you learn from a bad show?
[00:33:22] Everything. Absolutely. Everything. Because you’ll, you’ll learn from those bad shows what not to do and what to be prepared for when you see certain things. So the more mentally prepared you are, the less bad shows you’ll have. And not only that, the less damage a bad show can do to you. Bad shows can be incredibly traumatic on a comic.
[00:33:50] I’ve literally seen them run people out. I mean, as in they quit, they do not come back. This
[00:33:57] Rodney Veal: is I, I’m when you say that, I, I [00:34:00] think about, it’s opened up something I, the thoughts about rethinking what we think comedy and a comedian is. And, and like when you talk like, because that, that, that notion, It’s really about being so vulnerable and open.
[00:34:18] It’s still different when you’re dancing. Cause it’s like, you know what? There’s a distance. This seems like this well, immediacy of, Oh, there’s a different kind of energy. It’s not the same kind of energy. I find it fascinating when like comedians are fascinating to me.
[00:34:35] Cause that is, that is some daredevil risk taking Marvel comic universe.
[00:34:41] Jesse Nutt: Well, okay. I’ll give you what I always tell. I tell comics they’ll show up Sunday night at Wiley’s and do their first. Open mic, and they’ll bring their family, all their friends, and they just have a rip roaring good time. They have a great five minutes because they brought, you know, 35 out of the [00:35:00] 45 people in the audience and slots of applause and all this.
[00:35:03] And they come out walking on cloud nine, blah, this blah, that man, that was easy. And this is what I tell them. Okay. You’re going to keep doing it. Oh, hell yeah. Okay. The next gig, you’re going to come to one of the regular open mics, not this fancy one at a club. Okay. You’re going to bring no one, just you.
[00:35:28] Let’s see how you do. See, it’s very different when you don’t have a cheering section, because then you get an accurate evaluation of your jokes and you And that, that can be when you find out, okay, number one, can I do this? And number two, do I want to do this?
[00:35:49] Rodney Veal: And is there a third where maybe I need to work on this?
[00:35:53] Jesse Nutt: Oh, that’s always, that’s always.
[00:35:55] Rodney Veal: That’s the given. It’s the truth. It is, it is laying bare. [00:36:00] Like, yeah, this is, and I, I just, I just find that fascinating because it’s just like, I don’t. I don’t feel it. You know, I’m, you know, I’ve performed, I’ve done the, I’ve done it.
[00:36:12] I’ve done that thing. I, it was all dependent upon someone offering the role. Yeah. And then it was like what I did with the role. And I had to explain it to like younger dancers. I’m like, I’m in the studio when y’all leave. Cause I’m working on it. I’m going to nail this. I’m going to do what everything I have in my power to make this work.
[00:36:38] You’re not there when I’m an hour before warm up right before, before the show. It’s like you didn’t do the work. You ain’t, you gotta, you gotta want it. You gotta, gotta do the work.
[00:36:49] Jesse Nutt: There are tons of comics who will. Glide on their natural talent, they will coast because of, again, their natural gifts. [00:37:00] It will only get them so far.
[00:37:03] It is. I’m sure it’s the same in dance, visual art. If you’ve got natural gifts, if you happen to be a genius with watercolor to, to the point where you think no one can show you anything you’ve already capped. Your growth we call it you peaked. Okay. Yeah,
[00:37:22] Rodney Veal: that’s our phrase you peaked.
[00:37:23] Jesse Nutt: Yeah, you’ve peaked Okay, if if you’re not willing to put in the work if you honestly think you are as good as it gets I Can already tell you you’re not Because you’re not willing to do What everybody does and that’s you have to put the work in you want bigger muscles.
[00:37:42] Go to the gym
[00:37:44] Rodney Veal: It is that simple of a of a through line And that’s what everybody I’ve had on the podcast has said, the work, the work out of like, okay, I can’t, I can’t keep emphasizing,
[00:37:57] Jesse Nutt: for instance, in dance, [00:38:00] I’m sure there are maybe solos or duos that are five, six minutes long, entire performance, five, six minutes long, months of rehearsals, day in, day out, feet hurt, back hurt, knees hurt, don’t care, let’s do it again, do it again.
[00:38:20] A five minute set for a comic can take years. I just find that a blood, sweat and tears, literal tears into these. And then it all comes together and then you get up on stage and you absolutely. Destroy an audience in five minutes. In fact, you say thank you at four minutes, 55 seconds. There’s nothing that compares.
[00:38:48] Now the audience thinks, wow, how did he or she do that? The comics know how you did it because they’ve watched you take a premise about [00:39:00] doorknobs. And shave it down to a 30 second joke. That is absolutely brilliant. Audience doesn’t know that audience doesn’t need to know that.
[00:39:10] Rodney Veal: No, they don’t need to know that you.
[00:39:12] Cause you’re never going to stop on a stage and say, let me, let me break this down to you. It took three weeks to figure out how to do this combination.
[00:39:18] Jesse Nutt: Actually. Now at open mics, I have done that. I have pulled the curtain back on jokes and told them folks, thank you. This is the first time I’ve ever done this joke.
[00:39:27] You gave birth to it. Thank you. Or tell them, I just changed that up. Thank you. Cause it’s open Mike. You know, I mean, I’ll let them in, but now if it’s a regular show, Oh, hell no. I mean, tell them nothing. You don’t need to know. You don’t need to know how hard you don’t need to know. You’re here for the magic, so I’m delivering the magic, and that’s what I want you to believe.
[00:39:46] I want you to believe that it just happened. It just happens.
[00:40:33] Rodney Veal: So I have a question because, you know, about the evolution of comedy because you’ve been at this. Yeah. Like, what has changed as far as the delivery of comedy? Not much. When you started. So now, I mean, is this something?
[00:40:50] Jesse Nutt: Is there a lot more avenues?
[00:40:52] There are a lot of changes. Okay. The lot less gatekeepers. Thank you. There are a lot more, a lot more [00:41:00] opportunities for all comics, not just a certain type of comic that has been unbelievably refreshing. It has helped comedy because you’re getting a lot more female voices. You’re getting a lot more people of color.
[00:41:19] You’re getting a lot of representation from the LBGTQ community, a ton more than you ever would have back in the day, period. Okay. Now comics can actually be courageous and be who they are. Rather than have to fit in the box, have to fit in the framework to get the work. Then if you got to a certain level, then you could be who you are.
[00:41:44] Now you can come in being who you are owning your truth. And that’s good enough. If you’re funny, there are clubs that will work you now where they couldn’t have before. They simply couldn’t have. That is the change. That is the ultimate. That’s a [00:42:00] huge change. That is huge. The internet flattened the mountain.
[00:42:04] Okay. And what I mean by that is when I started you had to climb the Comedy Mountain. That meant you started wherever you were like, like Dayton, Ohio. Dayton, Ohio. Okay. Then the next step you had to go on the road. Mm-hmm. round the country. Playing everywhere. Okay. That got you halfway up the mountain. Then you had to make a decision.
[00:42:24] Chicago, New York, LA, San Francisco. You’re moving to one of these places. That’s the next step. Then from there, you make the big move, the move to Los Angeles. Okay. But you’ve had to climb this mountain and you’ve met all these other climbers on the way so that by the time you get to LA. Most of the gatekeepers already know you doesn’t mean they’re going to open the gate, but at least they know they’re aware of you.
[00:42:49] They’re aware of you. Okay. So all of those things were, and this was not, this was rigid. Didn’t matter where you’re a black comic, white comic, [00:43:00] female comic. This was the mountain you had to climb. This is the only way. Now, was it harder for a black comic or a female comic? Hell yeah. They throw rocks from the top of the mountain to you.
[00:43:10] But that was the mountain. The internet flattened that completely flattened it. So you could be a comic. In Dayton, Columbus, Dubuque, Iowa, right? You could set up a podcast, a YouTube channel or whatever, and the audience that couldn’t find you before now has found you. Dane Cook is a, a example is somebody who early embraced the internet Yeah.
[00:43:40] For marketing. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And he literally grew his career into Superstardom. Kevin Hart too. Both of these guys, long before it was popular, these were two guys I knew for a fact. All the other comics after a show, They went out to party. They went out to do this, that these [00:44:00] guys went back to their rooms with a stack of three by five cards.
[00:44:03] They got from the audience and input all the data so that the next time they came to salt lake city, they sent out an email a month in advance. Hey, I’m coming to salt lake city. Hope to see you at the show. Bing. Interesting. So suddenly now comics had power. They never had before, not at their disposal without huge amounts of expense.
[00:44:27] Those are probably the biggest changes. Again, I think, I think it’s refreshing that there’s more content a more wide variety of content that audiences can find what makes them laugh rather than having Hollywood or networks telling them, which is really a gatekeeper, which is telling you. What you will laugh at. If you think about, you know, back in the last century or even before, you know, when cable was out, there were limited windows where you could see [00:45:00] comedy, right?
[00:45:01] And so you only saw the comics that got through the gate. Now you can see all the comics. So now suddenly, which I, you can, I can always tell when Hollywood gets pissed off about something and they’re real pissed off about the fact they don’t get to anoint comics anymore. That the public anoints comics now.
[00:45:27] Rodney Veal: They hate that the audience is dictating content, which I don’t think Hollywood’s figured that out yet.
[00:45:32] Jesse Nutt: Oh no, they hate it.
[00:45:34] Rodney Veal: You know, it goes beyond comedy because like Netflix, I’m going, I don’t need to see the same. I don’t need to see a police procedural. They’re all the same. They’re all the same, but the police procedural for Norway is a little different.
[00:45:51] And I’m intrigued because it made enough of it being a little different. Who knew? Who would have thought? Who would have thought? Like, [00:46:00] I was thinking about this yesterday. Who would have thought that a show about a black French thief Oh, would
[00:46:09] Jesse Nutt: lupin lupin. Yes.
[00:46:11] Rodney Veal: Would be the most thrilling. I was like, I can’t wait to dive into season three, you know, cause I’m like, Oh my goodness.
[00:46:19] Yeah. Because I realized that the gatekeepers and networks never understood. Good is good. Good is good. You he’s charismatic. I mean, I’m thinking he’s no less charismatic than Brad Pitt, George Clooney combined. What’s your problem? He just speaks French.
[00:46:38] Jesse Nutt: And see, and that’s the beauty of this new world is the gatekeepers can no longer decide on taste.
[00:46:49] Now that taste is dictated by the masses, by what people like, okay, look, this guy’s name is Russell Peters. Russell Peters is one of the [00:47:00] biggest comics in the world. He is still relatively unknown in the United States. Only because he’s huge in the rest of the world. And if there’s one thing Hollywood hates, it’s anybody who’s so big, they don’t need you.
[00:47:18] Rodney Veal: They don’t need your process.
[00:47:19] Jesse Nutt: Okay. Don’t need it. Literally jumping through the hoop. Okay. Which is really interesting. Russell Peters can write a check and make the bank bounce. So he doesn’t need Hollywood. So Hollywood hates that they can’t stand it because forever they controlled comedy. And they controlled the comics that got through.
[00:47:40] Okay. And so, yeah, now suddenly it’s not, you know, whether you got invited to the couch on Johnny Carson or any of that. Now it’s totally how many butts can you put in seats?
[00:47:54] Rodney Veal: How many clicks can you get somebody to watch on YouTube? I mean, this is that difference of where [00:48:00] technology. And that flattening, which it’s Thomas Friedman.
[00:48:05] I mean, you’re just basically just got every Thomas Friedman telling us the world is flat.
[00:48:09] Jesse Nutt: The world is flat.
[00:48:10] Rodney Veal: It’s like, come on, folks, just let’s, let’s not get a twisted about how it can expand that you can be in Dayton, Ohio.
[00:48:17] Oh yeah. And people. Listening, watching all over the world, all over the world, all over the world. Let that be very clear. Like it can happen.
[00:48:27] Jesse Nutt: Yeah. And now there are no barriers. That’s the one thing I would tell any comic. Okay. When I started, there were tons of barriers. You had to, you know, flaming hoops.
[00:48:39] You had to jump through and all this they’re gone. Truthfully, you could have agoraphobia and never leave your house and blow up. There’s no reason you can’t, the only thing stopping you is you, how much do you want this?
[00:48:54] Again, it sounds overly simple, but it is that simple. How much do you want this?
[00:48:59] Rodney Veal: How bad, [00:49:00] how much, that is the ultimate phrase. How bad do you want it? How, how much do you
[00:49:04] Jesse Nutt: How much do you want it? Yeah. Okay. This was the only thing I ever wanted to do. Were there other things in my life I knew I could do?
[00:49:11] Sure. This is the only thing I want to do. Okay. So this was the thing that fueled me, consumed me. I got in trouble at, at my college, Christian college, because one of the performances I did there, I did impressions of the local ministers. Which were spot on, by the way.
[00:49:33] Rodney Veal: I am loving.
[00:49:35] Jesse Nutt: Spot on.
[00:49:36] Rodney Veal: Wow.
[00:49:37] Jesse Nutt: Oh, yeah.
[00:49:38] Rodney Veal: They were like, oh.
[00:49:39] Jesse Nutt: Well, no, that one wasn’t the one that got me in trouble. The one that really got me in trouble was, and this, this is when I decided I couldn’t be a Christian comic. Because they asked me, now the institution I went to, asked me if I would do a comedy. Because I’ve never been, you know, Secretive about I want to be a comic so any chance I got to [00:50:00] perform I did it.
[00:50:01] So they came, asked me, would I do a short comedy skit for this convention of student officers from all the Christian colleges from all over the country? I said, sure, I’d love to. Bless them from God. Okay. Now, this being the church. Every joke I told had to be run through the board, which it was in advance.
[00:50:25] They greenlit everything. Cool. I do my thing. I get some laughs. I think this is great. You know, maybe I’ll do the Christian comic thing, right? Three weeks later. President of the institution secretary sends for me. And she hands me a letter and says, I knew nothing about this. I opened the letter and it’s a letter, official college letterhead.
[00:50:49] It went out to every single college, every single officer, every single president apologizing. For my ethnocentric [00:51:00] remarks. Now I’m pretty smart, but I had no idea what ethnocentric meant. So I had to go look that up. And then when I looked it up I also didn’t understand, you know, all publicity is good publicity.
[00:51:11] This gut punched me. Okay. Cause this letter also went home. Oh, so I get a call a couple days later and my parents were used to this by now. And I was used to it too. That what did you do this time? And I’m like, I didn’t do it. You know, I literally had to explain all this and they were just sure I did something.
[00:51:30] I, you know, dropped an F bomb to this day. I don’t know what I did or who I pissed off, but that was like, Nope. I’m never going through that again. Ever. Wow. And that was when I said, no, it’s a club for me. It’s no, I will never have the saints do me like that again ever. But yeah, that’s, that, that’s one of my comedy stories before I was a comic where it really was almost as if I had a sign from heaven.
[00:51:58] Yeah. You’re supposed to be doing this.
[00:51:59] Rodney Veal: You’re supposed to be [00:52:00] doing this.
[00:52:00] Jesse Nutt: You’re absolutely supposed to be doing this.
[00:52:01] Rodney Veal: The fact that you got a president to write a letter.
[00:52:03] Jesse Nutt: I still look for that. I look in, yeah. You know, I want to find a copy of it because I just want to post it on the internet or whatever like this
[00:52:13] Rodney Veal: Because they could get real serious.
[00:52:14] Jesse Nutt: Well, and and again, you know, it tripped me out because It was the first time that I learned the hard way art can provoke and one of the functions of art, especially one of the functions of comedy art is to Provoke that’s what I think is in danger right now in comedy.
[00:52:36] Rodney Veal: Okay, I was gonna ask you about that.
[00:52:38] Jesse Nutt: A lot of people don’t like the fact that the art form is supposed to provoke. Yeah, that’s part of our job.
[00:52:48] We’re supposed to be truth tellers and sometimes the truth is very hard to hear. Very hard, very difficult.
[00:52:53] Okay. Sometimes we have to drag society forward and society doesn’t want to come forward. Sometimes [00:53:00] society wants to stay where it is. We have to pull it forward. Okay. That’s always been the rule and the objective of the artist. And it’s not just us. It happens in dance. It’s happened in visual, okay. In poetry film.
[00:53:16] Sometimes we, the artists must be the vehicle to move society forward. And sometimes the easiest way for society to deal with pain is through laughter. Yep. Okay. And the very idea that you’re going to try and attack, and I’ve always said comedy. Is always attacked from both the left and the right. The left wants to attack on ethical grounds.
[00:53:43] The right wants to attack on moral grounds, but they both want the same thing. Control. They want to decide who you get to make jokes about and the framework of those jokes and how those jokes can be [00:54:00] told. And then of course we’ll have to put them through a truth o meter because you know, all jokes have to be true.
[00:54:06] Rodney Veal: Which is, which is that interesting comment of like, like That controversy, which was so relatively short lived about Hasan Minhaj.
[00:54:17] Jesse Nutt: In the new issue of the Atlantic monthly. They’re talking about, they have a specific article about comics only care about comedy, kind of a sideways diss based on, we don’t care about truth.
[00:54:28] Rodney Veal: It’s almost like ignoring the history of comedy. Well, Jonathan Winters told the truth. The Smothers brothers told the truth
[00:54:34] Jesse Nutt: I hate to be the one to tell them.
[00:54:36] Shakespeare really didn’t see fairies. Okay. Yeah. He made that up. He made it up.
[00:54:41] Rodney Veal: But he also made pointed commentaries about. Politics, power, foolishness of the arrogance, the arrogance, the hubris, you know, it’s like, it’s like, come on folks.
[00:54:54] Jesse Nutt: It all comes back to this idea that if you can [00:55:00] find a reason to silence what you don’t like or understand, you’re going to run with it.
[00:55:05] That to me is the downside of the internet is it has empowered. A lot of people who can’t do what we do to criticize, to attack, to malign, to diminish, to minimize because they either, again, don’t understand it and can’t control it.
[00:55:28] Rodney Veal: And seeing it through a lens that, that sense of control, that lens that I’m always confused by, like.
[00:55:35] My phrase has always been, don’t read the comments. Yeah. Like when you’re online, just don’t even read the comments. Cause it’s like, you will be pissed off. Well, and I’m, and it could be just anything. It’d be, it could be like, Louis is watching an innocuous clip and you see these comments, you’re like, Oh, so, so all the PhDs in, but some people, comedy under like dissecting.
[00:55:58] I’m like, are you kidding [00:56:00] me?
[00:56:00] Jesse Nutt: That’s the, again, that to me is the downside of the internet is. Now, everyone is an educated critic, everyone’s opinion has carries the same weight, which it does not.
[00:56:13] Rodney Veal: It does not. Yeah. I’m a firm believer of that too.
[00:56:15] Jesse Nutt: And you know, it can, that’s the only downside I think of, of modern comedy is comics.
[00:56:21] You got to get a thick skin real fast because if you’re going to put. Your stuff online, it is going to generate some really nasty responses from people who have no interest in whether or not you’re funny. Okay.
[00:56:38] Rodney Veal: Just are attacking to attack.
[00:56:39] Jesse Nutt: Yeah. They’re just attacking to attack. Okay. Cause not everybody goes to a NASCAR race to see a race.
[00:56:44] Some people want to see a crash and that’s, those people are. Out there and they sit in a basement and wait for you to post something on tiktok or facebook or wherever so they can pounce. So you the comic you got to develop a thick [00:57:00] skin to where you don’t really care you have to be in love with your art you’ve got to be confident in your voice and what you’re doing and the only way you get there is by work That is the only way, okay, there is no shortcut.
[00:57:20] Rodney Veal: There is none to make it.
[00:57:22] Jesse Nutt: There is no show in this world that you don’t have to put the work in. That’s where the confidence comes from, especially as a comic, because you’re consistently trying these jokes out on an audience. You know, if it works. You know, if a joke works, because by the time you’ve fashioned it and got it ready, you’ve told it 30, 40 times.
[00:57:42] Yeah. So then I tell it another hundred times. So now if I tell it and an audience doesn’t buy it, okay, I’m upset. They don’t buy it, but I’m shaking that off because I already know this joke is money.
[00:57:55] Rodney Veal: You’ve already vetted it, right?
[00:57:57] Jesse Nutt: Because it’s already vetted. I know this joke is money. [00:58:00] Y’all may not like it because y’all are pissed off about, you know, Friday payday.
[00:58:06] Yeah. Whatever. But, and that’s cool. So that’s, you only get there by work. You only get there by work. That much has not changed about comedy. It will not change. Yeah. The internet’s made it easier and all this. But the fundamentals, yeah, the fundamentals must still be adhered to. You still have to put in the work, whether you write with your phone, a pen and a pad of paper, you know, you want to go all John Nash and keep it all in your head, beautiful mind, whatever, whatever, but you’re still going to put in the work.
[00:58:39] You have to, because. That’s, that’s the way you get good. And it’s also the way you get the artistic piece to deal with the rejection. I think dancers have this in common with comics. I think musicians do too. You get live performers. It’s all [00:59:00] live. Before you hear no, a hundred times more than you hear. Yes, this is so real.
[00:59:06] Okay. And if you get your feelings hurt by no quit now.
[00:59:12] Rodney Veal: You should definitely quit now.
[00:59:14] Jesse Nutt: Pull the plug. Stop. Cause you’re going to hear no. You know. Oh, you’re not just going to hear it. No. You’re going to hear hell no. You’re going to hear. We just don’t think or my favorite, we decided to go in a different, which we’re going in a different direction.
[00:59:27] My personal favorite is you ain’t hardly even started and they go, thank you. Thank you. Yeah. Literally two feet on the stage. Thank you. They are done with you. Done.
[00:59:40] Okay. Yeah. That’s done. That’s real. Okay.
[00:59:43] Done. Right. Right. But, but thank you. I said, thank. And I said, you, that’s you go, go. Yeah. Let’s know. So yeah, if you’re not ready for that, if you’re not mentally prepared for it, or if that’s not something you really want to get [01:00:00] down with.
[01:00:01] Don’t get into the performing arts because that’s what you’re going to hear. Right. Okay. Yeah. Eddie Murphy. Here’s no. Okay. Yeah. Idris Elba. No, no.
[01:00:12] Yeah. The rock.
[01:00:14] No. This is what you hear.
[01:00:16] I don’t care how big you get. Yeah, you’re going to hear no more than you hear. Yes. If that is a problem, if that is a stumbling block, get out now, get out while your feelings are intact.
[01:00:27] Rodney Veal: Yeah. I think people see the, the, the YouTube clips, they see the, the comic on TV or in some sort of media presence and they think.
[01:00:37] Oh, that’s the goal that, you know, I can do that. It was like, no, no, no. The vehicle. Yeah. We, everybody has access to the vehicle.
[01:00:49] Jesse Nutt: And, and I’d be the first one to tell young comics, okay.
[01:00:52] Yeah. If Netflix or something like that is your objective, are you sure you’re really ready to invest what it will [01:01:00] take now? I know dancers have this in common or I’m, I’m fairly certain. Most artists have this in common. You’re going to sacrifice relationships. You’re going to sacrifice at least one or two good jobs, jobs that had a long term future, and you’re going to have to make a decision between your art and this job.
[01:01:21] This is going to happen. These things are going to happen to you. The artist, if that’s not something you’re ready for, if, if you’re not ready for a girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse to literally say to you, you got to choose it’s me or this, or this.
[01:01:41] Rodney Veal: That is real.
[01:01:42] Okay, folks. That’s 100 percent real.
[01:01:44] Jesse Nutt: It’s 100 percent real.
[01:01:45] And if you’re not ready for it, if you think, well, it won’t happen to me, you know, Leroy loves me. Barbara loves me. you, let me tell you,
[01:01:53] do not be confused about what you’re going to have to put in to this life. Yeah. [01:02:00] Okay. And if you think, you know, Oh, fame, I want to be famous. No, you don’t know. You really don’t. The best part about I think being in comedy as long as I have is I’ve gotten to meet quite a few famous people. Fame is the counterfeit for importance.
[01:02:19] You can be famous and not be important and you can be important and never be famous. Okay, never, never. And it doesn’t, it has no impact on your importance. Most people outside of the acting community don’t know who Stella Adler is. Okay. But inside the acting community, they know who she is. Yeah. Okay.
[01:02:40] Outside of dance. Most people don’t know Geraldine Blunton. They don’t recognize that name from anything inside of it. Let me tell you something. You can say DC, DC, anywhere in the world, and they know what you’re talking about. Okay. Yeah. So again, I, I’ve never [01:03:00] thought that fame is all that great, especially after seeing it from this side.
[01:03:04] Rodney Veal: That’s interesting. Like that, that, that perspective.
[01:03:08] It’s, it’s no, no, it is no joke.
[01:03:11] Jesse Nutt: A complete loss of privacy. Everybody’s looking to one up you or betray you because they can sell some kind of BS to TMZ. Yeah. Okay. You don’t know who to trust. You don’t know who’s on your side, who’s not on your side.
[01:03:29] Rodney Veal: You don’t know that even a meeting that you think went well, right. Is that didn’t
[01:03:33] go well.
[01:03:34] Jesse Nutt: And to me, the worst part is you can’t even go to Waffle House. That’s true. Okay. You can’t go to Waffle House. You can’t go to old country buffet. You can’t take your kids to the trampoline place without people tripping.
[01:03:47] Okay. Literally without people tripping. Yeah. So no, fame should be the last thing you want. Okay. If, if you, the comic see fame up close or you, the artist see fame [01:04:00] up close, you won’t want it.
[01:04:01] Rodney Veal: And you have to have your eyes open when you, when it’s up close. Like if you’re on this side of the fence, you have got to understand that somebody might roll down their window and shout at you, Hey, aren’t you the art show guy?
[01:04:16] And you just walk in. And you’re just going, what just happened? Why? What? That was enough of a taste for me to shut her down. I was like, shut it down. Now, it’s like, Much more protective of private time.
[01:04:30] Jesse Nutt: Well, because once you lose it, you don’t get it back.
[01:04:33] Rodney Veal: You don’t get it back and there are expectations.
[01:04:36] Jesse Nutt: Yeah, there are expectations. And, and again, and that’s the problem. The expectation is the public thinks they own you. So you don’t get to have a quiet meal. I don’t care where you are. Somebody’s selfie or an autograph or this or that. And if you dare say no, Wow. Now you’re the jerk.
[01:04:54] Rodney Veal: You’re the jerk.
[01:04:54] Jesse Nutt: That’s the part I think that a lot of people don’t understand about when you transcend as an [01:05:00] artist, that’s the price you pay.
[01:05:02] Yeah. And that’s a hell of a price to pay.
[01:05:05] Rodney Veal: And you better know why you’re there. Yeah, and that’s what I mean. You better know why you’re up on the stage tellin’ comedy.
[01:05:12] Jesse Nutt: Yeah, what is your objective? What is your goal?
[01:05:14] Rodney Veal: Every person we’ve interviewed so far has all said the same thing.
[01:05:19] It’s like, you know, Joey Monda, he’s a… He’s youngest Broadway… Tony award winning producer went to Wright state, he went to Wright state for musical theater. Well, what he realized was I’m never going to be on that stage, but I know what it, what works on that stage. And that was the skill he developed.
[01:05:44] Jesse Nutt: Some of the best comedy bookers are former comics because they understand comedy. Yeah. They understand what to listen for. They understand what to look for. Yeah. And some of the best modern playwrights have been stand up comics who realized that [01:06:00] their real talent, Judd Apatow, was writing great scripts, not necessarily performing.
[01:06:08] Yeah. So, you know, it’s like so many things. You may start here and think, okay, I’m supposed to be going here, but then life takes a turn and it takes a turn. And it. point you in a new direction that you should have been going in the whole time. You know, now me, I’m lucky, I guess I’ll be doing this until either I get the ultimate, which is like, I think his name was Dick Sean and maybe three others comics who have died on stage during their act.
[01:06:45] Dick Sean was on, I think it was a college campus. He was on, he was doing this act. He died. They thought it was part of the act. Yeah, that’s how I want to go. That’s really, I want to go. Not really, but not really. [01:07:00] But,
[01:07:01] but yeah, if I had to go.
[01:07:04] Rodney Veal: This is not like y’all over the sun, you was like, I’ve decided to become a car salesman.
[01:07:08] Jesse Nutt: No, no, no. It’s funny, now see. When you bring that up, there’s a joke that I would love to retire out of my act, but I can’t. I still may, but I do this joke and I do it because I tell everybody basically the premise is, you know what? I appreciate you guys coming out, but this is my last show. I’m retiring from comedy.
[01:07:31] I’m going to become a professional Bigfoot hunter. premise of the joke. To this very day, when I do that joke, I will come off stage, both comics and audience members will walk up and go, You’re not really retiring, are you? No, I’m not really retired. It’s a damn joke.
[01:07:51] Rodney Veal: Well, first of all, To be a bigfoot hunter.
[01:07:55] Oh, yeah, that part should have told you it was a joke.
[01:07:58] Jesse Nutt: You would think oh, no [01:08:00] one would think no No, they really buy that I’m retiring and you know, I’ve been tell it’s one of it’s the only joke in my act currently that is more than Ten years old. I won’t I will not tell any of my old stuff Which is weird because it’s funny real quick.
[01:08:20] I know we’re running out of time This is the payoff for a comic to me, the biggest payoff. There’s two big payoffs in comedy. If you’re a standup, I’ll tell them both. One, I was sitting in Wiley’s a couple of weeks ago, and somebody walked up and said, Hey, I’m a friend of, it was another comic that I’m good friends with.
[01:08:40] So I’m a friend of so and so. He said, I could come over and talk to her. I said, yeah, sure. So I just want you to know. That one of your jokes still makes me laugh and the joke she told is a joke I haven’t told for 25 years. It’s, I mean, it was one of my [01:09:00] first closers. It’s a great joke. I love it. But she says it still makes her laugh when she’s stuck in traffic.
[01:09:06] It’s a joke about being stuck in traffic and it still makes her laugh to this very day. I’m like, I have not told that joke in 20, you still remember it. She said, Oh yeah, every time I’m stuck in traffic, it makes me laugh. Like I can leave now. I’ve done my job. I’ve given someone something that is a gift that keeps giving.
[01:09:28] They can keep having this wonderful experience forever. And I don’t even tell the joke anymore. But the best one, the best comedy experience to me as a standup and most standups will tell this story. They have a variation of it came off a show. I think it was in Finley or Toledo, somewhere up north, and this woman walks up, says, I just want to tell you, thank you for a great.
[01:09:56] I’m like, yeah, okay, welcome. Well, you need [01:10:00] to understand. I was at a funeral today, yeah. And I was not coming to this show and they drug me to this show. You have changed. Literally my entire day and you really don’t know how to respond to that. You just kind of like, Oh, thank you. But they’re dead serious.
[01:10:19] I mean, you really have changed the trajectory of where they were and every comic that I know has a very, you know, I just got to sign my divorce papers today. You know, my kids just moved out today, you know that kind of thing and coming to this show. Let me know. It’s going to be okay. It’s the ultimate thank you.
[01:10:42] And that’s why, that’s why I love this art. That’s why I love this art form is because every now and then you can be a part of. Experience that someone will have, which they’ll, they’ll continue to have for the rest of their lives. Like seeing [01:11:00] a great piece of art, like hearing a piece of music that connects with you.
[01:11:05] Rodney Veal: Sends you. Transcends.
[01:11:06] Jesse Nutt: Yeah. It transcends you every day. Yeah, it literally transcends. It becomes a part of your coping mechanism of how you deal with life. You get that you got it all and that’s, I’m thankful. I’m overwhelmingly thankful that I’ve ever had that experience. You know, I’ll never be famous. Don’t want to be, I’ll never be rich.
[01:11:30] Would like to be, but okay. But what I am is funny and I’m cool with that because that puts me in the 1 percent of the 1%.
[01:11:40] Rodney Veal: There you go.
[01:11:42] Jesse Nutt: And, and that’s. Kind of, sort of all are really, well, I did want Halle Berry, but other than that, I, you know, being funny will have to do.
[01:11:53] Rodney Veal: Will have to do.
[01:11:54] Jesse Nutt: Cause I don’t think, I don’t think my Akron home girls returning my calls.
[01:11:59] Rodney Veal: I love [01:12:00] it.
[01:12:00] All right. This is awesome. Thank you, Jesse. This is, this is how you do it, folks. This is a pleasure. An absolute pleasure. See, so you need to go see comedy live. You need to go see Jesse doing comedy live.
[01:12:12] Jesse Nutt: October 21st.
[01:12:14] Okay. If it comes on before that, I’ll be at a ranch or somewhere out in New Carlisle. Again, I’m performing outside. What the hell? These outdoor gigs. I love it, but yeah, thank you loved it. Had a great time. Love to do it again. Go comedy.