Interview: Nate Varrone

Smart, nerd-friendly comedy is all the rage these days, and with that in mind, Chicago-based comedian and improvisor Nate Varrone crafted a new solo sketch show entitled Nate Varrone: Elite Intellectuel Comedian, premiereing tonight, Thursday, September 11th at CIC Theater. The show runs Thursdays through October 2nd and features exclusively smart, serious comedy that isn't silly.

In anticipation of tonight's premiere, I spoke with Nate about his background as a performer and about the creation of this new show.

The Steamroller: When and why did you start performing comedy?

Nate Varrone: Great question. I started performing comedy in my mother's womb. You see...I never chose comedy. Comedy chose me. But as far as like doing shows and writing and stuff, 3 weeks ago. 

TS: Who are some of your favorite collaborators? Who inspires you?

Nate: Great question. Hold on. Let me look up what "collaborators" means. Okay, I just looked up the definition in the Ox Ford Dictionary. Also, why would Ford make cars and then make dictionaries too. Weird. Okay, yes. I hate collaborating with others. INSPIRATION. Hm. I'm inspired by most vegetables, Albert Einstein, and Charna.

TS: When crafting this new show, was there some sort of outlook or through line you had in mind or did things happen organically?

Nate: Great question. The whole show came to me in a dream, kinda. Actually I just wrote the whole show out. None of it was in the dream. Disregard the dream thing. Sorry. Actually no, I'm not sorry. 

TS: You're working with Scott Goldstein for this new show. How did you two come to work together? 

Nate: This question is okay. Not too into this one. Scott...yes. I was actually unaware he was my director until opening week. I thought he was just a guy that was following me around eating buffalo chicken wings. Yeah, he's...okay. I don't really want to talk about Scott. Next question, please. 

TS: I really really like the poster for the show. Did you design it?

Nate: No...next question please. 

TS: What do you expect of your audience when performing your solo sketch work? 

Nate: Great question. I expect nothing from my audience except I expect everything from them at the same time. But mostly nothing because their all stupid and won't get what I'm doing. 

TS: What do you hope they take away from your show?

Nate: Great question but very similar to the one before this. I hope they take away an autograph. You'll see if you come to the show. It'll make sense after you come to the show. That thing about autographs will make sense. If you come see my show. Well, thank you, Matt! I really appreciate this interview. Can't wait to be in the Chicago Tribune!