Breaking: Comedy barker admits to being "kind of a prick"
But he's funny, so all is forgiven. In this week's Public Eye, the barker for Beauty Bar Comedy, Nate Fridson, reveals why he does what he does
Fri Nov 8 2013
Nate Fridson, 30
Photograph: Marielle Solan
So you’re barking for your comedy show? Yep. Myself, Adam Sokol and Brad Austin produce this stand-up show at Beauty Bar every Sunday. It’s usually about six or seven comics total, who we like or are doing really well in New York. And the onus is on us to get people into the audience.
Give me your elevator pitch. Free comedy show, cheap drinks, good comics. Very simple. It’s a great bar, and there’s no drink minimum. The three of us have our own styles of barking—we’re like a three-headed barking monster.
Like that three-headed dog in Hades? Exactly, we’re like the dog in Hades. Adam is very sweet and polite; Brad is the charming, handsome face of the Beauty Bar barkers; and I’m, like, really kind of a prick.
How so? I’m likely to insult someone if they don’t acknowledge us—I just try to engage them in any way. Last night, for instance, I told someone that I thought her hat was stupid, and she told me, “You can go straight to hell, and I’m never coming to this show.”
Wow, that is not the strategy I would’ve expected. If I do it the right way, it’ll get people to laugh. When we’re outside barking, we’re kind of warming up for the show. When the other comics come, it shows them that we care enough that we are willing to stand outside and humiliate ourselves to fill the room. I’ve had people tell me that the best part of the show was watching us bark. I’m strangely proud of that.
Does insulting passersby ever blow up in your face? I’m surprised that people haven’t been meaner to us. People have, like, puffed their chests out at me like we were maybe going to get into a fight. But we’ve had a lot of people who are really awesome—and I’ve said all sorts of insulting things. Like, I met a couple and told them their relationship wasn’t gonna work. Anything to get someone’s attention.
My knee-jerk reaction if someone approaches me on the street is: They’re trying to sell me something, run! Yeah that’s the thing—we’re not actually trying to sell anyone anything. The show’s free. It’s really just that we take a lot of pride in our show, and we want comics to want to do it, so we want as many people there as possible.
Beauty Bar Comedy is at Beauty Bar (thebeautybar.com) every Sunday at 9pm; free.
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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)