Published on September 25th, 2012 | by Jessica Mickey0
The Corporate Juggernaut Tour Explores the New South
Let’s face it. Other than Atlanta and the occasional Chuckle Hut or Yuk Ranch of mid-sized towns off of I-95, there aren’t that many opportunities for alternative comics to perform in the South. Well, at least that was the case 10 years ago. Luckily, the alt-comedy crowd has always been a creative bunch with an independent DIY spirit, taking a page from their resourceful musical peers. After all, there really is something to that old adage that comedians are just failed musicians, and vice-versa.
In Nashville, Tenn., Corporate Juggernaut has found its niche within a town better known for its rock ‘n’ roll roots than self-deprecating one-liners. Founders Gary Fletcher and James Austin Johnson, in association with popular music venue the High Watt, are the driving force behind Nashville’s alt-comedy scene, performing with local comics themselves, as well as bringing in such hip favorites Rory Scovel, Pete Holmes, and Kyle Kinane. The duo is currently in the midst of a nine-city tour of the deep South along with fellow Nashvillian (yes, that’s actually what they’re called) Jane Borden, a one-time staple of the New York comedy scene and author of the recently published book, I Totally Meant To Do That.
Metronome caught up with the road-tripping trio as they drove along the Ocoee River and found out what they have in store for their 10 p.m. stand-up show this Friday, Sept. 28 at Theatre 99. We think they may have been a little loopy.
Metronome: For someone unfamiliar with the Corporate Juggernaut tour, how would you describe? What can the Charleston audience expect?
Corporate Juggernaut Tour: Well, the only reason we’re doing any of this is sell timeshares for Westgate. And perhaps, secondly, we’re excited that the people in these fine cities want to see us do our kind of comedy. Charleston can expect little-to-no political humor and a lot more enlightened silliness. So long as they sign that Westgate contract.
Metronome: What challenges have you encountered performing stand-up in Nashville, which is heavily considered a music town, as compared to a more comedy friendly city such as Chicago or New York?
Corporate Juggernaut Tour: We think indie music and standup kind of go hand in hand. The city’s been really supportive of what Corporate Juggernaut does, which is more in line with the alt-comedy scene that didn’t really exist before in Nashville. The truth is, with the music scene being so congested, we’ve found people want a break from all of it but still wanna go out. They wanna see something different that feels familiar, and comedy in rock clubs is in that unique position.
Metronome: Now that you are more than halfway through your tour, which is focused within the Southeast, do you find that most audiences are challenging or do they seem more progressive for the most part, bucking that whole Southern stereotype?
Corporate Juggernaut Tour: This is the New South. That phrase “the South will rise again” is happening, except it’s cultural not armed. We’ve had a lot of fun so far with the audiences, and most people are willing to follow us with however weird or silly we wanna get on the show. We did have one guy in camo overalls come to the show, but he loved all our references to Kant and Dadaist performance art. We think his name was Booger.
Metronome: There has always been this attitude that if you want to do comedy, you have to go to New York, Los Angeles, etc. Do you think theory that still holds up? Do you have any advice for young comedians that don’t have the means to move to a “big comedy” city?
Corporate Juggernaut Tour: Yes. It does. But Corporate Juggernaut started when there were next to no stages in Nashville. And now there are next to none! In the short term, our advice would be do the work. The process for starting comedy is pretty universal. Ask somebody if they’ll put you on a show or let you put one on yourself, put on the show, repeat. As many times as you can. You’re also never too young (or too old) to start. “Just do it!”—that’s a slogan we made up a long, long time ago. In the long term, be nice. Be funny. Work hard. Play harder. No rules — Outback. Which is another slogan we made up. Without being too cheesy, we love what we do, and we do it for you. That’s the Westgate Way. Callback!
The Corporate Juggernaut Tour takes place at Theatre 99 (280 Meeting St.) at 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28. Tickets are available for $8. Visit theatre99.com and corporatejuggernaut.com for more information.
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