As comedian and native Tennessean Nick Cobb makes his Houston debut, he has a few reasons to be
excited. “I’m a huge barbecue person,” Cobb concedes, “ but [West Coast] barbecue is crap. I’ve honestly had better stuff at the airport than I have in L.A. Good [barbecue] can make the travel worth it.”
While the grilled meats may be disappointing, L.A. has been good to Cobb. He’s appeared on Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing and Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and recently won the March Madness Competition at the Hollywood Improv. “I love the lifestyle that comes with living in a bigger city,” Cobb says. “I love the grind of being a comic. You can go from show to show to show. Different crowds, three-four shows in a night. That’s what I love to do.”
Citing stand-up influences like Dave Attell (“I’m not quite so blue”) and Brian Regan (“at 23, I listened
to his album on a loop”), Cobb defines himself as a “personal observationalist.” So, while not a strict “did you ever notice this?” type of funnyman, Cobb does try to imbue his material with an element of truth. “I’m not strictly an observation-based guy, as that tends to have nothing to do with your own life. Nowadays, if [your material’s] not personal, you’re going to accidently take someone else’s joke. And you won’t know till another comic tells you two years later.”
Delving further, Cobb reflects: “[Those true moments] always tend to be the most universal. You get a
lot more genuine understanding from people when you say something really specific from your life. Ironically, the most specific things are the most relatable. Whenever I have some observation about the general world, or whatever, I’m always very wary about investing any sort of time into [developing that material], because it’s probably been done."
On the difficulty of finding your audience, Cobb compares comedy to music. “Nobody’s a fan of all [types of] music. If you were walking down the street and you see a bunch of clubs, they wouldn’t just say MUSIC! – they’d say LIVE JAZZ or LIVE BLUES. [But] comedy doesn’t have that. Clubs don’t advertise DRY WIT or SARCASM.”
Despite Cobb’s decade in the stand-up realm, he continues to grapple with the delicate nature of crafting the perfect bit. “[A joke’s] never done!” Cobb exclaims. “The oldest bit that I have, I love it. I had stopped doing it [until] I recorded my album, and a friend of mine said, ‘That’s a great bit; haven’t seen it before.’ And then he said, ‘How about you try this?’ I added that in, and it worked perfectly. That’s
the best and worst thing about jokes. It’s not like The Last Supper where somebody can go back and paint another dude at the table. Bottom line is even if it’s worked a hundred times in a row, it could bomb tomorrow for no reason.”
Beyond his love of comedy, Cobb’s got a soft spot for his wife and newborn daughter. On Valentine’s Day, Cobb says, he was “doing a show while his wife was at Target buying lube.” As for his six-month-old, the family man admits, “the best benefit of having a baby is I head straight into the HOV lane.”
While Cobb certainly has a number of items on his career Bucket List (more late-night appearances and
performing in China, among others), there is one place you’ll never see this rising talent. “I never want to open for a band. That’s just terrible. People think it’s gonna be great, but never once have I heard of a comic having a good experience with a band. ’Cause if you’re going to see Journey, you don’t want to
see some guy talking about his kids,” the comic protests. “You just want 'Don’t Stop Believin''!”
February 22, 2016 | 8:30am
Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at. Joke Joint Comedy Showcase, 11460 Fuqua #300. For information, call 281-481-1188 or visit jokejointcomedyshowcase.com. $16.