Joe Bates is a hero. His absurdist confidence is only beaten out by his lack of understanding why he shouldn't have it. Currently in Indianapolis, Joe works regularly at Cracker's and is a writer for Bob and Tom.
Joe and I had a great talk about...
Joe Bates is a hero. His absurdist confidence is only beaten out by his lack of understanding why he shouldn't have it. Currently in Indianapolis, Joe works regularly at Cracker's and is a writer for Bob and Tom.
Joe and I had a great talk about Indianapolis comedy, his non-sequitur style, and writing foor Bob & Tom Show. We also discussed his new album and the work it takes to produce a comedy album.
Joe’s new album “Joe Bates By Joe Bates” comes out on January 22nd but you can preorder here:
Joe Bates by Joe Bates
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Joe Bates 1
[00:00:00] Scott Curtis: [00:00:00] AB BTB buddies. I found another great podcast for you. Still listen to this one, but here's another one live from Detroit. The Jeff Dwoskin show is really good. Jeff is a long time comedian and social media guru. He started that hashtag Roundup on Twitter, which is really neat. Anyway, live from Detroit.
The Jeff DWIs can show has everything pop culture, social media tips, interviews with great guests like Dave Landau, bill Dyer, and how sparks comedy bits do I sound like Stefan from SNL here. It's a good podcast. Listen to it. Instead of those big name podcasts, because independent podcasters try harder.
You can subscribe right from just website. Jeff is funny.com and you know what, let me know how much you like it because I think it's a great podcast. And I think you will to live from Detroit, the Jeff Dwoskin show. Check it out today. I've got a writer for nationally syndicated Bob and Tom show. He was a finalist [00:01:00] and trial by laughter and he's got a new album coming out on January 22nd.
And he's also got a civil engineering degree, so he's smart. I've got Joe Bates here with me, Joe. How you doing? Hello? I'm
Joe Bates: [00:01:15] doing all right, man. I can't complain. Like life is ever-changing, but somehow not at the same
Scott Curtis: [00:01:24] time, it's been different.
Joe Bates: [00:01:28] It's very diverse. It's pretty good. Thank you for having me on the show.
Scott Curtis: [00:01:34] Look to talk to you. You were actually introduced to me by Gabe Kia, who was he was just on the show and his his episode hasn't come out yet.
Joe Bates: [00:01:47] Yeah, he's a he's a super nice guy. We talk hockey when we hang out, he knows way more than I,
Scott Curtis: [00:01:54] I know you are. You're an ND. Now, are you originally from India?
Joe Bates: [00:01:58] No, I'm not. I was born in [00:02:00] West Virginia A. Long, long time ago. Moved like 14 times in my life started stand up comedy in Houston, Texas. About nine years ago, it was in San Jose for a couple Chicago for less than a year. And now Indianapolis for what seems to be forever.
Scott Curtis: [00:02:20] I was, I actually lived in ND for couple of years, but we talked about that. That was in the eighties, the mid eighties and Bob and Tom they were not syndicated yet, but they were big and and I listened to them every morning. So that's pretty cool.
Joe Bates: [00:02:36] Yeah. I honestly, when I first moved here, I didn't expect much of the city because I never heard anything about it.
You never really anybody from Indianapolis and then. I really fell in love with the city. It's great. I'm going to be moving soon cause I, my love is fleeting, but I hopefully go to New York later
Scott Curtis: [00:02:54] this year. Yep. That's I know people there too, [00:03:00] so that's neat. So when did you start doing standup?
Joe Bates: [00:03:04] About, I guess nine and a half years ago. My ten-year anniversary was going to be this summer, but I was 25 when I started technically I did do standup when I was 18 at the last stop and river Oaks in Houston, Texas. But Which is funny because you had the sound effect that played earlier in the middle of my said, somebody did make that sound effect of the sad trombone.
And I was like, I don't want to do this after seven years until I got back into it.
Scott Curtis: [00:03:36] It's funny. Sometimes I've talked to a lot of folks that they did. They went up really young and they were just mortified by it. They had PTSD, so they couldn't go back. They couldn't even go to a comedy club, but
Joe Bates: [00:03:48] yeah, I was wearing shorts.
I had like spiky hair. I was wearing like a short sleeve button down. I don't know who I was back then. Cause I was a Virgin. That's the one thing I know, but everything [00:04:00] else.
Scott Curtis: [00:04:02] Oh, that's funny. So when you started at w when you started back at 25, was there some sort of D did you have a goal? Did you, were you really digging comedy or did you just do another open mic?
Just for the hell of it?
Joe Bates: [00:04:17] My work I'm working to use it in my work sent me to San Antonio and I was at a hotel just by myself and there's a comedy club next door. They had an open mic. I was like, might not. So I go in. And I'm like last on the sign up sheet. And I sit there for three to four hours.
And when I had done it before, watch last comic standing, I looked like anybody could do it. I did the open mic that I bombed at where everybody killed, but me, which was like the last stop was like a really, just a unique, perfect place at the time. But I went and did it and I just watched everybody bomb and I was like, Oh, you just.
You just are bad. Yeah. I didn't know. You could be bad. And then when it's all you can be bad. I was like, [00:05:00] okay, I love doing this. And then as I did it for six months, I was like, okay what's the next step with doing this? What are you? And then I just started looking at that. And again, I still don't really know how to take steps or where to go, but.
I just keep doing it. And I really still been enjoying being on stage with this moment. So once that goes away, then I'll go to my second job as an engineer. Yeah. Yeah.
Scott Curtis: [00:05:27] It's funny when you finally realize that open mics are just supposed to be bad, then everything's better. And that then you get worried about the showcases and you find out they're supposed to be pretty bad too.
Joe Bates: [00:05:41] it really is. I was so focused and everything was so important. Like it was so fun and then everything got too important and then it wasn't that any more. And then when you figure out that it's not boring, then it gets fun again. And it just keeps going back and forth. Yeah. Those two feelings.
Scott Curtis: [00:05:59] Tell me [00:06:00] who your influences were. Why obviously people who want to get into comedy watch comedy and that's how they get into it. Who are your influences?
Joe Bates: [00:06:09] The first stand-up album I ever listened to was a button-down concert with Bob Newhart. And I still think it's like the best stand-up album ever made.
It's so perfect. But it was a lot of old school standup like Steve Martin, my dad loved Jackie Vernon. So Jackie was like a young age and everything. And when I started, I want to see me and it was more like I was trying to be like an old style stand up. But I think if you see my act now, Steve Martin probably heavily influences the most.
Cause I have a very like absurd cockiness to everything that I do want stay.
Scott Curtis: [00:06:48] Yeah. I really, the the The power the power thing, all the power moves. Yeah. Power moves. That's great.
Joe Bates: [00:06:56] Yeah. I like character work a lot too. Which a lot of people don't [00:07:00] realize is like, when there were a lot of character work, stand-ups like early on, it was like, Oh, that's different.
It's no, it's just reverting back to what I used
Scott Curtis: [00:07:11] to be. Yeah. Yeah. It's that, that was really cool. And were you really wearing your roommates suit?
Joe Bates: [00:07:20] I'm doing very well for myself. This is real life baby. But no, yeah, it's it's just it's funny. I like characters that have that get there, come up. Yeah. Everyone's Oh finally, this Mr. Quietly.
Scott Curtis: [00:07:34] Got it. So that's cool. One of the things I like to ask everybody, just because I read a lot and I listen a lot of podcasts and stuff like that.
Are you engaging in any reading, podcasts, magazines, music, anything that's really speaking to you and inspiring you?
Joe Bates: [00:07:53] It's tough to get. Inspiration from other mediums for me. Cause [00:08:00] lately I feel like the last couple of years, it's usually something I'm frustrated over that I'm finding comedy and when I'm writing for usually everything else is I get my mind off of all of it.
Just playing so much video games are in COVID and everything, which has been nice and relaxing. Cause I just did the album and it's nice to Vedge out afterwards. Yeah. Can you focus so much on that? And so I find like old school, it sounds so stupid. Like old school, like Japanese style RPGs on PlayStation, like PlayStation one, PlayStation, two classic games.
I don't read unless there's a lot of pictures and superheroes. I'm not good at that. In podcast, I. All the podcasts I listened to, or either about comic books or it's like sports and gambling related. I'm not doing very well at.
Scott Curtis: [00:08:56] So basically you're a dork, you're a typical comedian. So
[00:09:00] Joe Bates: [00:09:00] typical comedian under just a beautiful face.
Scott Curtis: [00:09:05] and I want to pop up your album cover real quick here. So we got that coming out the 22nd. Is there a, any a pre-order for that or anything going on?
Joe Bates: [00:09:16] Actually, it's gonna, the presale link has got to be up Friday. Sorry. Yeah, I just talked to, I did it with on tour records are super awesome to work with and very nice.
So yeah, they just sent me a text the early yesterday that it's going to come out the pre-selling it could be right. Okay,
Scott Curtis: [00:09:36] cool. I'll get into the album a little bit later. Let's talk about you being an engineer and getting into comedy. I. I deal with a lot of engineers because I'm in the it business. Yeah.
These engineers are like the furthest thing from being a comedian of anybody in the world. They're engineers in [00:10:00] general are. You know what engineering takes. It takes extreme focus on what you're doing and you take that home with you. It becomes your personality and it's just that extreme focus.
You can't be anything else. And then you become comic out of that. So let's talk about you being an engineer, obviously. That's what you went to school with and you did that. And so what are you still doing? The engineering.
Joe Bates: [00:10:27] A form of it was a civil engineer. I worked with like traffic and highway, not, I didn't really design roads, but just everything about the roadways and traffic that isn't designing the roads, like speed limits, stop signs, putting like stoplight, trying to figure all the wiring, all that.
That's what I was doing. I'm a licensed professional engineer. I've got a little, which That's done nothing for me. I can stamp things and get people killed and go to jail for it. But I'm not like my old manager would tell you I'm not an engineer. I don't have that [00:11:00] focus. When I first started working in civil engineering, I would see the people who are like, okay, that guy is where I'll be in five years, 10 years, 20 years.
And he is in the cubicle next to me. And it's like, what am I doing? It was just the miserable feeling, the feeling I'm going to be in this building the rest of my life. Luckily four years later I got into standup and that's filled that void of an outlet of doing something.
Cause I'm not, I don't have that drive that some people do for a day job, then working your way up and it all. No, this sounds very millennial of me, but it all seems pointless. Yeah. Cause I hit the, I put a report and it was a speed limit and we sent it to the city right outside of Houston.
We said the speed limit is going to be 50 miles per hour. And they're like, are you sure you look all pretty fast? Can you make it 55? And we wrote back yeah, we'll make it 55 miles per hour. That's [00:12:00] fine. It's not a big deal. And then they wrote back. The board is telling me that we should make it 50 for safety reasons.
So can we do, can we go back to 50? And we're like, sure. And it was like, it doesn't matter. Like I didn't to go out there for eight hours a day with a speed gun and take tallies of every speed and then take the 85th percentile of all this stuff. And I slept through most of it and just made it up so
Scott Curtis: [00:12:25] whatever you, they want it to be, I don't
Joe Bates: [00:12:28] care.
But now I knew more like a Microsoft I'm a cost engineer now. So I'm just basically doing finances and budgets for different companies, which is, I like it. I like that a lot more because at least money makes sense. More sense to me than. Yeah.
Scott Curtis: [00:12:47] So let's go back to your start when you did that open mic. So obviously something must have clicked for you there and you went on to keep on doing it. What was the, what was [00:13:00] it like getting from that open mic to like your first paying gig? What took you there?
Joe Bates: [00:13:07] That's just. Easiness to not quit,
honestly, like it was like, I had nothing else to do, so I'll just keep doing this. Cause I didn't, I just started drinking at 25. I didn't really drink until then. And this girl broke up with me, so I had no other outlet and everything. So I was like, I'll just focus on this. But man, it's tough.
Cause we. Me and my buddy, Kevin fair. And we had a friend dusty Rhodes that helped us out, but we put together a showcase, like an independent show, which wasn't being done at the time in Houston. And we were just like no, one's booking us. So we'll just do our own thing. We sold out the venue, like 200 something.
People there, all our friends or family, we all had very good sets. We all thought that's the way comedy was going to be there for the rest of our lives. Not understanding like the friends and family factor and how that influences it. [00:14:00] And it wasn't probably like I didn't work in a club mainly cause I moved like a year in to San Jose.
I was in the Bay area for two years to get nothing there. It was a bad time personally for me, moved out to Chicago and then Indianapolis and I got my first paying gig at Wiley's comedy club in Dayton, Ohio as a host, like four years in the standup. I was miss Pat. Yeah.
Scott Curtis: [00:14:27] Yeah. I remember Ms. Pat. Yeah,
Joe Bates: [00:14:30] she is super funny.
She acted, she was telling all the Dayton comics and I feel like I'm a good host. I feel like I didn't do a good hose. I feel like I was a good host early on because I had been doing standup for a certain amount of time before I actually got to an MC work. So I had at least, like I was aware of what was going on.
She told the Dayton comics, she's like this host, this is what you have to watch. This is a good host. He's confident and that's all you need to be. And I said, what am I go, what about my jokes? She's I don't give a fuck about your jokes. [00:15:00] I was like, okay. I don't know. I don't know
Scott Curtis: [00:15:04] what to tell you.
There's something for being able, just to stand up there and be looked at.
Joe Bates: [00:15:12] But that'll span of four years. My life really wasn't California. Got laid off from my job. I I got like a DUI. Like I just had a lot of things going wrong and I was terribly depressed. But I still didn't want to stop doing stand up even during all that stuff.
So I just kept that. Yeah, I know that I like being on stage. I know that I. It's tough because you see other micros who wrote micros are whole lives. Like I know I'm funny, it's always thinking, you have to say that, but I'm like, I'm aware that something I'm doing is right. I just don't know the delivery of it.
So it kept changing, constantly kept writing and kept adjusting until honestly it was the power movement that ended up leading me to get more clear.
Scott Curtis: [00:15:59] I can see [00:16:00] that. Yeah, that's great. So let's jump up to getting the Bob and Tom job. How did you get that writing job?
Joe Bates: [00:16:08] I'm good friends with Tom's son
Sam. Yeah. Not the other one. Not Willy gets to be on air, but they love so Sam was a good friend of mine and he, they let me in to start writing for their stories. Just they give you headlines in a freaking joke. So I was just doing that pro bono to see Hey, here's what I can provide. Do you guys like this? And Tom, and then we'll go, okay, this guy's got good stuff.
And they hired me on and it's been. I got again, it's, you get your connections the way you get your connections and everything, and you play off of that. So there wasn't like a, Hey, I would a really formal procedure as much as it was like work for free for a little bit. We'll see if we like it, if not, we'll move on.
But luckily it worked out pretty
Scott Curtis: [00:16:56] well. So you're the third writer for Bob [00:17:00] and Tom I've talked to and the last one was Dwight Semans and he just got hired on like last year. Yeah. And so I asked him a question how do you feel when you hear one of your bits on air? So I'll ask you that question.
I'll tell you how he answered.
Joe Bates: [00:17:18] I think he's going to answer the same way. The same way I I'm going to answer it is I don't listen.
It's too early in the morning. I can't, what am I going to
Scott Curtis: [00:17:33] That's it that's funny. Cause Dwight said the same thing. He says he does. He carves out his mornings for no humor, no comedy. And he does other stuff and, carve out his whole
Joe Bates: [00:17:44] days and nights too,
because he'd beat me in the fancy football championship for the second year in a row. And I'm do again. I'm still pissed about it.
Scott Curtis: [00:17:58] Oh man. [00:18:00] That's funny. And it's I don't listen to the show anymore either. My wife still does when she can, but in the eighties, I live by that show and they were.
They were not. So it was basically just Bob and Tom at that point, Kristy Lee wasn't there and none of the crew was there. It was Bob and Tom and they had Bob zany was on all the time and stuff like that, but it was It was just them. And they did just all kinds of crazy stuff, actually a little bit more over the line than what they do now, because they could get away with it.
But yeah, it was it was neat and it really, it influenced me on doing comedy myself and but yeah, it's it's finally, when I talked to the writers, they're like, yeah, we write the stuff. We don't listen. It's okay.
Joe Bates: [00:18:46] But I will say this I'm, it's amazing how long they've been around.
And the fact that Bob gone and Josh around with your buddies though, I feel like Josh has been a perfect fit for that show. And it's still [00:19:00] doing pretty well. I was talking to Sam and he was telling me that they were second in the nation and ratings next to Howard stern. Yeah. That's crazy. That's such a big show in some people in the big cities.
I've never even heard of it. And you're like, yeah, This show is
Scott Curtis: [00:19:15] huge. Yeah. And it's funny. Cause I used to listen to Opie and Anthony, when they were going and they used to disk Bob and Tom all the time, but they were always behind them in the race.
Joe Bates: [00:19:31] So it's like me making fun of Dwight here. I'm behind him in the fantasy football championships in the ratings. Did you ever listen to the Phil Henry show?
Scott Curtis: [00:19:41] Yeah. Yeah. Not a lot of people know that show
Joe Bates: [00:19:44] and that's, I think that is the best radio show ever, but
Scott Curtis: [00:19:47] I just wonder, w if, obviously he's in character the whole time, and if you're in character for that long, cause that shows three hours long, isn't it? [00:20:00] Yeah, no, he's a bit of a maniac, so it's not all put but yeah, I've listened to it. It's nutty.
Joe Bates: [00:20:09] Yeah. It's so for people who don't know, it's a show, basically it's the Pinnell Hungary show and he interviews the guests and the guests it's usually like outrageous.
And it's saying some crazy thing. One instance is a guy was a pilot and he flies in front of the planes and he puts his hand out the window, a little note when it's good to land. And he starts talking about that and people will call in and say, I am a pilot. That's never, how anybody does that? What are you talking about?
And then they would have a huge argument on the radio and Phil Henry would try to mediate it, but Henry. Is the other guy.
Scott Curtis: [00:20:50] Yeah, it's been a while since I've listened, but I always thought it was pretty funny. So let's talk about putting the album together. Obviously you must've recorded [00:21:00] before lockdown happened.
Joe Bates: [00:21:02] Yeah about it'll be about a year or a year. Exactly your before.
Scott Curtis: [00:21:09] Okay. And when did January 25th. So when did you record or where did you record it?
Joe Bates: [00:21:15] Houston, Texas, where I started because a large group of friends and family there. So it's a nice to go back and record there at the secret group, which was a newer comedy club that got put up. It does a lot of one nighters. And it's really just the hip cool independent venue.
So it was nice to see. I started, my buddies started independent show so long ago. This is like the independent venue. Now from years later with Steven brand now Andrew Youngblood, that's their venue like put together and recording there. And I think it's the first album is released.
That was recorded the senior group. And yeah, I did two shows, both sold out and had a great time. It was really, you put a lot of [00:22:00] like fear and anxiety before you do any big projects, you only can do so many things in your life. And then it just was ended up being a perfect day.
Scott Curtis: [00:22:09] So what I need you to do doing the album.
So you're, you've been working for at that point, you'd been working for. Almost nine years. Cause you're at almost 10 years now and you're, you've been working and doing the club scene and doing all that. What leads you to want to make an album? First of all,
Joe Bates: [00:22:31] About seven years in, I wrote like a Facebook post about how I knew a few people that have been doing it for seven years and they have two albums and it was just more like me going, I don't understand.
I feel like I'm not even close to doing that. I want to do it, but nothing's going to be perfect. And I don't know if I'll ever be able to say it's perfect, but I wait until somebody asks me to do it. Do I do just all my thoughts and questions. And I had a few people that are really close.
They reached out like, if you're going to do it it doesn't matter. That's none [00:23:00] of it really matters. So if you want to do it. Then you have this cool little thing. And I was like, Oh, okay. Yeah. So I started focusing on that. I got in the limestone comedy festival where I met Ross dunk live on tour.
And he knew from Matt Holt that I wanted to make an album. And he saw me when he saw my set and he goes, yeah, let's do one. I think you'd be great. And working from there, I ended up booking the venue and getting the sound guy and everything and. I turned out perfect. But I think, for me, it turned into it's flawed.
I have a few flaws. Like I feel like after finishing the editing and listening, it's okay, this is this is who I am. It's a weird, it's a weird album, but it's what I want.
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Check out their social media for extra content and watch episodes on YouTube. Head over to the pop culture, show.com or just click the link in the show notes to find out more about this great show. It's a good one. And do you, obviously, this is a combination of your best stuff or seven plus years. Do you feel like that stuff has to go away now that this album's coming out?
Joe Bates: [00:26:44] I H like I nervous about that idea that you're burning material, but at the end of the day, it shouldn't no material. Isn't what makes you, you should be writing new [00:27:00] material that you'll be focusing on the next step in getting in that. And that is something that's always, I feel like. When I first started, I was writing new stuff all the time.
Cause I wanted to get somewhere. And then if this wasn't working, then I gotta do this, but now I have stuff that's working and now it's still got to keep pushing forward. Otherwise I'll just plateau and that's not what I really ever want to do. So the engineer, like long story short.
If I'm doing a rural town, I'll do the jokes on the album. But outside that, I started, I focusing on writing what the next hour is going to be here the next 30
Scott Curtis: [00:27:38] minutes. Cause they ain't heard it yet.
Joe Bates: [00:27:41] They have not heard me talk out of my mouth.
Scott Curtis: [00:27:46] So let's talk about your style and how you got there.
I watched enough. Video online to know that you're, you'll walk away. 'cause you'll do the absurdist stuff and a little bit [00:28:00] non-sequitur character, and then you'll get into a little bit of real life and then you'll go back and tie it all together. How did you get there? Did you start there and just refine it or did you start somewhere else?
Like with one line and then this just came to you.
Joe Bates: [00:28:18] So I started with one line it's a lot. And that was mainly what I would just doing. It was one-liners and I would bring up liner notes was my whole thing. Cause I had to bring up notes cause I kept forgetting what I was going to say. So I brought up my notes and I realized you weren't supposed to do that.
And I was like, Oh, you got to make a joke about the notes. Yeah. So I would do I go, Hey, everybody got liner notes since they just helped me out and I would do a one-liner and then I go, you won't even notice them looking at them. And then I would point at the paper and go, okay, wait for applause. And then just stare at the crowd and then do a one-liner and they'd go, everybody loves improv and do some stupid little bit with that.
But I was like, okay I like that. I liked the weird joke, the most of what I'm [00:29:00] doing. And then it just re and then for a while I was like, I tried to be the comic. I thought people wanted to see, I was like, this is a comic that will book people. People will book because I'm just doing, here's my five minutes on the relationships.
And it's I hate doing it. I got a little bit of stuff, but nothing really of any substance. And then I was like, Joe, you are a spazz, like a maniac. So why don't you just start being a maniac? Cause I know, right? Like I don't really like segues or any of that stuff. So I just start talking fast and I, the key I found in the last three or four years is physical movement.
Determines how I can be a stand up. I. Don't want to say I'm a physical, like an, I rely on just physicality for a lot of, everything, but if I'm moving a weird way, then I can just change subjects and people accept it because he's moving weird. He's must be weird. [00:30:00] Yeah. So they allow that whole thing to change and I can leave a joke and go back in it and because of my physicality and how I'm carrying myself, no one, no, one's very surprised at it.
Whereas I don't think. I think it allows me to be versatile and diverse with the jokes that I tell, because I'm in the semblance of somebody doesn't really have it together.
Scott Curtis: [00:30:27] It, I, I really get that and physicality part when you do the power move thing and this, you may have only done it that one time, but when you do that, turning away from the audience, you turn your back to the audience and you're lifting the microphone cord up, and then you just.
Leisurely come around. Like you just don't care that they're there and you do that. And really punctuates the joke. And the first time I watched it, I'm like, why is he doing that? This looks like a open mic guy that doesn't know how to grab the mic. And then I [00:31:00] watched it again and I'm like, Oh, this is all part of it.
So is that right?
Joe Bates: [00:31:06] Yeah. Oh, I think I froze. Or you froze. Are you there? Hello.
Scott Curtis: [00:31:22] We're back. Gotcha. Sorry about that. I think that might've been me. Thank God. I feel like my internet just blipped on me. But yeah. So is that little turn, is that thing, is that part of it or did that just happen? So a
Joe Bates: [00:31:41] lot of physicality stuff I'll do, it's rehearsed to seem like it's not rehearsed, but it's only being on stage where I can actually rehearse it.
But yeah, like the character, everyone is lucky to see the power move guy. They're lucky, not me [00:32:00] do whatever I want on stage. Especially, like not even looking at the audience and they, then they have to, they start questioning who this guy is and it makes them pay attention. Or I did an open mic in California once.
And the crowd was just horrible. It was so bad. And I like this open mic because there were like two techniques I used to get everyone to pay attention in. One was, I just didn't look in the audience. I just stared, I didn't look at them and did my stand up. Like they weren't there and people will start to quiet down and the other, I don't know.
I don't know. How do we evolve into my actual set is I opened my set by just weeping for a minute, just openly weeping into the microphone and the crowd. All sh no one of the other columns, get the crowd to shut up and the crowd shut up because it was just the man to the microphone. And then when they shut up, I go, does anyone here smoke weed?
This guy [00:33:00] goes, yeah, they go arrest them, man. Then they just stopped paying attention and they went back to talking. But for a moment, for a moment, I was able to capture their attention. I feel like that I ended up buddy tell me, he's look something that's going to help you understand it, but I didn't realize it at the time, but he's go up and do your set and don't try to be funny.
Just try to get the audience to pay attention to you the whole time and figure out why that's happening. And I was like, Oh, okay. And I started seeing what's going on and everything. I was like, that makes a lot of sense because you can be funny if they're paying attention even more funny.
Scott Curtis: [00:33:36] Yeah. Yeah. I've heard that. I've heard comics that say, and I'd like to try this sometime that. When they're bombing and they know that they're just going to continue to bomb. They totally lean into it. And whatever materials bombing, they just go, Oh, they go into it hard. And, but they overdo it. So the. Hey, if you're [00:34:00] not going to laugh, at least you're going to remember me.
And that's that's a pretty good philosophy to have, I think, yeah, the only issue is if you're
Joe Bates: [00:34:08] bombing and you're already have been exaggerating. Then you don't know where to go went there. So I'll just say good night, everybody.
Scott Curtis: [00:34:20] So talking about the logistics of putting an album together, you obviously you got to record it and you've got two nights worth and you have to decide, which night is the best on each joke and stuff like that.
What kind of time commitment is that for you to make those decisions? And. Get it all put together.
Joe Bates: [00:34:42] So you're asking how do I structure the hour-long set together?
Scott Curtis: [00:34:46] Yeah. Yeah. What did you have to do to get that? So that you could say, okay, I got an album here.
Joe Bates: [00:34:52] So this is where the engineering comes in.
So I put an Excel sheet together and then I have all my [00:35:00] cordings and I put, okay, here are the, here are learning, but all my jokes down and let me put how long each joke is next to it. And then I'm going to put these bits together and see, okay, Hey, this goes with this, all this stuff, like I do 10 to 15 minutes on like driving jokes that are actually were four or five separate jokes.
I was like, Oh, these all kind of tie together. Why am I not been doing that in the first place? And so having it down on paper that I can see helps me build those bits together, even before the album and then with the album okay this. These jokes will make more sense before here, because these jokes are gonna hit harder and those jokes will do worse.
If they're following those jokes, just you're still, it's a weird thing. Cause even when you're doing a longer set, you also want to have a little bit of a lull, unless you're just going to boom. I can't. Yeah. I can't do that. Some white jokes have longer setups than I would, and then I'd rather have, but [00:36:00] it's mainly okay, I know I'm ending here.
This is usually a pretty good start that established what I'm doing. And then let's see how we go in the middle here. And then I was able to build like, okay, this is 20 minutes. It's 20 to 25 minutes. And now that I have these two giant chunks, how do I make everything else work around that?
Scott Curtis: [00:36:20] When it's funny, when you talk about a law and I'm not going so fast, I'm first off. Even when I was younger, I'm ATD and I can't pay attention to stuff if somebody is going too fast. So when a comic is just. Blasted me. I, I lie off, but I'm missing probably two thirds of what they say, because I'm just concentrating on the laughter on the first joke.
And I really like it when there's a little bit of time to catch up and actually listen.
Joe Bates: [00:36:54] So you basically, for you, you listening to stand-up is like on a square and television and watching widescreen.
[00:37:00] Scott Curtis: [00:37:01] Yeah. It's easier because I can pause it and rewind. Watch a lot of live stuff too, but it's, when they, when they machine gun, those jokes I miss a lot and I'm deaf too, so I'm not.
Stolen deaf, but I wear hearing AIDS and I miss a lot of stuff that she's just on frequencies too. So that makes it double hard. Yeah, it's it's interesting. I gravitate towards, like comedians who don't do the rapid fire one liners. I've been watching a lot of English comedy from across the pond.
And a lot of them still do the rapid fire one-liners and then I watched Jim Jefferies and He's totally different. He's more of a storyteller and goes a little bit slower. And I, the, I check out on the ones that do the rapid fire. I just can't do it. And I
Joe Bates: [00:37:50] would check it out. I would check out stewardly if that's what you like over there.
He's in the UK. He's probably one of the most brilliant comics out there. Like I [00:38:00] like norm McDonald and stewardly are on like, the same. Not the same style, but just same level. Like this is such a smart person doing.
Scott Curtis: [00:38:10] So let's talk about you, you performed in a lot of different areas and obviously you saw other comics when you're coming up and stuff like that.
Did you get a mentor as an anybody? Just say, Hey, Joe, I want to help you out. Or did you just do it all on your own?
Joe Bates: [00:38:29] I feel like I was on my own for a long time. I had a really good friend when I first I had a few, a couple of really good friends. When I started the show with, the guy we kept in touch for a long time.
Where you just okay, we're all starting together. We're in the same thing. We the same style of comedy that's worked together. I moved to the Bay area and. Not to say I got into the wrong crowd, but I just got in with the wrong group of comics in the sense of Oh, they'll come to us.
We don't [00:39:00] have to go to them. And then that really did not help me because I wasn't pushing that hard because I was like, okay, that's what my friends are doing. That's what I'll do as well. And I didn't realize why, because I didn't have the same kind of drive of what they wanted to do with it. And I just let myself get in their head.
In my own head, Chicago was a little bit, I wasn't there long enough to really do anything more. I got here. It really was like, I, Brent, her who was working the open mic at crackers was like, Hey I can, cause I was going there for a year and a half doing kinda the same bench, but doing very well and look, you've been doing very well.
Let's. Let's figure out how to get you work and everything. So he helped that a lot, which then led to my first weekend at crackers. And I worked with Matt Holt who was featuring headliner, who horrible,
but Matt hall and me ended up he ended up really [00:40:00] getting me a lot of gigs in the Midwest. He, without him, I did a lot of shows I wouldn't have been able to do without him. I don't think I would've gotten the album with auto records and everything. So on, in a way don't ever tell him I said this, but I got old as the closest thing I've had to a mentor.
Mainly I was just there to make him look good. He told me to bomb every show, but now it wasn't until then where I was like, he was a guy reached out to funny business and just these little things that I didn't know, cause there's not like a guide, it's not like a I don't know, my day job, you have a website, you go to like your, the open positions and here's what you need to do.
And this is what we're looking for and everything. But outside that I'm like, I'm just flying by the seat of my pants guessing the whole
Scott Curtis: [00:40:48] time. Yeah. And comics in general, in most areas, don't really it's such a competitive thing that they don't really tell you. And they it's okay that you fall on your [00:41:00] face, but Indianapolis, everything I've heard about Indy because Brent was on the show too, is a pretty, it's a pretty good crowd and everybody's pretty supportive of each other, which is not the case everywhere.
Joe Bates: [00:41:12] No. Yeah. It is. I've been in three scenes, quasi, I have four scene and it just really is different. Each scene. Each scene is different. I think Houston was a really great scene for me to get involved in. It's probably one of the most more clique-ish scenes. It's not a lot better now, but at the time it was very like, here are these three or four groups in your eye.
You're in one of them and that's it. Yeah, which was fine, but it wasn't, want to be friends with everybody cause I'm desperate for attention. So in the Bay area was very separated geographically. You're like you're in Oakland, you're in the Oakland group. You have the San Francisco group.
We were in the Southern, South San Francisco, San Jose, [00:42:00] all Santa Cruz and all that stuff. And then Indianapolis. It's just a smaller scene. We all have to get along with each other. And we still have like our assholes, like every place, but we're slowly figuring it out.
I wish. And it I, this is the longest I've been on scene almost five years now. And it's been fluctuating between. Hey, we've got all this cool stuff. Oh man. We don't really have anything. Hey, a lot of cool independent shows. I don't really have anything. Hey, Lou got four and a half clubs right now.
This is cool. And now we've got to, or I guess you got three gutties is down South, so yeah. Which is nice. Yeah. Cool.
Scott Curtis: [00:42:39] Thinking about the advice you've got. I like to ask this to everybody. What would you say is the best and worst piece of advice that you got during your career?
Joe Bates: [00:42:49] The best advice I've ever heard.
And some people don't like this, but I always appreciate it because I think it allows you to be weird, but [00:43:00] weird, but not horrible is what you think is funny, but keep what the audience tells you as funny. So you're always writing for yourself, but you're not. No, you're trying to make it fine in the day.
Like you don't want to have that personality really well. It's the audience that doesn't get it. So I'm going to do this the same way 50 more times until they figure it out instead of like, why is this, what can I do to change what's happening and make them better? That's the best advice I think it's ever helped me.
And the worst advice is. I don't know. I've just been told so many shitty things, such a tough one to pick from a one bar. I would say the worst advice I got was actually from somebody who is being nice is the liner notes that I mentioned earlier. Someone told me that they go, you would net you'll, that's [00:44:00] very funny, but no club will ever book you.
If you do that. Oh, Yeah, that's, I was still new and I'm like, I was told that and he was a weird comic and I was like, Oh, I guess I'll, I guess I won't be weird that weird. Then I want to be palatable. And then I went to California and be like, this is what a comic should be and everything cause anything but malleable to other people's intentions.
But yeah. I'm
Scott Curtis: [00:44:29] always stoked when a headliner comes out and they've got their notebook with them. Cause I know it's new stuff. And as a comic you get to study that. And I've seen Stuart half, I don't know how many times. And almost every time it's been, he brings a notebook out and he's working something out and that's great because some of it's, some of it's not ready, but getting the hero at first is really cool.
Joe Bates: [00:44:53] He's brilliant. He's unbelievably brilliant. I guy is just, he writes a whole, he [00:45:00] wrote in the limestone festival. I was at, he went there with a brand new hour. He wrote in four or five months. Yeah. Yeah. And it's still like some of the best stuff I'm going to hear like
Scott Curtis: [00:45:11] crazy. Yeah, he's super great.
Another one I like to ask everybody is what three things do you know now that you wish you would have known when you
Joe Bates: [00:45:20] started? That's a good question. What three things? One all my good jokes. If I knew those, when I started that'd be so much better now because everyone would like me.
Too is that it's very little of everything I do on stage and the shows and all that stuff. Very little of it matters. Like I had so much stuff that it mattered so much. Am I didn't do well, no one would ever want me on their shows or me. That is that's a big one. It's just like this really doesn't matter.
You just have fun. And I would actually do better if [00:46:00] I knew it didn't matter, kind of thing. And don't drink and drive turn one. It's you don't have to do that. So that was, that would be very helpful. That would have saved me $10,000.
Scott Curtis: [00:46:19] See when I used to drink and drive nobody ever arrested you. It's it was a different thing. So I would've gotten
Joe Bates: [00:46:24] away with it. If I didn't, I, we got, I got on accident. I was trying to exchange information and man, I should've just went home.
Scott Curtis: [00:46:34] Yep. That's normally the story. So one last thing I wanted to ask you, your humor is Because it's out there. Do you have any jokes that you think are just super funny that you could never get an audience to respond to?
Joe Bates: [00:46:53] Yeah. Okay. There's a lot there. I said there's one I'll say this one because it's a short [00:47:00] joke.
But before that, I will say there was like a bid I would do at showcases or open Mike for a little bit. Where I go on stage and I would be like, look, I've already done. I've had a really rough day. So I'm not really ready to perform. So I'm just going to play an earlier set from today, if that's okay.
And then I would put my phone to the microphone and it would just be the comics before me set that I recorded just to play for them. And so I was just sitting there for a minute with them, the jokes, they just heard me do it again. And then I and then at the end it ended up, I do a recording again, but it's about a guy caught in a bear trap, a long con it never worked.
I thought it was very funny and interesting, but it never worked. And the one time it did, somebody was like, that was interesting. I have no idea what you're doing, but I liked it. I was like, yeah, that's what I'm going for. But a joke. I really enjoyed a joke. I really enjoyed that. [00:48:00] Just never got over.
Upstate was I would say, I'm pretty, I always want to sound smart to my friends, so there'll be like, Hey, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm like, you're feeling pretty well. And then they're like, I just bought Goodyear tires. I'm like, you just bought you're tired, right? Timmy fell down. I'm good. I'm like
but I never did well on stage. I just don't know. I was like, this is, I think this is a well-written joke. Good written joke. And but it just never, it never trained. I don't know. It never translated though. Beyonce.
Scott Curtis: [00:48:33] I like it.
Joe Bates: [00:48:34] Yeah. It's a good joke. I'm sure I'm the best ever. As long as they don't say it too fast.
Scott Curtis: [00:48:41] Yeah. Yeah. If you did that really fast, I'd miss it. It's Tim, what's, what is this? Yeah. So since we stayed live, I'm going to pop your website up real quick. Joe Bates company that com. And where else can people find you? As far as social media and stuff,
[00:49:00] Joe Bates: [00:49:00] Twitter and Instagram at Joe Bates comedy, both agile Bates comedy actually update my website.
It's not as updated as I would like it to be. I should do that. The fact that you mentioned the trial by last year finalist, I was like, that's regional, Comcast on demand. I'm on series XM radio. You can hear me there. Yeah. So that's been nice. That's actually, that's real money for stand up. And if you like podcasts, can I plug a podcast?
Oh, okay. Cool. Me and my friends did a podcast called entertainment Federation wrestling, which is me and my two friends are announcing actual, like fake wrestling matches. We built the whole promotion and WWE raw, but this is our own version of it. We have, we voiced all the wrestlers.
We do a lot of voice acting. We've got. A lot of post-production and we have Matt knowledges. So it sounds like there's actually a wrestling happening that we're talking about. It's very funny. We have a father son tag team, but the dad never shows up. But it's something I it's [00:50:00] 99 episodes. The first season is all up on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, if you like wrestling at all, or just very funny, like we little podcast episodes, I recommend that.
One of the things I'm most proud of ever making. So I always been pushing it.
Scott Curtis: [00:50:17] That's cool. Yeah. I I'll definitely check that out and you are going to be on the BTB internet talk show on Thursday and your buddy, game's going to be on that show. So that's going to be a good one. And I've got a couple other good people.
I don't remember who they are. Oh, Duane white from DC. And. Erica Switzer. I think she is Chicago. So yeah, it's going to be fun. And the album comes out on January 22nd and your presale is Friday. Put that cover back up there since we're still alive. Joe Bates, Joe Bass, Joe Bates by Joe Bates.
[00:51:00] Joe Bates: [00:51:00] I love that.
I love it.
Scott Curtis: [00:51:02] I liked that cover it's so seventies, it's disco, man, and I like it. Yeah.
Joe Bates: [00:51:07] Yeah. That's my baby. The only like a Brown Coke.
Scott Curtis: [00:51:14] I tell you why it's been fun talking to you and I wish you the best and I can't wait to get you on the talk show Thursday. I actually pretend like I have personality on that.
So it'll be awhile.
Joe Bates: [00:51:24] I thought you did. All right. But thank you so much for having me on the show.