Geoff Tate on being PC 
and avoiding alt-venues

Geoff Tate is wildly funny, with a cunning sense of dry wit. After performing on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” he has become one of the most in-demand comedians in the country. Tate has traveled the country touring with two of the funniest Dougs on the planet: Doug Benson and Doug Stanhope. He is performing in Louisville this week and sat down to chat with LEO about comedy.

LEO: What are your favorite comedy albums and what draws you to them?

Geoff Tate: Eddie Izzard’s “Dressed To Kill,” Sinbad’s “Afros and Bellbottoms,” Doug Stanhope “Deadbeat Hero” and Steve Martin’s “Wild and Crazy Guy.”  They make me laugh like crazy. I suppose that’s why I’m drawn to them.

LEO: The last time you were in town you were in an alternative venue. This time you’re in the club. What’s the difference between performing alt-venues and clubs?

GT: Both clubs and alt-venues have the pros and cons. I like the no drink minimums of the alt-venue and the freedom to book whatever day works best for me and my schedule. But the club offers the opportunity to do a show in a room that knows there’s gonna be comedy and is also designed specifically for comedy. I know they’re going to put it on their website. I know they’re going to promote it. The last time I was in Louisville, the guy who put on the show didn’t give a fuck about the show. He didn’t promote. The bar wasn’t aware of it. He even booked it to start two hours later than I asked. So, no more alt-venues in Louisville for a while.

LEO: Why do you think so many comedians are getting drawn to alt-venues?

GT: Comedy clubs are built on an outdated business model: Sell the weekend. I want to go everywhere. Hopefully, I sell enough tickets to do one show, but then no one is there accidentally. No one ruins it. I don’t really want to do weekends anymore. Get in, get out. See the town, move on. It’s more fun.

LEO: Is it harder being a comedian now, in this overly-sensitive/politically correct than it was for guys like Carlin, Pryor or Murphy?

GT: No. Carlin went to jail with Lenny Bruce for what they said. Now, you get blogged about. I don’t think it’s overly sensitive or overly politically correct now. Progress is a good thing. I don’t think there’s any shame in respecting how people want to be addressed. Language matters. That’s the whole point of our job. If the bit isn’t funny without the shock words, the bit isn’t funny at all. It never was. It was only shocking.

LEO: Is self-loathing hard in Los Angeles, where it’s always beautiful all of the time?

GT: Nope. It’s way easier.

LEO: What’s the most Los Angeles thing that has happened to you?

GT: Starbucks.

LEO: You traveled a lot as a child. Is that part of the reason you became a traveling comedian?

GT: I don’t think it’s a love of travel that did it. I bet it had something to do with always being the new kid in school and having to win everyone over all the fucking time.