FLYER Q&A: Colin Nelson to perform at Backspace Nov. 4

Colin Nelson / Courtesy photo

2017 is almost over and if you haven’t attended a live comedy album recording yet, I’ve got some news. You can attend the live recording of Colin Nelson‘s debut comedy record “Die While It’s Still Cool.” It’s coming up this Saturday, Nov. 4 at Backspace. There are two shows for your listening pleasure.

Who: Colin Nelson live comedy album recording
When: Saturday, Nov. 4
Show 1: Doors at 7 p.m. w/ guests Ray Porter, Kaia Hodo and Zac Slusher
Show 2: Doors at 10 p.m. w/ guests James Marek, Thom Gray and Garrett Smalley
Where: Backspace, Fayetteville
Cost: $5-10 suggested donation
More: See the Facebook invite

I’ve seen Colin Nelson perform a lot this year, even in front of a dumpster. He’s got an intense presence and it quickly merges into a haphazardly orchestrated trainwreck, but funny. In my opinion, He’s one of Fayetteville’s best comedians, right up there with Ray Porter, and Caroline Ezell.

Colin’s comedy is infectious, so if he’s performing at a show, everything becomes humorous by association. He has a bit that somehow makes the show Home Improvement oddly touching and incredibly funny. His stand-up sets are no holds barred comedy matches where any topic can take a beating, and you won’t be able to tell if it’s meticulously choreographed or really just a guy hitting someone with a trash can. I recommend it.

If you’ve never seen stand-up comedy in Fayetteville, this is a great chance to get on board. We’re getting some excellent local comedians, and they’re bringing touring comics to Fayetteville on a regular basis. Several local venues are getting their largest turnouts from stand-up comedy shows.

I talked to Colin about his upcoming show, here goes…

Hey Colin, how did you get into stand-up comedy? Is there a certain comedian or joke that you remember getting it all started?
Well, it’s hard to place. I come from a relatively large Irish Catholic family from Chicago, and I’m the youngest of four (three surviving), so humor’s always been a pretty important thing for us. I vividly remember watching a lot of comedy as a kid, but not much stand-up until I was in my early teens. Stuff like MST3K, Kids In The Hall and The Critic. Gary Larson’s The Far Side was also a major influential voice.

What’s your favorite topic to ridicule?
Myself. I’m a fat garbage idiot but I at least have nice hair that I do not at all deserve. Sort of like Dave Navarro – he has the NICEST hair and he does not deserve it, but at least I don’t buy my hats at Guitar Center.

You were a film student before becoming a stand-up, what role did studying film play in developing your comedy?
Actually, I was performing when I was a film student. Granted, I was very new then, and not at all funny yet. In some small way I feel like what I’ve learned about analyzing film and art in general has helped with some of my material focusing on what I like to call ‘toxic art,’ intellectually and culturally damaging media, i.e. bones, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. commercials that sexualize grease, etc… Other than that, it sort of just ruined movies for me.

You moved here from Chicago. How has it been adjusting to writing and booking shows in Arkansas?
It’s helped a lot, actually. With it being a smaller town, less oversaturated, I’m given more time and longer (albeit less) sets, which has changed my writing process quite a bit. Now that I’m not hitting like four open mics a night, doing three minutes at each, I have more time to sit on material, let it marinade, and congeal.

What’s your favorite venue to perform at in Fayetteville?
Backspace or Nomads, but I always have a good time at Stage Eighteen. I certainly miss having a stage at Ryleigh’s, but Nomads takes very good care of us. Backspace is just a great little room. It’s very important to support DIY spaces, which is why I’m recording my album there.

Who do you like to perform with locally?
Kaia Hodo and Chad Chamberlain are easily my two favorites. Vastly underbooked, both of them. Ray Porter, obviously – we host the open mic the first Thursday of the month at Nomads and we play off of each other very well. Zac Slusher is a very good boy, and Caroline Ezell rules. Laura Weiderhaft is great as well and I’m glad she’s doing it more often again! James Marek runs a great DIY show at his house and I see a lot of potential in that dude. He’s got conviction and gumption. Congumption. I hope Troy Gittings goes bald. Thomas King is already bald and I love that dude. Stetson Banks has abnormally small eyes and it freaks me out, but he’s great.

How do you test your material?
I just kind of scream it into a hat. If it doesn’t echo I’ll test it out at the open mic.

Any heckler stories you can share?
Oh, man. A few weeks ago, yeah. We were at a venue in Bentonville, and Will Hamel was on stage (who is also awesome and a new favorite) and I walk back in from outside, and the kitchen manager is screaming at Will. Like, I guess he was kind of heckling while I was outside, but it got the the point that he was approaching the stage to fight Will, who’s just up there being a trooper, just doing crowd work to everyone else. I kinda stand between the dude and Will, and he backs off a bit into the kitchen area again, still screaming, furious that nobody was there, aside from the forty or so people that were there specifically for the show. Eventually, he’s on the verge of fighting Stetson, Stef Bright, and myself, before he quits and storms off into the kitchen. We’ll be back there, but he won’t.

You’re recording a live show soon. Fill us in on all the details. What can we expect? When will it be available?
Yup! November 4th at Backspace. The first show is at 7:30 p.m., second show is at 10 p.m. It’s BYOB, and suggested donation is like $5-$10 for the sound guy and out of town comics and the band. My pals Thom Grey and Garrett Smalley are coming down to do some time on the second show, which James Marek will be emceeing, and Ray Porter will be emceeing the first show, which Zac Slusher will be on. The Wirms are playing after the comedy. There will be yelling and crying and sing-a-longs and hot takes. Lots of hot takes. And a slide whistle. It’ll be out early next year!

Besides the live recording, any upcoming shows? What are your plans for 2018?
All kinds of garbage. I’m way overbooked.