Entertainment

Lacey comedian Nate Jackson shoots MTV show, headlines Tacoma show

Lacey native Nate Jackson, who will be featured on MTV’s “Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ’N Out,” headlines his own comedy show Thursday in Tacoma.
Lacey native Nate Jackson, who will be featured on MTV’s “Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ’N Out,” headlines his own comedy show Thursday in Tacoma. Courtesy

Comedian Nate Jackson, a Lacey native, will soon be seen on MTV’s “Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ’N Out.”

He filmed the improv game show this year in Los Angeles and will be on five episodes of the next season, expected to air soon. He also filmed a stand-up comedy special for the network.

Jackson had one big embarrassing moment.

“I’m on stage closing out my last bit on my stand-up special for MTV,” he said in an episode of “The Nate Jackson Radio Show,” which is, contrary to its name, a podcast. “A snot bubble pops out of my nose.”

He turned his back to the crowd, wiped his nose and started the joke over.

“I still got a standing ovation,” he said.

He’s hoping that snot bubble won’t show up on MTV. The network hasn’t decided when the next season of “Wild ’N Out” will air, but there’s no need to wait to check out Jackson’s work.

Although he now lives in Los Angeles, he comes back to the South Sound to do “Nate Jackson’s Super Funny Comedy Show” on the first Thursday of each month in Tacoma. He’s the show’s host, but Thursday he’ll be headlining and promises fans 20 minutes of new material.

The Olympian caught up with Jackson a few weeks ago while he was staying with his parents, Nat and Thelma Jackson, in Lacey, where he lived until he left for college. He graduated from River Ridge High School in 2001 and from Eastern Washington University in 2006.

We talk about the ‘it factor.’ There are some things you just can’t teach. There is an ‘it factor,’ and Nate has this ‘it factor.’

Kenyatta Banks, longtime friend of Nate Jackson

He’s excited about what the MTV work could do for this career.

“There are going to be some very big moments for me,” he said. “I saw the crowd go crazy. I saw the feedback from the cast members. I saw the feedback from comics who popped in.”

Longtime friend Kenyatta Banks of Scottsdale, Arizona, who also went to River Ridge, said he’s not surprised by Jackson’s success.

“We talk about the ‘it factor,’ ” he said. “There are some things you just can’t teach. There is an ‘it factor,’ and Nate has this ‘it factor.’ I saw it a long time ago.”

But no one really saw it till Jackson tried stand-up on a dare while in college.

“He was funny, but people didn’t receive him as funny,” Banks said. “He was loud and obnoxious. It wasn’t like, ‘He should be a comedian.’ It was like, ‘OK, you’re getting on my nerves.’ 

Indeed, Jackson didn’t picture himself that way either. In fact, until he was 11 or 12, he didn’t even know what stand-up comedy was. His parents limited him to PG-13 movies. Then he went to a party and saw “Eddie Murphy Delirious.”

“I remember being just blown away,” Jackson said. “To see somebody walk out on stage by himself and say something and see hundreds of people laugh, this was some new stuff. But I never thought I would do it.”

When he took to the stage, though, Jackson was hooked.

“I wrote like four jokes, and I went on stage at Eastern with a 3-by-5 card in my hand,” he said. “I did good, and I was immediately addicted. What I’ve been watching these great people do — I can do this.”

He’s since performed at colleges, in clubs, at bars, in casinos, on the radio and in comedy competitions. He won the 2010 Bay Area Black Comedy Competition and was first runner-up at the 2008 Seattle International Comedy Competition. He’s appeared on Black Entertainment Television’s “Comic View” and is frequently heard on “The Bender Nation” on Seattle’s 106.1 KISS-FM.

I wrote like four jokes, and I went on stage at Eastern (Washington University) with a 3-by-5 card in my hand. I did good, and I was immediately addicted.

Lacey comedian Nate Jackson

He’s been hosting the “Super Funny Comedy Show” in different locations for the past seven years, bringing in well-known comedians and doing hard work behind the scenes with help from friends and family who help produce and promote the shows.

Offstage, Jackson is a savvy businessman, something he learned from his parents, both entrepreneurs.

Locally, Thelma Jackson is probably better known than her son. An educator and consultant, she has served on task forces and advisory councils for five Washington governors and as president of the Board of Trustees at The Evergreen State College.

Nate Jackson’s degree is in organizational communication with a minor in business administration.

“It’s the entertainment business,” he said. “It’s probably 90 percent business and 10 percent entertainment.”

Onstage, Jackson keeps the focus on his personal life.

“Being a single male, a bachelor dating, I talk about that a lot,” he said. “ ‘Let me tell you what happened on that date.’ I tell stories and bring you there with me, then I start to exaggerate.”

While many of his online videos and podcast episodes feature the kind of content his parents wouldn’t have let him watch when he was a kid, Jackson is proud of his ability to tailor his material to any audience.

“I don’t just go up with a set list,” he said. “I figure out how I’m going to get this crowd.

“Let’s say I have a show at a Rotary Club. I’m not going to do the same show I would do at show in Roy.”

Yes, he really did a memorable show in Roy, population about 800, the rural Pierce County town best known as home of the Roy Pioneer Rodeo.

Banks, who agreed to accompany Jackson to the show, remembers it well.

“We went out there, and it was scary, two black dudes in Roy,” Banks said. “We go in this bar, and there are deer heads everywhere. I pulled him to the side and said, ‘If there is any day on Earth that you need to be funny, it’s now, because I don’t know about this place.’ 

Jackson pulled it off.

“By the end, people were telling him, ‘You have to come back.’ 

Nate Jackson’s Super Funny Comedy Show

What: Lacey native Nate Jackson, who will be featured on MTV’s “Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ’N Out,” headlines his own comedy show. Reedo Brown hosts, and Tony Daniels is featured.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday; doors open at 7.

Where: Keys on Main, 1003 Pacific Ave., Tacoma.

Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Also: The Tacoma show happens on the first Thursday of each month. Jackson generally serves as host.

Information: superfunnycomedyshow.com or natejacksoncomedy.com.

Nate Jackson on …

Dating: “If you ain’t got no teeth, or you got a forehead that’s three or four times larger than normal, there’s a reason men aren’t taking you out in public.”

Elmo: “It’s hard out here on these Sesame Streets. I can’t be the only one that sees Oscar the Grouch living in a trashcan.”

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