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By Jeff Pack

Brannon enjoys newfound freedoms in stand-up comedy


Last updated 1/4/2019 at 12:57am

Nathan Brannon photo

Comedian Nathan Brannon will headline Jan. 10-13, at the Comedy Club at Pechanga Resort Casino.

Stand-up comedy is enjoying a sort of Renaissance right now, and comedian and podcaster Nathan Brannon is loving it.

"I would say the best thing about comedy being so popular right now is the fact that a lot of the traditional rules you had to follow in order to 'make it' don't apply as much as they used to," Brannon said. "You feel less pressured by staying ahead of the pack and more encouraged to be creative. Comedians aren't constricted (by) only a few lanes anymore, and it's beautiful."

The Portland, Oregon, native with two comedy albums under his belt will be headlining at the Comedy Club at Pechanga Resort Casino from Jan. 10-13. Comedian Leah Wyman will open.

Brannon was the winner of the 2014 Seattle International Comedy Competition and has been featured in publications and programs such as NPR's "Weekend Edition," "Laughs" on Fox, NBC, The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian Newspaper.

He's worked with comedians such as Dave Chappelle, Damon Wayans, Maria Bamford and Roy Wood Jr.

Brannon said his work on his podcast has helped his comedy.

"My podcast about interracial relationships, called 'The Hamster Village,' has done wonders for my performance and writing," he said. "It is not even a comedy podcast but has been very important in my development as a comedian.

"First, the content of the podcast keeps me constantly observing and seeking to understand so many different aspects of life and the human condition. I have been exposed to so many different mindsets, opinions and levels of understanding; it has definitely informed how I use my platforms behind the microphone.

"Second, it keeps me sharp in my writing. I write narration, lead-ins, etc. for every episode, and my writing for comedy and the podcast have mutually benefited."

It also helps him deal with unruly audience members.

"As you can imagine with running a podcast about racial identity, I get extreme comments hurled at me all the time, from across the spectrum," he said. "Like with a lot of the open mics I frequented back in the day, I believe the trolling and negativity has made me more fearless onstage, allowing me to be more expressive with subjects onstage."

His comedy is a combination of witty storytelling and punch lines.

"I try to pull from my family's experiences being interracial," Brannon said. "I have also been focusing on things that are generally positive, you know? Also, this dude that rudely cut in front of me at a fudge shop – three years ago – I've been writing a lot of jokes about him, lately."

He continually works to be better and better each time he's onstage; he was asked how he stays ahead of the game.

"Being in the habit of constantly trying to out-do what I, personally, did the last time onstage, is where I like to start," Brannon said. "I would say to watch other comedians and as much comedy as you can, but I feel like that can quickly lead you down a slippery slope of comparing yourself to your fellow comics and what's going on in their life. Eventually, you'll find yourself drifting further and further away from what you really want."

A veteran comic like Brannon has a response to every crowd and situation to keep it fresh and funny.

"I think differences in my act, between shows, come from treating each one as a stand-alone audience and rotating through material frequently," he said. "I don't really withhold material much. Unless my mother is in the crowd, then yes, I change everything. Do you hear me? Every word."

Brannon will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10; 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Jan. 11-12 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13.

Tickets are $18 with a two-drink minimum and can be purchased online at For more information, call (951) 770-2507.

The Comedy Club at Pechanga is located above Kelsey's Restaurant at Pechanga Resort Casino, 45000 Pechanga Parkway, in Temecula.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected]


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