Nate Jackson's Super Funny Comedy Show was Tacoma's hottest weekly comedy event for three years running, as it drew a parade of urban comedy all-stars – the likes of Cocoa Brown, Rodney Perry and Scruncho – to headline Tacoma's Varsity Grill. But its run at that venue came to an abrupt halt after owners changed direction in June, rebooting the Varsity as the country-themed Steel Creek American Whiskey Co.
Jackson quickly found a new home at the Temple Theater, where his show switched to a monthly format, with shows taking place on the first Friday of each month. His fourth annual Super Funny Thanksgiving Weekend Comedy Show will bring comedians Lil Rel Howery, Shang Forbes and Ronnie Jordan to the Temple on Saturday, Nov. 30.
He has also parlayed his extra free time into two national TV appearances and may have set himself up for a big breakthrough in 2014.
“The show is so big, so funny that if it took place in L.A. all of this wouldn't even be a question,” said Jackson, a Lacey native who has split time between the Northwest and North Hollywood since 2011. “I'd have all kinds of feature films and all kinds of stuff because the whole industry would flock to something like this.”
Jackson, 30, caught the comedy bug when he was a student at Eastern Washington University, and his friend, John Fowler, challenged him to enter a standup competition. He finished second then (behind Fowler) but honed his chops over the next few years and came in first when it really counted.
In 2010, Jackson took top honors in the prestigious Bay Area Black Comedy Competition, an event that has been a launching pad for Jamie Foxx, Katt Williams and D.L. Hughley, among others. The next year, he moved to Los Angeles and has been flying back home to produce his Super Funny shows.
“When I changed the Super Funny Comedy Show to once a month, that freed me up to be in L.A. more,” he said. “The grind doesn't stop whether I'm doing it here or there. And because of my availability to be seen (more weekends), I got to be seen by the gatekeepers and given a shot.”
Based on the strength of his appearance at a pair of comedy showcases, Jackson was invited to Atlanta last summer to record segments for “Comic View” on Black Entertainment Television (B.E.T.) and “Off the Chain,” a show on upstart Bounce TV.
Jackson expected the Bounce TV segment to air in December and his B.E.T. appearance to air in March. Bounce TV isn't available in this market, but “Off the Chain” can be viewed online at www.bouncetv.com/shows/off-the-chain.
“It was good for me to have done Bounce TV three weeks before Comic View,” he said. “I’d already gone through hair, makeup; sat there, nerves rattling, hands sweaty; drank that last bit of water. I did all of that. So by the time I got to Comic View, I was just like, ‘I’m ready, man. Just call me out.’ And (my set) reflects that.”
Jackson said he is positioning himself to capitalize on the national platform, with plans to record a new standup DVD early next year at Seattle's Columbia City Theater.
“We’re looking for investors for it,” he said. “We’ll shop it around to see if Showtime wants it. We’ll see if Comedy Central wants it. But it’ll be shot, clean, edited.”
Jackson is also involved with a number of other projects that are in development, including a feature-length film, called “Bait Shop,” a dramatic web series, called “Marvin Road,” and a sitcom.
“It's funny. It’s a fish out of water situation,” he said. “Music is involved. I'll be doing some singing. The setup is I’m a guy from another place that’s trying to get established.”
Fans can follow Jackson's exploits on the road, see the original “Marvin Road” short and watch a biographical clip, called “Draw My Life,” on his YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/natejacksoncomedy.
Nate Jackson's Super Funny Thanksgiving Weekend Comedy Show
9 p.m. Nov. 30
Temple Theater, 47 St. Helens Rd., Tacoma
$20 to $30