Comedy makes its way to the set of “Local Live” for the first time with Ramin Nazer


Ramin Nazer’s flourishing career as a comedian will be showcased at Sunday’s recording of “Local Live.” Photo courtesy of Local Live.

Hannah Smothers

Although “Local Live"s schedule is typically made up of local musicians and bands, the KVRX special program is not just for music acts. This Sunday the show is taking a break from its weekly dosage of indie acts to allow a comedian on set for the first time in “Local Live” history.

Local comedian Ramin Nazer will end his reign as Funniest Person in Austin at this Sunday’s “Local Live,” which is the last in-studio show for this semester. Opening for Nazer are local comedians Maggie Maye, Chris Tellez and Danny Palumbo.

Nazer was not necessarily the stereotypical class-clown figure while growing up in Canada, but he said he always knew he wanted to do comedy.

“I wasn’t always the loudest or most outgoing; it really depended on my surroundings,” Nazer said. “Some classes, I never said a word. Others I got sent out in the hall every day. It’s more a way of looking at things more than anything.”

After moving to Austin 11 years ago, Nazer has become a leading name on the growing local comedy circuit. He won the title of Funniest Person in Austin in 2012 in the annual contest hosted by Cap City Comedy Club, which is something similar to winning Miss America, just at a local level and the winner is chosen based on sense of humor and not on looks. 

“Last year, there was about 200 or so people that entered,” Nazer said. “There’s a preliminary round, semifinals, then a final round judged by industry people from Comedy Central, NBC, CBS and others.”

“Local Live” is not Nazer’s first experience performing a live, produced show. Last February, shortly before being named Funniest Person in Austin, Nazer made an appearance on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” where he performed a brief stand-up set on national television. 

Nazer also recently released an album in 2012, which was recorded live in one take at a performance he gave at Cap City Comedy Club. The album will be available for purchase at Sunday’s show.

“Live performance is always more rewarding ‘cause you get to connect more directly with an audience,” Nazer said. “That’s all any living being really wants, anyways, is to be acknowledged, feel connected, be of worth.”

Ivan Brave, executive producer of “Local Live,” was put into contact with Nazer through Katherine Swope, editor-in-chief of the Texas Travesty. Swope said she showed Brave some YouTube videos of local comedians to help him schedule the three openers and was responsible for confirming the four acts for Sunday’s show.

The Travesty will be tabling at the event, where they will provide copies of the publication and sell copies of Ramin’s album “You Were Good Too.” 

According to Swope, this isn’t the first collaborative effort between the Travesty and KVRX.

“We put on [a] Travesty/KVRX show a few years ago called ‘Lights Out,’ where we had a music and comedy show,” Swope said. “The Travesty is completely interested in doing more comedy shows in the future.”