Nathan Macintosh: Hauling Bananas

June 14, 2019


Valerie Lopez


Richard Goodwin


2019 Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Series

In our final Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy 2019 series, we have a vir­gin inter­view for you. Not that Nathan Mac­in­tosh is a vir­gin (or isn’t, we didn’t ask), but he is among the rare comics that Valerie Lopez had not seen before his per­for­mance and inter­view in Austin this year.

From the moment they start talk­ing, Mac­in­tosh jumps right into try­ing to turn the tables, ask­ing as many ques­tions as he answers. It’s a per­fect ana­logue for his style and projects, includ­ing the Pos­i­tive Anger pod­cast, now in its fourth year; his first album, I Wasn’t Talk­ing, was fea­tured in Exc!aim Magazine’s Top Ten Hilar­i­ous­ly Good Com­e­dy Moments of 2015; and To the Point, which debuted in March and went to #1 on iTunes in Cana­da, and #12 in the US

There was a time that Cana­di­an comics rarely made appear­ances in the states. Amer­i­cans were left to expe­ri­ence their com­e­dy through dis­tinc­tive and unique medi­ums like SCTV, which sport­ed its share of both sharp, dry, British-style per­for­mances, as well as the larg­er-than-life antics of explo­sive stage pres­ence like Mar­tin Short. 

It’s 2019, and — while we could argue about the gen­er­al­ly neg­a­tive state of affairs in the world — we are blessed to get a ver­i­ta­ble and grow­ing tor­rent of comics dip­ping below the Great White North and show­ing up on our shores. Mac­in­tosh made his Austin debut in just such a venue, in the Cana­di­ans of Com­e­dy show­case at Moon­tow­er this year. He’s a Nova Sco­tia native, but has spent the past 7 years in New York, which seems to have result­ed in just the right kind of cul­ture clash for him to hone his comedic approach and per­spec­tive into some­thing equal­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tive of both sides of the border. 

It’s always tricky to describe a performer’s style”, but with Mac­in­tosh I’m going with a mix of Short’s ener­gy, and Bill Burr’s seem­ing faux-out­rage, at the top­ics he approach­es. Pos­i­tive Angers title is a tip of that hat to that atti­tude, where you can catch Mac­in­tosh cov­er­ing what’s bug­ging him in cur­rent sit­u­a­tions or sur­round­ings, some­how man­ag­ing to seem to be entire­ly calm and froth­ing with dis­dain simultaneously. 

It’s a theme that runs through Macintosh’s stage pres­ence as well. When asked about his many late night appear­ances he jokes, I don’t want to do any­more. Real­ly. It’s enough.” You can check many of them out at his web­site Nathan​Mac​in​tosh​.com. To see Mac­in­tosh, wide-eyed, toss­ing excla­ma­tions of frus­tra­tion at dai­ly events, while keep­ing things in check just enough for noto­ri­ous­ly reserved TV per­for­mances, tells you exact­ly what you need to know about his tal­ents. As with our inter­view, he knows how to read the sit­u­a­tion, and inject just the right amount of anar­chic irrev­er­ence to peri­od­i­cal­ly steal the show with­out step­ping on any toes, or over any lines. 

At the ripe old age of 10, Mac­in­tosh was sur­round­ed by standup at home due to his mother’s love for it, and he already felt he had a set num­ber of career choic­es ahead of him. Mom want­ed him to be a phar­ma­cist (“What? You’re gonna wear a coat, and look at all the pills you don’t take?), and he had his sights on being a base­ball pitch­er (“All of those kids were…just good. There’s noth­ing I could do”) but clear­ly com­e­dy — one way or anoth­er — won out. 

Mac­in­tosh exper­i­ment­ed with com­e­dy in high school, par­tic­i­pat­ing in a sketch pro­gram, and then right out of the gates of grad­u­a­tion start­ed try­ing his hand at standup. As for how he devel­oped his — as Valerie calls it, get off my lawn” — per­son­al style, he claims it came rather nat­u­ral­ly. Just a man on the street with a cig­a­rette? That’s what I should be? Some­body stand­ing out­side of a bar yelling ideas of peo­ple as they try to get into a cab?” It’s the per­sona he iden­ti­fies with, and instead of haunt­ing the streets accost­ing strangers, brings it on stage…accosting strangers. 

That’s what I should be? some­body stand­ing out­side of a bar yelling ideas of peo­ple as they try to get into a cab?” Nathan Mac­in­tosh

Work­ing his way from Hal­i­fax, to Toron­to (“It’s not New York, but it’s the clos­est thing [Cana­di­ans] have”), Mac­in­tosh kept build­ing the creds to obtain an artists’ visa that would allow him to take his next chap­ter to the Big Apple. That meant more standup gigs, per­form­ing mul­ti­ple times in major fes­ti­vals like Just for Laughs, and get­ting his own com­e­dy spe­cial on The Com­e­dy Net­work on CTV

New York is a tough city to get going in, but after a cou­ple of years he was mak­ing the head­way need­ed to ensure he’d be able to stay long term. Clear­ly his grow­ing suc­cess has proven he’s made the cut. In addi­tion to his standup, albums and pod­cast, Mac­in­tosh has his sights set on hav­ing his own talk show. (Appar­ent­ly, he’s not done doing them.) He’s already host­ed the Cana­di­an show Standup Down­time, a twist on the for­mat of bring­ing come­di­ans in and inter­view­ing them tra­di­tion­al­ly. Instead of just stay­ing in the hotel..I take come­di­ans to places like a muse­um, and inter­view them and talk to them,” he describes it, and it seems a per­fect match with his knack for dis­pens­ing with the tra­di­tion­al rules and being himself. 

Up next for Mac­in­tosh? He wants to get anoth­er album out, and record anoth­er spe­cial. As the inter­view draws to a close, his rapid-fire pep­per­ing of ideas and poten­tial next steps, includ­ing dreams of a bag of kumquats in a large fridge, indi­cate we’ll be see­ing and hear­ing quite a bit more of him in the future. 

As well as, of course, every­thing that’s bug­ging him about you people.

Keep up with Nathan Mac­in­tosh’s many, many projects, appear­ances, and opin­ions, at Nathan​Mac​in​tosh​.com!

Nathan Macintosh