|Photo Credit||An Indoor Lady|
The first few of times I saw Garrett Buss perform, it was in early 2018 and I thought to myself “dang, this kid is too young to be this natural on stage”. I didn’t see him perform again until this summer on the now dearly departed Sandbox with Rob Gagnon. The large gap can be explained by the fact that he was completing his senior year in San Marcos at Texas State University and not coming up to Austin much. And you wanna know what? He’s still a total natural on stage – even while, or perhaps especially as, a character actor.
It all started at a fairly young age for Buss with an instructional armpit fart demonstration by his grandfather at a zoo. And who among us doesn’t love a good armpit fart sesh at the zoo? Garrett then began a storied career performing in church camp productions, musicals, and high school theater performances. Performing in theater and musicals, Garrett was no stranger to the stage by the time he graduated high school and moved from the Houston area to San Marcos to attend Texas State University to pursue a, you guessed it, theater degree (before realizing that drunkenly pursuing a marketing degree wasn’t in his future).
Yet, with all this experience and training, much to his surprise, things did not go well when he made his very first attempt at stand-up at the oft maligned, yet necessary to any performer launching into stand-up in Austin, Love Goat open mic 4 years to the day of this recording. Despite things not going so well his first few times (one of the rare times we can say it is the nature of the audience at those particular open mics…think hazing), he didn’t ever want to stop and knew there were better times ahead.
Frustrated with not having easy access to the Austin comedy stages, he created his own forum, the Texas State Comedy Association. Creating this official campus student organization eliminated the heavy commute time (to Austin) while affording him ample opportunity to perform and produce shows featuring improv, stand-up, and sketch. And the origin story is one of the best indicators of how creative and unique Garrett is. We won’t spoil it for you here. We want you to hear it for yourself.
“I’m pretty good at procrastinating until the point that I just absolutely have no other choice but to make something.”
This past May marked the end of his college career, the launch of a musical he wrote and produced (“Canadian Bacon”), in addition to working and performing standup. A running theme for this conversation is “he just did it” (Nike, be damned!). When discussing why he wrote and produced the musical in the midst of his final semester in college, he rationalized to himself that he had an entire community of fellow college students at his disposal to help him. “Well, I guess I have to make a musical now. … And the same thing with making any of the stuff that I’m into. I’m pretty good at procrastinating until the point that I just absolutely have no other choice but to make something.”
“And I used to just say, well, if it sucks, it’s still a musical, you know what I mean? A bad musical is better than no musical. I mean, maybe the next one we will be good.”
And whether you take on a project and it’s a good outcome is less important to him than the fact that he’s created SOMETHING. He notes, “And I used to just say, well, if it sucks, it’s still a musical, you know what I mean? A bad musical is better than no musical. I mean, maybe the next one we will be good.” It’s all forward momentum until you get to the “good” stuff. But, the fallacy in Buss’s theory here is that everything I’ve seen of his is ALREADY good. And he’s only 22!! For someone who’s been so prolific (this episode’s obviously overused word on my part) at this young age, it’s exciting to imagine that in 10 year’s time he’ll be making big, noodly waves somewhere.
Catch Garrett in one of the following:
Exploratorium with Garrett Buss – 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at Fallout Theater 9:30pm (the honorary “Sandbox slot”)
- Plano Comedy Festival – Friday September 13 11pm and Sunday September 15 1pm at Hub Seat
- The upcoming short film release “Partners” with Rob Gagnon and Ron Lechler