Nathan Ehrmann: You're Gonna Find the Funny

January 22, 2018

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Richard Goodwin


A note from the editors:

This week's episode is an interview with Nathan Ehrmann, recorded in early January. At the time Ehrmann was the Conservatory Director at The New Movement Theatre (TNM).

On January 19th, in a stand against the theatre owners’ lack of resolution of sexual misconduct allegations, Ehrmann resigned the Conservatory Director position.

When the news came out about the allegations of sexual misconduct within the TNM community, and further that these allegations were ignored by the owners, we asked Nathan how he wanted to proceed with the release of the episode. Neither of us really knew the “right” way forward. It’s an extremely critical and sensitive topic, that we want to ensure is included in the discussion; at the same time, our primary focus is on the craft of comedy, not social issues.

In the end, we are fans of comedy and the Austin comedy scene, so when something hits this close to home, we felt that it needed to be aired as part of the overall story. We’ve asked other performers connected to the TNM Austin Community for their input as well, and support anyone that wants or needs to make their feelings on the topic known.

No matter the outcome of this truly awful series of events, we take heart in knowing the Austin community will pick itself up, do the right thing and return to making us laugh, and providing a safe, nurturing, welcoming environment for greatness in the art.

We very much want you to hear his episode and want to promote Nathan’s upcoming shows; as such, we've decided to release the episode as recorded, in its original spirit before the recent revelations. We welcome your thoughts and feedback, and hope for nothing but the best resolution for those affected by these events.

Nathan Ehrmann told us his comedy has been referred to as a "milk soaked waffle". Whether you agree with that assessment or not, you have to agree that his style hasn't hampered the growth of his career one bit. Maybe we all secretly crave a way to sneak more linguistic dairy into our sweet, sweet breakfast pastries?

A South Carolina native, Ehrmann moved to the Dallas area for his high school years. He then took his math major and turned it into a profession Valerie Lopez can't help but warm to: a high school math teacher. Ever on the move, he spent a couple of years in Japan teaching English before ultimately landing in our fair city.

Ehrmann found himself drawn to some heavy hitters in comedy early on, playing the grooves off records like Denis Leary's No Cure for Cancer, John Leguizamo's Freak, and Dave Chapelle's Killing Them Softly. (Fine, they may have been CDs, but you dig.) Despite his admiration for these performers, it wasn't until he walked into The New Movement Theatre here in Austin that he gave himself the direction and goal to attempt comedy of his own.

Early on he faced the same demons so many of us wrestle with: shyness, fragile self-confidence, setting a seemingly impossible bar. After he relaxed his internal standards and committed to the fact that comedy would be a long haul endeavor, he started throwing himself into the stage life.

Going from hosting trivia in a tiny bar in Japan to doing comedy in Austin takes a certain kind of determination, that Ehrmann has (or has developed) in spades. His 28-year journey culminated in starting improv and (after years of postponing them) open mics. As his devotion to the art grew, he also began teaching classes at The New Movement, and has gone on to be a repeat semifinalist in Funniest Person in Austin, performed in festivals like Out of Bounds Comedy, and even added a bundle of film credits to his name. Ehrmann also cohosts the weekly podcast Why Aren't You Screaming, with locals Vanessa Gonzalez and Michael Foulk, and created and hosted (until passing the reigns to the very capable Claude Ramey) the weekly comedy showcase at Hops and Grain Brewing.

Check out the interview to hear more about Ehrmann's journey in coming out of his shell, how he is constantly working to keep himself (and the audience) in the "flow", and which of his many endeavors is his stand-out favorite.

Get out and catch Nathan Ehrmann at his next upcoming date, and follow him on dojour to keep up with his schedule in the future.

Nathan Ehrmann