Taylor Dowdy Waits in Style

December 15, 2019

Photo Credit

Daniel Solano

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Valerie Lopez

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From time to time a local Austin comic asks us to go on location. We've seen it all, an upscale home, a household in the middle of a move, a living room table top replete with the customary "tools" of a 20-something comic (think greenery of a consumable kind) lifestyle. Taylor Dowdy has had an unfortunate time when it comes to vehicles of the four-wheeled kind (a story unto itself) and rides a motorcycle, but not one he's comfortable riding to my usual recording spot. Walking into Taylor's home, I felt transported in time, every wall told a story - one wall told of Dowdy's current vinyl album favorites and framed poster art, another yells out "yeah, this is an entire wall of VHS tapes, what of it?" I knew walking in that Taylor would have a fascinating story to tell.

That's essentially Dowdy's "brand". It's important to know a few things about him before you even get to his comedy. First, Dowdy was born and raised in Wyoming, a vast landscape and a state few (and I'm no exception) know anything about and secondly Dowdy went to college studying art and visual design. So, if you want to visualize his home, visualize a rustic welcoming space. I haven't even mentioned the Brothers non-electric typewriter with (and this is very important to Dowdy) letter arms (like a piano key, and most certainly not a letter wheel, you heathen).

On occasion, I like to delve into a comic's fashion sense on stage because few comics carry off a unique fashion style. If you've been lucky to catch Dowdy on any stage, whether it be a routine open mic, opening for Gareth Reynolds at Cap City Comedy Club this fall, or doing a set for the punk ethos infused Altercation Festival, Dowdy's fashion sense is very unique, just like his home. But, I don't know that the fashion magazines would describe someone's fashion style as "rustic and welcoming", so we'll resort to written description. One night you might see Dowdy in a bolo tie with a western jacket, another night it might be a more formal jacket with a casual button down. And there are usually boots of varying heights that accompany. Dowdy, when he steps on stage to share his stories, has already told us a story without ever uttering a word. Once he does, you're in for a treat. Dowdy's ability to weave a story shows incredible maturity and mastery.

Ok, enough about his stylish home decor and his outfits; what about his comedy? I've been fortunate to watch Dowdy over the years, from his early days in Austin to more recently and his transformation as a gifted storyteller is nothing short of awe-inspiring. From briefer setup/punchline formulas to more elaborate stories with frequent punchlines, it's clear Dowdy has worked very hard to become a better performer. And in the midst of me gushing about how great he was the last few times, he admits "I'm the last person in the world to give myself a compliment. But I will give myself limited credibility and just say that I've done nothing else but comedy." There's more to it than just hard work. Part of his recent success is due to the symbiotic relationship he's formed with his past. Without divulging too much, Dowdy hints at a difficult childhood and early adulthood, and the incredible (in that most people would find them literally hard to believe) stories that come from that have taken him time to distance himself from the pain of the stories. And with all of the hard work of becoming a commanding stage presence to accepting his past, he's now able to mine some of those incredible stories for the audiences who can laugh all while maintaining an arm's length distance for his own sanity.

I'm the last person in the world to give myself a compliment. But I will give myself limited credibility and just say that I've done nothing else but comedy.
Taylor Dowdy

Dowdy's work ethic in Austin has produced one of the longer running shows here, Ground Floor with Taylor Dowdy at Hotel Vegas. You can tell from the moment I bring it up that he is incredibly proud of this showcase which recently celebrated its three year anniversary. And, since "style" is a recurring theme, it should come as no surprise that everything from the performance space to the flyer have a sense of style. Not the typical repurposed bar space because the venue is known for its music shows. Dowdy admits that show represents a lot of elements coming together for him. "Finding that venue, starting that show aligned with me figuring figuring out my visual aesthetic, and my writing style. All that came together around the same time." Another recent project has Dowdy collaborating with Andrew Wagner on a showcase called Beamed Inn which is "UFO-themed", but not necessarily "UFO-premised". And finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't share that Taylor is an incredibly gifted pool player. Crazy good. And he put together a YouTube show called Scratch City which frankly holds the promise of something that we could see as a recurring and touring Comedy Central show. One can hope.

Finding that venue, starting that show (Ground Floor) aligned with me figuring figuring out my visual aesthetic, and my writing style. All that came together around the same time.
Taylor Dowdy

Big things are ahead for Dowdy; a recent adventure to New York City (at the time of recording, the trip was still weeks away) affirmed his commitment to standup comedy and may have given him the itch to travel to other cities, but who knows what the future will hold. He does assert "I have to remind myself all the time that I'm not even six years into this. I'm relatively young, in this business. So it's like, who knows what's coming up. But that's part of the fun, too." We do know that wherever Dowdy ends up, you can be sure his trusty Brothers typewriter with letter keys, his vinyl collection and his sense of style will be along for the ride. And we know for a fact, he'll have an interesting story to tell us about his adventures. We can't (Tom) Waits.

I have to remind myself all the time that I'm not even six years into this. I'm relatively young, in this business. So who knows what's coming up. But that's part of the fun, too.
Taylor Dowdy
Taylor Dowdy's beloved manual typewriter

Catch Taylor Dowdy hosting at these upcoming shows:

  • Beamed In - Monthly showcase at Spiderhouse Ballroom 1/9/2020
  • Ground Floor - Monthly showcase at Hotel Vegas 1/10/2020

...and follow him on social media:

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