Taylor Dowdy Waits in Style

December 15, 2019

Photo Credit

Daniel Solano


Valerie Lopez


Valerie Lopez


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 décor 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:

Taylor Dowdy