Natashia Mower: Just Being Funny
Natashia Mower is one of the hardest working comedians currently in the Utah Comedy scene, and she’s one funny force to be reckoned with. Her quick and accessible comedy is second only to how genuinely nice she is as a human being. She is like the peanut butter to the, well, peanut butter on a spoon of comedy, because peanut butter is vastly important to her very existence. SLUG caught up with Mower to chit-chat about everything from her love of all things funny, her dedication to Salt Lake, and all of the crazy things she’s been up to lately.
Mower started out in the local comedy scene about three and a half years ago, and she quickly made a name for herself alongside other recognizable comics in Utah, earning various accolades, nominations, and features on numerous shows across the state. She said that, starting out, she still felt really new for a pretty long time, but she dove right in with everything she had. “I was unemployed at the time, so I was able to go to every second of comedy that I could. I remember doing comedy with just two people in a coffee shop (Ben Fuller and EK) but every second I could get, I took it.” That’s when things began to escalate. Her style of comedy is what she calls “joke-oriented.” She doesn’t pull any punches or try to tell long stories, she just delivers good, quick comedy. Mower typically sets it up and then throws you a punch-line: concise and crude. “I really like take it to the dumbest or crudest place possible. I’d feel like a fraud if I didn’t do that. I’m not trying to change anyone’s opinion, necessarily.”
She has been a fan of comedy since about the age of 13, recording late-night comedy on a slew of VHS tapes, and scouring the comedy bin at FYE for something that wasn’t Larry The Cable Guy. Mower remembers watching Ellen DeGeneres’s old comedy specials from the ’80s, so she became a great early influence. Then she got into sketch comedy, and would wait up to see the old SNL episodes from the ’70s that used to air at 3 a.m. on Sundays. Soon, she started to get an idea of what she liked and didn’t like. At the time she started going to see shows, she’d see people opening for the comedians coming to town and decided she wanted to do just that. So, eventually, she just went for it. “It took me a long time to figure it out—like four or five times onstage just to figure out how to tell a joke.” She thought about what it was like experiencing the process for the first time. “It’s like sex … Just kidding, everyone says that. Just getting brave enough to do it, and the first time it feels great, but it’s different for everyone.” One of the things that may hinder other performers, she thinks, is that they start out not taking it serious enough. “I want to kill it every time, and I know that’s not going to happen every time, but you have to get in the mindset every time.”
Once she realized that people were taking notice, and other comics were beginning to ask her for advice, it hit her, “I think I’m doing something right, so I’ll keep doing this.” Anyone who’s seen Mower onstage is happy that she did. “All of a sudden, I figured out I had an influence on others.” Part of what she thinks is important is encouraging the Salt Lake comedy scene to grow. Within just the last year, she feels that the scene has gotten even better. “Now, when people come through Salt Lake for an alternative show, there’s lots of support and we have stuff to show.” Salt Lake does have a lot to be proud of, with thriving club and alternative scenes and people just striving to get better. “I’m really proud of our scene! We’re really good, and people just don’t know it yet.” She talks about the pressures of being advised to move to other scenes where people are being noticed more. While she’s considered it only for a useful change of scenery, it doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere for some time. Different alternative scenes like Los Angeles are beginning to thrive and even book big-name comics onto their regular shows. “I don’t know if I’d want to live in L.A., but my dream would be to make it like that here.” Mower loves her city and everything Salt Lake has to offer, from the gorgeous scenery to all the fun things one can find to do. She even says that, “There aren’t too many assholes here.”
She feels like she’s gained a lot by embracing comedy. “I always knew that I aspired to do something comedic. When I figured out that stand-up was how it would translate or manifest, it gave me so much direction. Nothing feels as rewarding.” Being funny was all she ever really felt good at. Her advice to other aspiring comics out there? Just BE funny. With all the people trying to force it out there, or not enjoying their time onstage, it can sometimes be difficult to remember that. “Just be funny. It’s as simple as it can get.”
Mower has got a lot of projects out there to be watching for. Currently, she’s hosting Funny Fridays at Sandy Station, with a rotating set of local comics every week. It’s a chuckle-inducing bang for your buck. She’s also been seen frequently on Sunday Night Specials at Wiseguys Comedy Club, which is a free show. Her recent notable contribution is taking part in a new comedy series, Knickerbockers, with Andrew Jensen and Troy Taylor of Toy Soup. “It was a really new experience for me! I’ve never written anything except for a joke. Being able to sit with Andrew, Troy and Melissa [Merlot] and write episodes was really rewarding.” This hard-working woman isn’t even finished with that—she’s also got her podcast with local favorite Jason Harvey called Sketch Sandwich that just released its first episode on EarWhole Media. We’ll be seeing this and so much more out of Natashia Mower and the Salt Lake comedy scene, I have a feeling that we’ve only just seen the tip of the iceberg.
You can catch Natashia Mower (with Jason Harvey) on an upcoming show featuring Chris Thayer at Mo’s American Diner on May 18 at 7:30 p.m. for just $5. Follow Mower’s super-funny musings on Twitter @tashiamo. Check out Facebook.com/KnickerbockersComedy for more info about Knickerbockers and to see exclusive clips, behind-the-scenes info and trailers. When you’re done there, also stop by earwholemedia.com where you can check out Sketch Sandwich as well as a bunch of other amazing local podcasts.