Eye on KELOLAND: Pursuing stand up comedy


Sometimes, when you’re knocked down, it can be hard to stand back up.
For comedians in Sioux Falls that’s just another night on the job.

Nathan Hults knows stand up.

“I have been doing comedy just shy of ten years,” Hults said.

And in those years he’s had a number of accomplishments.

“I’ve been, pretty much, all over the country. I was a finalist in the San Diego Comedy festival. I’ve performed in California, St. Louis, Kansas City, Des Moines, I do the cities quite often and then small bars all around the country,” Hults said.

A family man, Hults has been through some hardships pursuing comedy full-time.

“My beautiful family doesn’t get to see me whole lot because I’m on the road or here trying to make this work… You have to spend a lot of time – that’s a lot of the thing about comedy is: it takes time,” Hults said.

And time can be challenging.

“It’s never easy to follow your passion, do your art, you know. There’s always a lot of ups and downs and stuff like that,” Hults said.

The clubs themselves are having a hard time standing up in Sioux Falls.

“We haven’t had a consistent comedy club since I’ve been here. Since I’ve been doing comedy, we’ve had five comedy clubs,” Hults said.

“By the time I turned 21, Rookies was the one we had at the time so I went there, did it for a couple years, then we has Wacko’s for about a year. So it’s been an interesting ride just going from place to place,” Dresch said.

That’s been largely due to low attendance at previous venues over the years.

But like being on stage, where anything can happen, Hults and fellow comics like Zach Dresch have to adapt.

“There’s always been a strong group of us to keep it going. So even if a place closes down, we’re always like, ‘Ok. Let’s all band together and figure out what we can do next and how can we all still keep performing and hang out with each other,” Dresch said.

Right now, that spot is at Boss’ Comedy Club, right off Minnesota Avenue, which Hults opened in 2017. It’s a hub for local comedians to try out their material.

“We have roughly, just under 20 – give or take – comics that are pretty consistent we see, and we have a lot of people come in and try it for a couple of months and come back,” Hults said.

But to be a comic, you don’t just need jokes- you also need an audience.
Graham Wilson, a regular attendee, has long been supporting the scene.

“I became really involved, myself, back when Wacko’s was around. I had gone to Rookies a couple of times, and I had gone to Fat Daddy’s many years ago when it was here,” Wilson said.

“For the most part, I usually head over once I’m off work so, you know, that’s anywhere between 45 to 50 a year just in those,” Wilson said.

Coming for the laughs, but coming back for an impact that hits harder than any punch line.

“You have a bad day at work… you know, you have a bad week, or something bad happens – I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine,” Wilson said.

And when the lights go down, it’s time to stand up.

But you never really stand alone.

“We have some amazing people that I call friends and also admire every day,” Hults said.

And fellow comedians are encouraged to stand out in their own special way.

“Just the weird, kind of, deadpan dry stuff, that was my influence. So, I love to take all of that, put it in a blender and make some sort of conventionality out of it and make it relatable, but also weird at the same time,” Dresch said.

“This place is very weird and unique because everyone comes at it in a different way. So there’s a lot of different styles of comedy, even just in this small scene,” Hults said.

A small scene with a big heart…

“I really… really like… the sound of laughter,” Hults said.

…And a lot to stand up for.

“We are a comedy scene that is determined to get new talent in and support them and not just be a cut-throat like, ‘Hey, I’m only doing my thing. You’re on your own.’ We’re all about growth, and if it weren’t for me being supported by the other comedians, I don’t know where I’d be right now,” Dresch said.

If you’re looking for some laughs, you’re in luck. Wednesday night these local comics can be found at Boss’ Chicken & Pizza on Minnesota Avenue. The open mic begins at 8.

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