Q&A with Nashville Comedian Chance Willie

By Nathan Alexander

Chance Willie is coming to Louisville to headline Planet of the Tapes and he is bringing a slate of local favorites for a show on Thursday, June 15th. Get your tickets here!

Chance Willie is a stand-up comedian from Nashville who has performed all over the country. He comes to us through Lexington comic and producer Jon Bass who has been booking shows in the area. Chance will be joined by some of Louisville’s best in Will McKenzie, Hilary Boston, Mairead Thomas and Jwal The Jerk.

Chance was kind enough to answer some questions from Louisville Laughs.

Louisville Laughs: How long have you been performing standup and what made you decide to go for it?

Chance Willie: I’ve been doing comedy for 7 years. I started after I spoke at my dad’s funeral and got some laughs. He and I watched a lot of stand-up together. I did my first open mic pretty shortly after that and got addicted to it.

Did you get your start in Nashville? Do you remember any of the jokes from your very first open mic and are there any that you still use today? What’s the comedy scene like in Nashville?

Technically, I started in Chattanooga where I did a handful of open mics. One of the jokes from my very first set was, “I live on the state line of Tennessee and Georgia, on the Tennessee side – which is great, because I don’t have to take out the trash. I just throw it across the street.” I don’t use that joke anymore.

The Nashville comedy scene is small, but everyone cares a lot. We’re all focused on getting very good at comedy. We all know each other and love to hang out, and it’s a great place to start. There are a few big guys around like Dusty [Slay], Nate [Bargatze], and Aaron [Weber] who are like lighthouses that help show us which way to go and navigate things. That’s really great to have.

What advice have you gotten that has made the most difference in your journey as a stand-up? Do you have any advice for young comedians, writers, performers?

Louis [CK] told me, “Live a life,” and Theo [Von] told me, “It’s a long race.”

My advice for new comedians is, “Don’t post mid – and keep writing.”

Do you have a comedy horror story?

I played a club once (which shall remain nameless) and as soon as I pulled the mic out of the stand, this dude in the front row yelled, “Fuck you, pussy!” and then I did 30 minutes of crowd work to a room full of people who won tickets on the radio. Fun night.

What’s your comedy highlight so far?

Playing the Chicago Theater with Theo Von. In the hallway you can see where every artist who has ever played there has signed their name. It’s every big act you can imagine. I signed my name on the fire alarm in really small letters. I didn’t even feel like I should be there.

I brought Theo up to the 90s Bulls’ walk out music. That feels like a dream.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of stand-up? How does that inform your material and performance?

Playing chess with my girlfriend. She always beats me. Sometimes when I’m writing or performing I slip into a “cool guy” persona, but the funny stuff for me always comes from failing. There is no better exercise for that than being intellectually dominated by my hot girlfriend.

What do you hope to achieve in a standup performance? What are you aiming for the audience to take away from the Chance Willie experience?

I want them to laugh. A lot. That’s it.

What’s on your comedy bucket list?

I want to Kill Tony. I want to actually kill him.

Don’t miss Chance Willie at Planet of the Tapes Thursday at 8pm!

You can find Chance on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.

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