Chad Prather has taken an unusual career path into comedy.
“My career went backwards from what most comedians do. Most comedians, they do the open mikes, go to the clubs. And then from the clubs, they might start doing theaters, and their social media takes off, and they wind up on television. I was on television, my social media took off, then I was doing theaters, and now I’m doing clubs,” Prather said.
“It’s really been an interesting journey that has taken me deeper into the craft of comedy.”
Am I Crazy?
Usually labeled an “armchair philosopher” or humorist, Prather traditionally plays big theaters across the country with his show, filled with homespun observational humor and right-leaning commentary about the world. As of late, however, the arrival of COVID-19 has put the big theaters on pause. Starting in June, Prather began playing comedy clubs with his “Am I Crazy?” tour. He’ll be stopping by the Funny Bone at Levis Commons on December 26 and 27.
“We’re accustomed to doing these large performing arts theaters, so it’s been a little bit of a change, in that rather than going in and doing one big night in a city and then onto the next, we’re doing multiple nights. So it’s a different element, different aspect, different environment. But it’s been a lot of fun.”
Despite the circumstances and the change of scenery, Prather has been able to stay very busy, estimating that he’s visited 22 different states over the past 25 weeks. He said that he’s found audiences particularly receptive to his show, mainly because they’re just happy to be out and around other people again.
“The beauty of comedy clubs is, you’re very close to the people, so you get immediate feedback,” Prather said. “You’re very much pushed to make sure that you are really honoring the craft of comedy when you’re in those clubs, because so many of those have such a rich tradition. Which, to me, makes it fun.”
Prather’s path to the clubs began back in 2013. He began working on a travel show for Ride TV called It’s My Backyard. To get the word out he began making posts to social media. Soon, his video “Unapologetically Southern” on YouTube went viral, and Prather’s southern-drawled, cowboy-hat-sporting philosophy became a hit.
“The biggest compliment that I’ve gotten, from the very beginning, starting years ago, and even from the family of Will Rogers, was when people called me a modern day Will Rogers,” Prather said. “First of all, I probably couldn’t carry Will Rogers’ jock strap, if Will Rogers wore a jock strap, I don’t know. And I always laugh that off, but then even the family, who I have met, they were very honoring towards me and what I do.”
Through it all, though, Prather has always been hesitant to classify himself as a stand-up comic. “I used to say that I don’t consider myself a comedian, simply because I did not grind my way up through that school of hard knocks, and digging in the trenches. Then I have too many comedian friends who have said over the years, ‘You have gotta stop saying that, because you are doing comedy.’”
And soon, Prather may be doing comedy on a debate stage. Earlier this year, Prather announced his candidacy for governor of Texas in 2022.
“Being in the entertainment business, I see so many people, so many friends, who are losing their businesses, and losing their ability to go out and provide livelihood for their families. And when I saw another mandate come out from our governor, Greg Abbott, I was in South Dakota, I was actually with Donald Trump, Jr. that evening. And I had one extra glass of wine, and got just enough ticked off that I said, ‘You know what? I’m throwing my hat in the ring.’ Which is something that I said I would never, ever do.”
In conversation, it’s clear Prather is serious about his candidacy— at least in terms of what he hopes its impact will be on others around the country.
“Whether you ever become governor, or any other elected office or not, at least get involved with the conversation, and let the voice of the common man be heard. And I think I’ve got my finger on the pulse in many ways of that, because I interact with so many people on a common level and a common basis.”
Saturday, December 26 at 6 and 8:30pm.
Sunday, December 27 at 6pm.
Toledo Funny Bone
6140 Levis Commons Blvd, Perrysburg.
(419) 931-3474 | toledo.funnybone.com