Dear autocorrect: not once, has anyone, ever, intentionally meant to use the word 'clusterduck'. But in lieu of other words that can’t be published, it now seems apt. 2020 was a clusterduck.
And something in Nat’s What I Reckon’s biting online commentaries took that up and raised a light to it and reached literally millions of viewers who maybe felt better for it. Or less alone. Or less full of processed jar sauce.
Nat has been independently creating videos for the better part of the last decade. But it was during 2020 that his resonance intensified. His brazen comedy struck a chord with the masses in isolation, smashing quarantinis and frantically making bread to avoid thinking about their feelings. The time has come to collectively acknowledge it is hard to watch instructional knitting videos without crying, and far few people than will admit it actually know what an Airfryer is.
The number of content producers seemed to swell to an unfathomable number during the pandemic. Seemingly everyone was rollerblading and podcasting and enthralled by a guy with a mullet making money off large cats. Communication and human interaction changed in a really short space of time. Technology and multimedia became the landscape. Consuming images, ideas, learning, failing. Moments of deep existential dread punctuated with cupcake decorating videos. Taking out the rubbish became a viral movement. Day drinking. Trying to come to terms with this apocalyptic new world and rarely if ever having to put on pants. As a digital content creator, comedian, musician, iso chef and mental health advocate, Nat’s What I Reckon brilliantly captured those moments. The panic and the possibility.
In these bleak and confusing times, there is a comfort to Nat’s ethos; “Seek and destroy normalcy. Laugh when you’re not supposed to.” It is both normcore and radical resistance. It is wry but accessible. And sweary. “Everyone needs something to eat and a laugh. I suppose if you don’t have those two, we’re kind of f...ed.”
Nat is soon to bring his unique energy to the 2021 Adelaide Fringe. The 'On Purpose' tour is a multimedia stage show and video party featuring previously unreleased materials, interactive dialogue and audience participation. Video may have killed the radio star, but Nat wildly and successfully played with a bunch of formats over the past year. He sold out shows and released an acclaimed book. He was a guest programmer on Rage, a panelist and video presenter alongside Briggs at digital BIGSOUND. He did a Ted Talk and presented an ARIA.
The comedy is chaotic; unapologetic. It has a silliness that nevertheless provides a bracing social narration. “I want to make people laugh. I am stoked that all this stuff is going so well. But I'm not very good at talking about myself. I am kind of the Punisher in interviews.”
Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are very much part of the conversation. “I am not sure I would call myself an activist, but it is something that is important to me. It is something I have struggled with a lot. I am not going to go on some kind of campaign trail about it. But it means a lot to me. . . To have a chat about it, to chip in where I can.”
Underlying the comedy is Nat’s pervasive and continued love for playing music and working with local bands. He recently did a cameo in local party ensembles Haiku Hands and True Vibenation’s clip 'Squat'. It joyously recalls dancing in the street. Today, festivals seem like a forgotten 'Alice In Wonderland'-esque memory; colourful and smokey and faded around the edges. But it is a good time to imagine the line-up at the dream festival. Where anyone could play, alive or dead. “I’d probably have a bunch of my mates' bands. There’s some amazing rock and roll, amazingly talented hard rock bands around Newtown. I’m a bit of a weirdo with my music tastes. I’d love to see like some old bands, a bunch of jazz like Django Reinhardt. I’d be excited if I saw Nirvana play. I’d be pretty into that.”
Nat’s What I Reckon plays Top Of The Ark at Arkaba Hotel (Adelaide Fringe) 25-26 February.