Tallent brings laughs to Black Warrior Brewing


CW / Grace Walraven

Meghan Mitchell | @pomegranate_27, Culture Editor

Stand-up comedian Sam Tallent brought smiles and knee-slappers to the Black Warrior Brewing Company for a performance that will be used in his upcoming comedy special.  Tuscaloosa’s featured role in the live special will boost the city’s reputation in the comedy scene and provide opportunities for local talent. 

Though he’s well-known for his off-the-cuff roasts, Sam Tallent is talked about among friends as “the sweetest dude.” The Colorado native, who has been on the comedy scene since he was 20, has grown not only in his relationships with Tuscaloosa comics but in his affinity for the Southern charm of its audiences.  At the “Moontime” event presented by Stand-Up Tuscaloosa, he captured that dynamic in a live special, which viewers can enjoy in perpetude.

“I feel like people in the South were raised well, where they’re rowdy to a point, but then they don’t want to be rude,” Tallent said.  “So they’ll yell ‘roll tide’ and dirty s—, but then when you’re like, ‘Alright fellas,’ they’re like, ‘Alright.’”

The audience and Tallent fed off of each other in an energetic partnership. Jokes about LSU, Auburn and our own Alabama kept the “buck-wild” and “care-free” audience engaged and elated as Tallent riffed seamlessly from one bit to the next.

“I started off [in my career] very missionary style, straight-forward stand-up,” Tallent said. “The roasting thing is just more like trying to keep it fresh.”

While Tallent made jokes about an audience member’s top hat – and others being in a threesome, though they turned out to be siblings – he said he has a good feel for who’s interested in being the butt of the joke. 

“I think I have a very good sense of the people who want to interact and who can take a joke,” Tallent said.  “I never want to ruin anyone’s night. I don’t think I’m that mean or that vulgar. I’m not trying to rub anyone’s face in the carpet, but I definitely like to goof on people.

The host of the show, Caleb Garrett, was another comedian who had the audience guffawing with his jokes about pubes, gay porn and his wife. But there was a time when Garrett wasn’t as successful in the spotlight – namely the first night he met Tallent. The Stand-Up Tuscaloosa comic said he was “kind of a jerk” to now-good friend Tallent because Tallent was coming to “his” town to be funny.

“I went up that night, did 10 minutes [of stand-up] and ate the biggest pile of s— I ever ate,” Garret said.  “It was so embarrassing. And the whole time, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I was a jerk to that dude.’ And I remember I walked off and I was just standing there, and Sam kind of looked at me and was like, ‘Rough crowd, huh?’ Then [Tallent] goes up and absolutely destroyed. That was the first time I ever fell out of my chair laughing.”

Garrett has progressed since then, which was a relief for his sister, Emie Garrett, whose first time seeing him perform was during the show. 

“It can go really bad or really well,” Emie Garrett, a junior majoring in public relations, said. “I was really scared, especially that Caleb was going to get up there and people weren’t going to laugh, or someone was going to heckle him, but it was just really positive energy. I really liked it.”

Richard Lockhart was praised with laughs and claps for his set as well. Lockhart, the founder of Stand-Up Tuscaloosa, was a key factor in bringing Tuscaloosa’s modern comedy scene to life. Unintentionally falling into a leadership role for local comics, Lockhart is in disbelief about the progress he has made from having to trek to Birmingham for open mic nights to cultivating a well-rounded comedian community in Tuscaloosa. 

“Really and truly, it was because I was tired of driving to Birmingham,” Lockhart said. “At the time, gas was $3. I started it at the Green Bar – rest in peace – we had an open mic there. I didn’t really intend on being the person, and then when people came to sign up, the lady at the bar was like, ‘That’s the guy in charge,’ and I was like, ‘No, I just wanted y’all to do it,’ and then that’s how it started.”

While the audience enjoyed the show, Tallent said being on tour can get a bit tiresome.  Meeting people and having similar encounters time after time makes for monotony. 

“You do 240 shows a year, then you come back and some guy’s like, ‘Hey, you said this about me last time, and then we hung out for an hour and a half, and you turned me on to this band, and how’s your wife doing and how is your dog?’ and you’re like, ‘Dude, I don’t remember you at all,’” Tallent said. 

Despite his intense travel schedule, Tallent counts himself grateful to be able to do something he loves and be around people he loves.    

“I’ve never done a bad show in Tuscaloosa,” Tallent said.