Comedy, Features December 4, 2023

Sam Tallent: A Hilarious Journey to the Top

by Nate Wilde

Sam Tallent is killing it. The Colorado-based stand-up comic has become a source of pride for many of those who witnessed his rise to the top of the comedic mountain—and likely the source of childish resentment from his peers in the comedy scene still frequenting open mics, as it goes all too often. However, anyone familiar with Tallent’s quick wit and overall demeanor can likely assume he’s not the least bit fazed by the latter company. His dreams have come true, but as they say, it’s a long way to the top.

Sam Tallent photographed by Jason Alfaro of Right Eye Media

“I just flew in from Vegas and boy are my arms tired.”

Comedy isn’t easy. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a frazzled stand-up comedian lashing out at a heckler with the all too familiar, “You think this is easy?! Why don’t you try it?!”

Tallent, on the other hand, makes it look easy. One of his first memories is appearing in a home video at around three years old, sliding into the kitchen on his knees and proclaiming the classic, “I just flew in from Vegas and boy are my arms tired” line. It would seem Tallent was born for this, and hopped right on the gravy train still in pull-ups.

7-11 Dumpster Pizza

As one may guess, the road to international tours and a spot on The Joe Rogan Experience wasn’t exactly paved in gold. That’s right—Elbert County’s hometown hero was on a recent episode of Rogan’s podcast, where he spoke of hardships like eating leftover pizza out of the dumpster behind 7-11 and sleeping on floors for entirely too long before graduating to a futon.

Prior to rummaging through the trash for food, Tallent speaks of a happy childhood in small town Colorado with two adoring and funny-in-their-own-unique-ways parents. It should also be noted these are the same parents who had a wild and crazy night with a case of Zima in Glenwood Springs, which directly resulted in the conception of our subject. 

Sam Tallent photographed at Comedy Works (Denver) by Jason Alfaro of Right Eye Media

The COVID Catapult

Tallent got where he is now with his inherent ability to make others laugh, paired with a lot of hard work. He powered through horror-story gigs involving things like “Duck Shit Bingo” before doing things like hosting Film on the Rocks, opening for fellow successful Colorado-based comic Josh Blue, as well as someone who would eventually help change Tallent’s world forever, Mr. Fourth Most Famous Host of The Man Show himself, Doug Stanhope.

The pandemic changed everything. We all know which one. Most of the results were undoubtedly negative, but COVID ended up being, in a roundabout way, a catalyst for the thing that would catapult Tallent into the mainstream.

Running the Light

Tallent is an intelligent, book-loving, short story-writing kind of guy, and during an especially lonely and boring stint living in Las Vegas while his wife attended medical school, he started writing a book. But it wouldn’t be until a few years later when all of his gigs were cancelled due to COVID that the comic found himself motivated enough to finish his novel.  

Running the Light is a cautionary tale focused around a fictional stand-up comedian Tallent describes as “treacherous,” “nasty” and everything he fears becoming. Tallent himself describes the work best, saying, “It’s very bleak. I’m very proud of it. It’s still the best thing I’ve ever done in any aspect of artistic output.” 

Upon finishing Running the Light, Stanhope took the lead, sharing it with his comedic contemporaries including Bert Kreischer and Marc Maron. Stanhope went even further, inviting Tallent to his compound where he appeared on the aptly titled Doug Stanhope Podcast numerous times to promote it.

Intelligent Dummies

It was at this point the all-star high school football playing thespian from eastern Colorado would begin his transformation into a global, household name. Nowadays, even with the long, restless hours required to maintain a successful career as a stand-up comedian, Tallent is always on his game. It should come as no surprise that Tallent has named the legendary, late funny man Norm MacDonald as his all-time favorite, as the two share the remarkable skill of acting like a dummy for laughs, while secretly maintaining an extraordinary level of intelligence.

Sam Tallent photographed by Jason Alfaro of Right Eye Media

Sam Takes his Tallents to the Next Level

Tallent appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for modern comics, The Joe Rogan Experience, on April 11. It would be completely understandable for any comedian that wasn’t close friends with Rogan to be nervous, but our boy was cool as a cucumber. Even if he was nervous, the comedian certainly didn’t appear so, as his quick wit shone through the entire duration of the episode, dropping casual quips of comic gold throughout.

The pair discussed current events and thought-provoking topics with eloquence and peppered-in f-bombs, taking sips of Bud Light and a spoonful of something called Mad Honey in between. This top-of-the-comedian-mountain sit down with Rogan, along with all of the other huge successes Tallent has had over the past two years, are things he all attributes to his book. 

See the Global Sensation LIVE!

Today, Running the Light is an Audible bestseller, and Tallent is selling out venues in Australia. However, as successful as the funny man has become, and no matter what the future holds for him, it’s pretty unlikely he’ll ever forget his roots. After all, he did tell Rogan and the rest of the world about his parents knocking boots in Glenwood Springs tore up on Zima.

Insert one more clever pun about having “Tallent” here.

See Sam Tallent live at The Moxi Theater on December 21st, 2023. Tickets available at bandwagonpresents.com