It’s lunchtime in the Strip District and I’m meeting local comedian and filmmaker Ian McIntosh for a meal at Smallman Galley.
If you’ve never been, walking into Smallman Galley can be a little disorienting if you don’t know what to expect. It’s set up a bit like a food court, where you go up to the counter and order from one of a few separate restaurants, take a numbered sign and pick a seat in the bar area or dining room.
And all of that is because Smallman Galley is a restaurant accelerator. It houses four different restaurant concepts, providing them the infrastructure they need to get off the ground in a low-cost, low-risk opportunity for the chefs and owners to hone their skills and build a following.
So before we take a seat and get to chatting, I point out each concept and what they offer to McIntosh so he can decide where he wants to go. Iron Born has Detroit-inspired pizza. Ba-Co makes barbeque and puts it in tacos. Banhmilicious offers modern Vietnamese and Home does modern classic comfort foods.
“I think we should both do something different,” I say.
“I’m doing tacos,” McIntosh says.
“And I’ll get Home.”
We place our orders and go take a seat at a long table in the dining room where it’s nice and bright.
In my preparation for this interview, I noticed that McIntosh’s online presence is pretty limited. He uses his Facebook a little, but his Twitter account features only two tweets, the most recent one being from September 2017. It reads, “someone help me use Twitter, please?” And in the attached gif, an elderly white man confusedly drags the “My Computer” icon on his desktop into the “Trash” and his desktop computer vanishes.
“I don’t really like being on the internet all that much,” he laughs. “A lot of people say I’m like an old dude.”
Though, at 27 years old, McIntosh is decidedly not an ‘old dude.’
“You’re listening to people’s thoughts at all times, and it’s too much to just be piling that into you—especially if you’re doing something creative,” he says. “To me, I don’t like listening to other people talk because then I’m not developing my own stuff.”
Last year, McIntosh was chosen to be a part of the live storytelling podcast “RISK!” The podcast’s tagline is “‘true stories, boldly told.” Ian’s story, which is the wrenching tale of an interracial relationship, is on episode #931. It’s more than worth a listen.
In both his stand up and this podcast appearance, it’s clear McIntosh is a natural storyteller. And he’s passionate about his creative work. He also works as a filmmaker making promotional videos for local businesses.
“I think that it’s very important that you love it…there’s no other way to do stand up,” McIntosh says. “And if you love it, be ready to not see success for a long time.”
McIntosh’s food from Ba-Co comes out first. He went for the Texan taco, which features their house-smoked brisket and slaw. My fried chicken and cornbread from Home come out a little bit later. The chicken is boneless for easy eating and pickle-brined for deliciousness. It pairs well with the garlic and thyme mashed potatoes, pepper jelly and jalapeno cheddar cornbread.
McIntosh has been at stand up for about five years now. In that time he’s progressed from open mics and house shows to hosting and producing shows.
He says his favorite show he’s involved in at the moment is “Live at the Barbeque,” which he produces and hosts at the Arcade Comedy Theater downtown. It’s a lineup of all black comedians.
“People are like ‘how can you do an all-black show?’ and it’s like, ‘most of the shows are all white, so fuck you, I don’t know what to tell you.’”
At the most recent “Live at the Barbeque” the audience filled the room and then some. So clearly, you can do an “all-black show.”
The next “Live at the Barbeque” should be coming to the Arcade in the spring. You can keep an eye out for it on McIntosh’s Instagram, @imaccomedy, because he’s definitely not putting it on Twitter.