Bob Zany feels no pressure serving Saturday as the lead-off hitter in the new YES Comedy Showcase season.

“They’re going to be disappointed with the other (later) acts — let’s put it that way,” Zany said. “They’ll say, ‘We saw a real comedian the first time.’”

Actually, the Los Angeles-based standup performer is joking, fittingly enough. He is friends with every other comic currently on the card through January at the 177-seat venue at Fourth and Jackson streets in downtown Columbus. In fact, he has shared the stage with most of them.

The shows benefit programs, including the Angels of Love Christmas gifts effort, helping clients of the nonprofit Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center.

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Zany, whose real surname is Tetreault, said he considers his stage name “more of an oxymoron. And the oxy’s silent.”

The comedian who has been all over television and in films such as “The Informant!” with Matt Damon, said he loves the cozy confines of venues such as YES. And he promises that local ticket buyers will hear totally different material than he uses on programs such as radio’s “The Bob & Tom Show.”

“It’s like the difference between hearing your favorite band on the radio and seeing them live,” said Zany, a 39-year veteran of the road. “And standup is my baby.

“People regularly have told me that I’m much funnier live than on the radio. And I tell them, ‘Well, I would certainly hope so.’”

Zany is expected to do 90 minutes this weekend with no opening act.

Columbus resident Warren Ward, who grew up listening to records from acts such as George Carlin, has been attending YES comedy shows for several years, seldom missing a performance.

Once something strikes Ward’s funnybone, he’s more inclined to laugh at additional material.

“The later it gets in the show, the more primed I am for humor,” he said.

Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center’s Diane Doup offered a theory why the comedy offerings seem to be growing in popularity, especially the past couple of seasons.

“One thing very appealing about our shows is the environment in which they are set,” Doup said. “People like the idea that they are right here in their own backyard (of Columbus).

“But I think it also has something to do with the caliber of comics we bring in. I think folks enjoy the idea of seeing the big names from television and the people touring nationally.

“And we provide an affordable entertainment option.”

Plus, Doup said she has noticed that ticket buyers enjoy interacting with the comics.

Mike Armstrong, a New Year’s Eve mainstay sellout act of recent years at YES, makes it a point to greet many people at the door before a performance, and then chat with them while they’re in line. Others regularly make time in the lobby afterward for audience members.

The season of laughs

All shows are at 8 p.m. at YES Cinema, Fourth and Jackson streets in downtown Columbus. Tickets are $20 in advance at YES or by calling 812-379-1630 or $25 at the door.

Snacks, beer and wine available at all shows.

  • Saturday: Bob Zany. Rated R.
  • Oct. 15: Dan Chopin with comic songs and stories.
  • Nov. 12: Singer Henry Phillips.
  • Dec. 31: Mike Armstrong
  • Jan. 28: Drew Hastings

More shows to be announced.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.