New tale to tell: Comedian takes fresh approach on latest release

The title surfaced easily enough.

Columbus comic Jeff Bodart last year was texting a simple, complimentary message to a female friend: “You look adorable.” Except that his phone’s spellcheck somehow turned his description into “affordable” just as he tapped the send command.

The 40-year-old Bodart turned the embarrassment into the whimsical name of his new disc, “Adorable and Affordable,” with On Tour Records of Lexington, Kentucky.

The album, recorded in 2016 at the Harlequin Theatre inside FairOaks Mall, will be part of what the Harlequin’s Robert Hay-Smith called “one huge laughter party” with four comedy pals at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at the 100-table-seats venue with Bodart heading the bill.

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City residents who have followed the Columbus native since he launched a stand-up career in 2001 will find a more patient comedian navigating his way mostly through recent, true experiences, rather than zipping off quick jokes as he once did, including his 2012 debut disc, “They’re In the Can.”

“I never had really thought of myself as a storytelling comic before this,” said Boadart, a regular writer and frequent on-air guest for the nationally syndicated “Bob and Tom” show originating in Indianapolis. “I realized that, sometimes, I have been impatient. I want a laugh, another laugh, then immediately another laugh.”

The nationally touring performer gets plenty of chuckles on the disc relating his experience of walking — or, we should say, attempting to walk — the Mill Race Half-Marathon in 2013, including the fairly funny way his journey ended, which Bodart expertly highlights with a deadpan delivery.

On the record, he also talks of how his parents failed him when they named him, just after giving his older brothers such awesome, Biblical-hero names as CHRISTopher and Michael (as in the archangel).

Another too-good-to-be-true story emerges from his 1996 Columbus prom, when his date eventually arranged a plan to ditch him and meet another guy instead for the After Prom. Such bits have impressed veteran comics like Gregory Behrendt, author of the best-selling book, “He’s Just Not That Into You,” and a Bodart friend.

“Your approach hearkens back to a much older style of comedy,” Behrendt told Bodart when he recently heard the album.

Hay-Smith, who attended show where the album was recorded, saw Bodart use his material wisely and win over the audience.

“People will hear a compilation of bits that really worked well for him,” said Hay-Smith, who recently veered into successful stand-up himself and has now opened for Bodart at venues in Indiana and Illinois. “He has a wonderful, self-effacing way.”

That style sometimes surfaces on his Facebook page. As a fairly new local homeowner, he posted this dry-wit gem recently: “Either someone has broken in and stolen one steak knife or I seemed to have misplaced it. I think you know which is more plausible. I need new door locks.”

Truth be told, who knows? The new release might just open a few new doors on a more-than-meaty career.

Laughs aplenty

What: Comedy night and release party for Columbus resident and nationally touring comedian Jeff Bodart’s new disc, “Adorable and Affordable.”

Who: Bodart as emcee and headliner; along with fellow comics Sam Griswold, Jeff Oskay, Logan Baert and Jordan Dybus.

When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19.

Where: The Harlequin Theatre inside FairOaks Mall, 2380 25th St. in Columbus.

Tickets: $15 in advance, available at the mall office or Viewpoint Books downtown or theharlequintheatre.brownpapertickets.com or $20 at the door.

Refreshments: Cash bar available.

Information: 812-343-4597 or theharlequintheatre.com

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