Jeff Bodart is uncertain what he was thinking when he agreed to enter the half-marathon in Columbus’ Mill Race Marathon last fall. After all, he had been making a living doing jokes about his couch-potato ways.
But when his brothers Mike and Chris told him, “It’ll be good for you,” he knows what they were thinking.
“That was code for, ‘You’re getting fat,’” said the 36-year-old Columbus native and veteran funnyman.
A former Republic graphic artist before he ditched his day job for the stage in 2001, Bodart promises to run through lean, tight shows Friday and Feb. 13 locally. The Friday show is a rescheduled event at The Harlequin Theatre at FairOaks Mall, 2380 25th St. The Feb. 13 event is part of IUPUC Homecoming Weekend Comedy Night at The Columbus Learning Center. IUPUC organizer Sandra Miles said the idea behind the show is simple.
“We wanted to make the weekend as appealing and fun as possible,” Miles said. “And we know everybody likes to laugh.”
Bodart just wants to make sure recent writing sessions at coffee shops all over the Midwest turn out enough new material for a local audience.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself (for hometown shows),” he said, speaking by phone from Spring Lake, Mich., where he was preparing to perform.
Actually, he felt enough pressure last year just after feeling his heart was telling him to go West, young man. But when he got to Los Angeles to live as he had planned for several years, everything fell apart — his plans with roommates, lodging, you name it.
So he returned to Indiana to find a place in Indianapolis — in time to watch much of his future restored.
He appeared in a Comedy Central competition (where he won the first round), landed a recurring guest-host spot on the nationally syndicated, 5 million-
listener “Bob and Tom,” began touring with “The Bob and Tom Show” sidekicks Chick McGee and friends, and landed as a comic-relief character in an independent film, “Dandelion Dreams.”
Plus, he aims to record his second comedy album at an Indianapolis show by year’s end. A nice turnaround from his California collapse of sorts.
“Los Angeles really turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” he said.
Tom Griswold, longtime co-host of “Bob and Tom,” decided to bring Bodart on board as a guest-host when sidekick Bob Kevoian is gone. Griswold said that Bodart fits in well among a small pool of guest-hosts.
“He’s definitely not afraid to make fun of himself or readily make himself the butt of his jokes,” Griswold said.
The host also mentioned that Bodart’s personality fits well with the rest of the studio crew.
“For most comedians, it takes a while to find their voice,” Griswold said. “And he has taken the time to develop his own voice.”
Though he tackles a variety of topics, he rarely strays far from making fun of his appearance, which he once compared to singer k.d. lang. Only thing is, his half-marathon run that ended at the eight-mile mark truly has been part of his effort to get healthy and shed weight.
Which explains one of his own wiseacre comments on Facebook.
“I’m having a contest with myself to see how many times I can adjust my underwear ... while walking on a treadmill,” he recently posted.
He’s trying to keep the pace of a career that now includes dates about 42 weeks out of the year, which is enough to get by.
“I won’t ever say, even right now, that I’ve made it,” he said. “But I will say that I’ve hit most of my goals (so far).”
Well, except for the 13.1-mile effort. But, in comedy, he’s already demonstrating he’s one willing to go the distance.