Zumock fills Rathskellar with laughter
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File photo by Rachel Kilroy
Comedian Chad Zumock is almost always wearing a sweater vest.
“I was born with it,” he said jokingly.
But there is a real story behind the sweater vest. Thought of as a good luck charm, the Kent State graduate and Kent Roosevelt High School graduate is often inclined to tell jokes regarding it.
“Nothing says I’m going home alone like a sweater vest,” Zumock said, sitting in his multiple shades of blue, argyle sweater vest from Kohl’s Department Store.
So why does he carry on this tradition?
“I used to be in an old sketch group called Last Call Cleveland, and one day we wore them as a joke at a sketch fest, and I don’t know, everyone just started talking about them,” Zumock said. “I lived in Los Angeles, California and I had to audition at the Hollywood Improv. I put that sweater vest on as a kind of good luck charm because I wanted to remember that moment, and I killed.”
A ride on memory lane
In high school, Zumock was part of a comedy troop called “The Fat Five.”
“We were obsessed with the Beastie Boys,” Zumock said. “We thought we were the Beastie Boys. We started doing sketches and videos about it.”
While in high school, Zumock started to gravitate toward another comedy project called “Last Call Cleveland” with Mike Polk, a friend of Zumock.
He was always involved in some kind of creative endeavor, he said. Zumock started doing stand-up full time, had an agent lined up and prepared to leave Cleveland.
“I was real frustrated (with life’s situation),” he said. “I got a call from WMMS from Bo Matthews asking me to come in to audition for the co-host position.”
Up against three other contestants, Zumock went in and never left.
“They just liked me,” he said. “I think there was a good contrast there.”
Chad joins the Alan Cox Show and opens other doors
With eight months as a co-host on the 100.7 WMMS radio show, his schedule is getting full, but Zumock still finds time to pay respect to his alma mater.
Every Thursday night this semester at Kent State, he will be returning to host stand-up nights at the Rathskeller, put on by Undergraduate Student Government.
As no surprise to the audience on Sept. 9, Zumock opened the first set with jokes about Kent State.
“Kent State parties on any occasion,” he said. “My favorite thing about Kent: The police.”
Zumock spent many nights partaking in the fun, and some nights may have consisted of too much fun, he said.
“Living with five guys is like saying ‘fuck you, security deposit,’” he shouted during his performance.
But college humor wasn’t the only topic Zumock enjoyed telling jokes about. Some of his favorite topics of the night included masturbation, Clay Aiken, race and Cleveland sports.
“I loved when he (Zumock) made jokes about Cleveland’s sports teams,” said Leora Gregory, a freshman advertising major. “It’s funny because they’re all true.”
The audience had a reaction to every joke Zumock told, but the crowd may have been silent at a couple moments. One of those moments involved a joke about abortion.
“I want to walk into an abortion clinic and ask if they have a gift shop,” he said jokingly while talking about ‘mommy doesn’t love me’ T-shirts.
Zumock said it’s hard to write a joke. No, really, he said that.
Everyone tells him to write more jokes, he said.
“But that’s like going to the gym and saying get huge. OK, it takes time.”
So what exactly does go into crafting a joke for Zumock?
He explained that it always changes, depending on the situation.
“If it’s an audition, I’ll do a lot of open mic nights and guest appearances just to break off the rust,” he said.
Matt Wilson, Kent State alumnus and account executive at WMMS, liked that Zumock got away with more.
“Chad can make me laugh more than he does on the air when he does stand-up because he can say certain things he can’t say on the air, in person,” Wilson said.
Wilson has a few favorite jokes he enjoys hearing Zumock tell.
“His funniest bits are the ones where he talks about how his douche bag friends would dry hump his casket and draw things on his face if he died,” he said.
He also does a spot-on impression of Tom Cruise from Top Gun that Wilson said would make you double over in laughter.
The man behind the jokes
As all comedians do, Zumock has had some jokes go sour in the past.
“The first joke I ever told, I bombed horribly,” Zumock said. “I was at an open mic at a Champps restaurant in Independence. I went up there and said something about how black guys like my ass.”
With his quick wit and sarcasm, he soldiered on, maintaining his own style.
Zumock is a fan of comedians who are original and have integrity.
“I really like this comedian Sam Tripoli, he’s out in Los Angeles, not many people know him,” Zumock said.
“Comedians like Jeff Dunham and Carrot Top, they can die. They suck. Anybody with puppets, just stay out of my face. I hate puppets.”
Zumock is always trying to come up with new ideas for his radio show.
“He is always brainstorming and working on creating funny content that he thinks the audience will enjoy,” Wilson said. “He makes it fun to come to work every day.”
Zumock is working five days a week, four hours a day at the radio station 100.7 WMMS in downtown Cleveland. He has been with The Alan Cox Show for eight and a half months.
“It is great having Chad as a part of the team at WMMS,” Wilson said. “He brings a high level of energy to work each day and he works hard to make The Alan Cox Show a success.”
“I’m doing exactly what I was doing when I was 17,” Zumock said. “Except now I’m getting paid and have a 401K.”
And he couldn't ask for more.