Zimmerman on Zimmerman

Fear the beards?: Asheville’s own Joe Zimmerman, second from left, may win championships with his large beard — just like the Giants relief pitcher.

The Beards of Comedy will be coming to the Magnetic Field to kick off a two-week tour that will wind all the way to Omaha, Neb,, wrapping up April 8 in Atlanta at the Laughing Skull Festival. The Beards have been described as a fiercely follicled foursome of hilarity to be reckoned with, and as a member of the Beards, I had a rare opportunity to interview myself. I learned a lot about myself that I didn't know I knew.

Joe: What's the most common question you're asked about the Beards of Comedy?
Me: "What happens if one of you shaves?"

Joe: That's a great question. What does happen if one of you shaves?
Me: Well, it's a lame question, especially since I just gave it to you. But that person would be murdered twice and buried alive, which is why no one has shaved in two years. That and because we're in a tour called the Beards of Comedy.

Joe: What's it like doing comedy in your home town of Asheville, for a bunch of hippies?
Me: They're not all hippies; maybe 80 percent. I get nervous they will see a joke they've heard me do before and think, "Hey, I already heard that!" Plus, about 95 percent of them are hippies, so they want everything to be all healing and spiritual. Only one of my jokes has real healing powers, so I'll probably close with that. 

Joe: You don't do all new material? I thought everything a comedian did was spontaneous, like how Jon Stewart just riffs on The Daily Show.
Me: Okay, well Jon Stewart has a staff of writers, just like anyone on TV, and they run through the entire show beforehand. But the reason you can't do all new material is because you want to put on a good show, and if you're always doing new material, it means you'll have a lot of misses.

Joe: By "you" do you mean "you," or do you mean "me?" 
Me: I mean second person "you," as in anyone.

Joe: So you're saying any random person can do new material at a Beards of Comedy show? That seems like a recipe for disaster.
Me: No. It's just the Beards of Comedy performing, plus special guest Cary Goff. There will be no random people off the street doing new material.

Joe: You said if you do new material, it means you have a lot more misses, what does that mean?
Me: Oh, like when you swing and miss. It's a baseball analogy for striking out.

Joe: Strikes aren't good?
Me: Not if you're the batter.

Joe: Wouldn't you be the pitcher?  Aren't you metaphorically "pitching" your "jokes."
Me: You don't need to put "jokes" in quotation marks, it sounds like you're mocking me. It could also mean missing the strike zone. I don't want to throw a lot of balls.

Joe: So by telling your old worn-out jokes, you're like the relief pitcher for the Giants, with the big beard, who wins championships? The "Fear the Beard" guy.
Me: They're not necessarily worn-out jokes but yes, you could say I'm trying to be more like Brian Wilson for the Giants. He wouldn't try some new grip on a curve ball with the World Series on the line.

Joe: So in this analogy, you want the audience to strike out and lose.
Me: I want the audience to have a great time. 

Joe: Then why not let them score some runs? It sounds like you want to beat the audience with your jokes. 
Me: Maybe it's more like a game of tennis, where you want to keep a volley going as long as possible, and then you both win.

Joe: That sounds terrible.
Me: Fine, don't go.
Joe: Maybe I won't.

Regardless of Joe's presence at the show, there will be at least three other Beards to carry the performance, along with Asheville's own Cary Goff. The Beards are four stand up comedians who have combined forces to create a dynamic stand-up comedy show that implements elements of sketch, improv and even music. Clips, reviews, blog, calendar and video shorts at BeardsofComedy.com.

what: Beards of Comedy
where: Magnetic Field
when: Tuesday, March 22 (8 p.m. $10. themagneticfield.com)

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