Zach Zimmerman: 'I love my trauma. Being alive is painful!'

This article is from 2019

Zach Zimmerman: 'I love my trauma. Being alive is painful!'

c. Jeff Zorabedian

After a strict religious upbringing in Virginia, Zach Zimmerman has distilled a lot of material for his full Fringe debut

Last summer, queer vegetarian atheist comedian Zach Zimmerman quit his advertising job and took a holiday to Edinburgh, where he performed a few shows at the Free Fringe. It must have gone well as he's back for his first full Fringe run. 'I had a Scottish fling and he's bringing friends along this time so that's nice!', says Zimmerman, a Virginia boy who relocated to Williamsburg in 2017, after training and performing in Chicago with improv groups Baby Wants Candy and Second City Theatricals.

'My show is a beautiful tour of the religious freak show I grew up in,' he laughs, drumming baby blue fingernails on his cheek: 'they're blue like my humour'. Son of a Baptist pastor and curse word-phobic mom, he's made peace with a 'childhood devoid of joy, but full of fire and brimstone', done tons of therapy and is ready to have fun now.

'My therapist told me to use humour to flip my negative thoughts, which seems to work!' Onstage he'll be discussing his upbringing, rebellion and sexual exploits, hopefully making crowds 'cry a little and laugh a lot. Of course there is always this tension between becoming your own person and still wanting to be a good son,' says the just turned 31-year old. 'I want to become my own beautiful butterfly, but discussing stuff with my mom, say, is a field of landmines. I like to fuck, so not discussing sex in my stand-up would feel like erasing a big part of me.'

Turning the air blue with his confessional comedy, he's been compared to Hannah Gadsby for his honest look at queer identity. 'I think there is power in looking back at negative experiences. I love my trauma. Being alive is painful! But now I enjoy making jokes that speak my truth.'

Zach Zimmerman: Clean Comedy, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, 3–26 Aug (not 19), 10.45pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50). Previews 31 Jul–2 Aug, £6.

Zach Zimmerman: Clean Comedy

  • 3 stars

Walport Productions My mom says I should focus on clean comedy for my career. F*ck that. Please join me, a Time Out New York Comic to Watch 2019 (stop it, I'm blushing) as I skewer my traumatic Southern Baptist childhood and equally painful gay NYC adulthood. It's my debut hour at the Fringe, it'll be equal parts adorable…