Tony Zaret – “Are You Ready to Go Berserkatroid Bananas?!”
by Will Garre
Just in case you are ready to go “berserkatroid bananas,” New York City comedian Tony Zaret is the only man capable of showing you exactly what that feels like. Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Zaret delivers a comedy style that is unmatched in NYC. In fact, his stage presence is so unusual that he can aptly be described as the Great White Buffalo of comedy (Ted Nugent reference will make sense later).
Zaret is a writer/producer for the USA Network, where he has been working, barring a stint at ABC, since 1999. He has worked his way up in the company, just like Michael J. Fox in The Secret of My Success. After preliminary flirtations with stand-up in NYC, Zaret moved to LA in 2007, where he decided to take the art form more seriously. Unfortunately, after six months Zaret was drained, and he took a break from comedy.
His efforts in stand-up would be put on hold until December, 2010, when he moved back to NYC and started getting on stage every night. Zaret believes that his growth as a stand-up did not really begin until he bombed at some of the tougher, more depressing open mics in NYC (and there are plenty of those). He started to experiment with creative ways to elicit laughter on stage, and after some time, he was at a stylistic crossroads: he realized he had to “either say crazy bullshit, or say real stuff, [but not] both.” He decided to say crazy bullshit.
This was a wise decision, because not only is Zaret’s crazy bullshit hilarious, but it provides a welcome, unique respite from the real stories many comedians tell. Zaret is extremely high-energy, and he comes at the audience hard from the beginning, firing off multiple rounds of endearing nonsense. He is “Double Live Gonzo,” like Tia Carrere in Wayne’s World. He is the type of comedian that will break open a room full of tired, jaded comedians and leave no knee unslapped.
Zaret has an interesting catalog of influences. Among Steve Martin and Norm Macdonald, he also lists 1970’s rock groups like Ted Nugent and the J. Geils Band. Zaret takes pleasure in Ted Nugent’s insane on-stage rants, and he claims that they fortify his unpredictable, rapid-fire comedic persona. So prepare for the heat when Zaret is on the cast list, because, as Ted Nugent once said, “Anybody wants to get mellow, you can turn around and get the fuck outta here, alright!”
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Also, see him in the syndicated video series, “Gary Teaches Guitar,” on Channel 101 NY: http://ny.channel101.com/view.php?epid=689