Zach Wycuff is a 27-year-old comedian from Cincinnati, who has also worked as a zoo security guard, probation officer and youth minister.
He is one of the funniest and nicest comics in Cincinnati, often making fun of his church-centered upbringing.
Louisville Laughs: How did you get started in comedy?
Zach: I got started in college after a mentor of mine here in Cincinnati told me about how he used to do improv. I always loved comedy growing up and didn’t realize that it existed in places that weren’t New York or L.A.
I thought there was some sort of Harry Potter school of Jokecraft and Clownery, and until that point, I had been waiting for Seinfeld to show up at my door and say “Yer a comedian, Zachy!”
What is the Cincinnati comedy scene like these days?
The Cincinnati comedy scene is full of so much talent that it’s equal parts inspiring and annoying. Like I would think doing comedy in a mid-sized city like Cincy that I would be some sort of big fish in a little pond but no; there’s a lot of pretty big fish in this mid-sized pond. Everyone is good and always forcing me to up my game.
I try to make space for the newer folks because the same grace was extended to me as I was coming up and want to do the same for others. Although for some particularly talented youngsters I haven’t entirely ruled out pulling a Nancy Kerrigan.
Much of your comedy pokes gentle fun at your Christian faith and upbringing. Is it difficult to find just the right tone?
Great question! “Gentle poking” sounds like something my youth pastor would teach me to be against. Definitely it is.
I make fun of the thing because I love it and am very much in it. I like Jesus but don’t necessarily love all the BS people try to attach to His name.
So it’s hard to sometimes say what I mean in a way that works for my mom and also doesn’t sound like I just came from youth group. But the fun part is figuring it out!
You have been a probation officer and a youth minister. How are those jobs alike?
I’ve found most of the jobs I’ve had have been like being a wet blanket. I’m a heat-seeking missile for fun; I find it and blow it up.
I also think I really just want the best for people and want to do my best to gently guide them in a way that feels honoring and loving, but sometimes that can feel like dad coming downstairs to the sleepover and telling everyone to turn off the Nintendo and go to sleep.
Have you ever performed at a show in a bar or some other venue and thought to myself, “This is not my crowd?”
Despite my background, I feel very at home in a bar or wherever. The worst time I had with a “this isn’t my crowd” moment was when I was hired to perform for a function celebrating volunteers at a local library. What they didn’t tell me is that the gig would be for primarily 65-80 year olds in a brightly-lit room before noon.
If you were making a formula for a bad comedy show, this would be it.
Thankfully their vision wasn’t good enough to see my pit-sweat through my shirt. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life. The worst was when I would make fun of myself and then they would laugh, because I knew they could hear me and it wasn’t a hearing-aid issue.
I talked to a lady in the front row about jazz for 5 minutes and she got the biggest laughs of the set. I should’ve guessed they wouldn’t like me. Librarians main job is telling people to be quiet. I wish they had told me to do that.
You can follow Zach at @wach_zycuff on Instagram and Twitter. He will tell you jokes that are super funny if you’re not a librarian! Thanks friends!