Even a green comic can draw some laughs in front of a warm comedy-club crowd, but if you want a real test of comedic ability, throw them in front of twenty people at a sushi restaurant off of a dark, foggy highway in California’s central coast. Then see who’s laughing. Last weekend, everybody was laughing. That’s because local stand-up staple, Zoltan Kaszas
happened to be there. After a few scattered laughs, painfully extracted by the first two jokesters of the night, you could tell there was little hope for a full on redemption.
“With a name like ‘Zoltan,’ you’ve really only got two career options: comedian… or wizard.” From sitting in the crowd, you notice an immediate shift in energy in the room. Attention diverts away from plates and planned company, and a scattered collection of lips part to reveal toothy grins and sets of eyes lighting up to break through the otherwise cold and mundane night. Like a shore full of lighthouse beacons.
And you really only need those first few moments to realize that, for a comedian, he knows how to work some magic.
Zoltan (yes, his real name), was born in Hungary, but moved with his mother to the United States while he was too young to speak, let alone deliver a punch-line. He was raised in San Marcos, and was eventually pushed to the stage as something to do while healing from shoulder surgery - “I knew I’d need something to do because I’d have [both shoulders] in one of those casts for six months…” (he never did end up going under the knife). “I ended up having a show that I didn’t want to miss that was on my surgery date, and I was already sketchy about the surgery so I ended up cancelling it, and I haven’t dealt with it since.”
Like many young comics, taking the stage for the first time was going to be a breeze. “I went in to the Comedy Co-Op and I ate my ass for six minutes.” But it was the fact that he didn’t get laughs that challenged him to continue and develop. “That’s when I realized – oh, I want to get good at this!” Which is exactly what happened. Good came and then turned into great as Zoltan began winning comedy competitions and touring the country. His wry, witty humor and playful sarcasm create an engaging and likeable personality that doesn’t wane when he steps offstage. Thoughtful and imaginative down-to-earth ranting blend with clever and good-natured razzing to decompress the audience, and allows them to enjoy the entirety of his sets.
So catch him now (and pick up his debut album Naked Cartwheels
) whether it be at any number of local comedy clubs like The La Jolla Comedy Store
, Madhouse Comedy Club
in downtown, or even a sushi joint in the dark hours of the evening. No matter where you are, you’ll find yourself laughing your ass off.