ODUS and the LGBTQ+ Center are excited to have Princeton Alum, Zach Zimmerman ‘10, back on campus for his stand up show, Clean Comedy. Zach will be performing February 18th and 19th in the Lockwood Lobby at McCarter Theater Center. "Clean Comedy" skewers his traumatic Southern Baptist childhood and equally painful gay NYC adulthood. His mom says he should focus on clean comedy, and the show will delight her in title only. His performance will be followed by a conversation with Michael Cadden, former chair of the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts, dinner, and some information about resources on campus and in the community that center LGBTQ+ experiences.
Between his childhood and life post-princeton in NYC, Zach found community on campus through his involvement with the student-led arts community. Zach attributes his involvement in both groups to his career’s trajectory as a professional standup comedian and writer
“Quipfire changed my life. I got addicted to making people laugh and not having to write anything at all. So immediately after school I wasted 7 years doing improv in Chicago and not writing jokes. Triangle Club made me do the writing, and gave me a chance to perform at McCarter. Now I'm in the McCarter lobby, so you could say we are trending upward! What's wild, though, is my closest college friends to this day were from Quipfire and Triangle - isn't that bonkers.com? - so be careful who you're friends with in college cause you'll have to go to all their weddings.”
In addition to his life-changing experience in the co-curricular sphere, Zach carried his passion for the arts into his academic life as a Theater Program student. In his words,
“The theatre department was so special to me, too, from playwrighting classes to doing my thesis certificate with a two-person, hour-long improv show (again, we hate writing!). I know theatre/arts at Princeton have grown exponentially in the past decade, and I'm so happy about that and not bitter at all.”
Zach majored in religion, a seemingly natural choice for the son of a preacher, but (perhaps a surprising choice for the self-proclaimed now atheist performer.) his own experience tells different. – I need a joke here about lies and sinning and the fact that he’s now an atheist.
“I joke that I studied Religion and Theatre, a double major in lies. I thought I was going to study Math, but really bought the liberal arts "lie" you can study whatever intrigues you. I loved exploring all the world's religions, and I even think my senior thesis advisor read my thesis, which really warmed my heart.”
While it’s very clear that Zach was able to find community through theater on campus and even grapple with his own beliefs by exploring the beliefs of others, as a first gen student, Princeton was a difficult place to truly call home.
“It's tough to be poor, and it's tough to be poor at Princeton! You're surrounded by such institutional and generational wealth. I was lucky enough to find a tribe of folks with similar background, but if I could go back, I think I'd go deeper into Princeton pockets and spend more of their money pursing things I loved. There's a truly disgusting amount of money at Princeton, and you only get 4 years to spend it, so get that PU credit card and go wild.”
You heard it here first kids, Don’t leave Princeton without making Daddy P cash you out at least once.