Zach Zimmerman: gay comic at the Swedish American Hall

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Tuesday April 18, 2023
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Comic and author Zach Zimmerman (photo: Mindy Tucker)
Comic and author Zach Zimmerman (photo: Mindy Tucker)

Zach Zimmerman pulls no punches. In one of his YouTube videos, the openly queer comic talks about making a mold of his own penis for a boyfriend. After they break up, he takes the mold to his new apartment and, as he puts it, "I made sweet love to myself with myself, and I don't kiss and tell, but I will say I'm a better top than a bottom."

This kind of candor can be found throughout Zimmerman's just published book of essays "Is It Hot in Here? Or Am I Suffering for all Eternity for the Sins I Committed on Earth?" The book chronicles Zimmerman's journey through life with wit and good humor. Zimmerman opens up about his Christian fundamentalist family, his romantic life, his sex life, and other topics with an openness that lets the reader peek inside his soul and get to know who he is.

On April 26 Zimmerman will be appearing at the Swedish American Hall in San Francisco. The show is being put together in conjunction with Fabulosa Books, who will be selling copies of his book at the event.

Zach Zimmerman's book, 'Is It Hot in Here?'  

In "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," one of the essays in the book, Zimmerman recalls looking in his parents' bedroom for a pair of scissors that he needed. What he found was quite a thrill to his young eyes: dozens of condoms and a pamphlet titled "69 Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life." He read spice #57, "Shaving Your Pussy."

"Dan Savage told me when he shared his memoir with his mom, he redacted huge portions of it," Zimmerman said in an interview with the Bay Area Reporter. "In hindsight, I should have done this. Mom said she read it, but I think she skimmed. She definitely skipped the threesome chapter. Dad hasn't read it and I think I'd prefer if he didn't. He's more sensitive and spotlight averse."

Some of the essays are quite insightful. In "Salad," Zimmerman writes about his first Thanksgiving at home in four years in South Carolina with his conservative Christian family after a breakup with a boyfriend. He beautifully describes how awkward it can be for a gay man to share a table and break bread with people who do not approve of his life.

"Why don't we all say something we're thankful for?" suggests Zimmerman's mom.

"Jesus Christ," says his youngest niece.

In "French Kiss," Zimmerman recalls taking a trip to Paris with a boyfriend. During the return flight, the boyfriend informs him that they will be breaking up when they get home.

"I thought about the most significant moments and insights from my life and found that the themes that emerged were religion, family, work and love," Zimmerman said. "Also, from my stand-up, I know what themes interest me and resonate with people, so that helped me accelerate the writing process. My editor also brought her meat cleaver to tell me which essays, even if I loved them, didn't quite fit."

Zimmerman addressed what he was trying to convey when he put the book together.

Zach Zimmerman's album, 'Clean Comedy'  

"I was trying to capture some of the tensions in my life, the insights I've gleaned, and package them in polished, mostly humorous essays," he said. "I hope I capture a little of my spirit in it. A friend who read an early draft said it's 'very Zach,' which I think is the ultimate compliment, to have gotten who I am into a book."

The author promises that those who attend his show at the Swedish American Hall are in for a real treat.

"It'll be the best damn night of their lives," he said. "Well, at least the top 1000 night of your life, 'cause I don't know what everyone's lives look like. It will be a fun time; an evening of stand-up, some great local openers, I'll talk about the book and sign everyone's copies. I'm going on a San Francisco morning show that day, so expect me at my most caffeine-induced and alert by show time."

And if you're hesitant to check his book out, Zimmerman has a special message for you.

"Wow, you look great in that outfit," he said. "Truly, you look stunning. And I'm not saying that to get you to read my book. I'm not. I do think you'd enjoy it, this funny and heartfelt collection of essays, and humor pieces, the journey of a straight, meat-eating conservative becoming a queer vegetarian atheist, but mostly I've stopped you outside this Dave and Buster's to let you know you look amazing."

Zach Zimmerman: 'Is it Hot in Here' tour. April 26, 8pm, Swedish American Hall, 2174 Market Street, $25, 21 and older only.|>

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