COMEDY FESTIVAL ‌ Wisenheimers, Cutups, and Clowns 

Former Charlestonian Kenny Z makes a return to stand-up

click to enlarge Johnson and Kenny Z: someone left the webcam on
  • Johnson and Kenny Z: someone left the webcam on

Kenny Z & Friends

Wed. @ 8:30 p.m. and Fri. @ 8 p.m., Cumberland's


Kenny "Kenny Z" Zimlinghaus is best known among local audiences as a talented, spiky-haired, slightly hungover, wise-crackin' stand-up comedian and radio morning show host. After fiddling around for a while in Boston and New York, he relocated to Charleston and worked for more than two years on the air at 96 Wave with co-host Storm Zbel hosting the "Storm & Kenny Radio Show with Stupid Mike" on 96 Wave (they were shitcanned unceremoniously last spring by station execs – much to the objection of a sizeable fan base).

In recent years, Kenny has hosted and performed around town with several local stand-up comedy series, including his own "Comedy Free with Kenny Z" series. During last January's Charleston Comedy Festival, he hit the stage of the American Theater as part of the "Stand-Up-O-Rama" event. This week, he returns from his new home in New York City for two nights of raucous stand-up at Cumberland's during the Fourth Annual Charleston Comedy Festival.

"The Have Nots! have really done an amazing job putting comedy out there and getting people to come out for it," Kenny says. "Especially with this festival. I think we all feel like Charleston comedy gets better and better every year. There would be no comedy in Chucktown if they weren't around. Also, there is no better audiences than the ones in Charleston. Anyone who has performed there would agree.

"I'm doing the shows with a buddy of mine, Greg Johnson," Kenny says of the festival gigs. "He hosts a weekly stand-up show here in N.Y.C. and cohosts an online radio show with me. Also on the bill will be a very special friend, Stupid Mike, who will be performing on both shows."

Why Cumberland's – a big room known for hosting rock bands, wannabe local celebrities, and beer-swilling drop-outs? Can you even have a decent yuk fest in such a place?

"I couldn't think of a better place to have a show," Mr. Z says. "It's one of the best bars in Chucktown. The theatres are a great place to perform, but I don't like to hang out and drink in theatres. I don't think it's even possible to achieve decency when you are putting on something called a 'yuk fest.'" –T. Ballard Lesemann

Charleston Comedy Festival 2007

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