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Performing Arts

Boot Scootchin’ boogie

On his often hilarious debut album, local comedian Zach Smith demonstrates his innate understanding of what makes us laugh.

Zach Hale March 12th, 2014

Of the many names to emerge from Oklahoma City’s budding comedy scene, Zach Smith is one of the biggest, and not just in stature.

Smith is a burly, bearded dude (balding, too). In many ways, he resembles a disheveled Chris Pratt (TV’s Parks & Recreation). His appearance is important, but it’s not because his unique brand of comedy is in any way physical. 

Rather, it’s important because Smith’s tactics are largely of a self-deprecating nature. And what’s funnier than laughing at another person’s misfortunes?

On Scootch, Smith’s debut comedy album, he paints pictures with his words (kind of like a Picasso that has been out in the sun for too long), and he does so with a witty efficiency that doesn’t require you to be there in person. This largely is what makes the album so successful.

Recorded live, Scootch album so weaves effortlessly through stories with oddly rewarding payoffs (his neighbor Durty’s unfortunate demise) to Mitch Hedberg-esque liners (endearingly nerdy Star Wars jokes). But while most of its jokes are rehearsed, it also demonstrates his ability to improvise and interact with the audience, an essential element to any successful stand-up act.

There are other, less funny moments when Smith strays too far from his strengths. His impersonations, while admirable, failed to elicit anything more than a smirk, and there are a couple fleeting moments when he seems to be reading from a script instead of delivering in the moment. If anything, though, these hiccups demonstrate Smith’s relative greenness, and with a little refining and an increased comfort level, he’ll be able to sustain the highs throughout the entirety of his set.

Smith is in prime form when he pokes fun at himself or others like him. The way he describes his modest liv- ing situation or his disdain for fat kids isn’t all that dissimilar from Louis C.K. — arguably the most successful comedian alive — but he’s also careful not to overplay his hand, never once coming off as pitiful or bludgeoning us with his anxieties. He keeps it jovial and unpredictable to just the proper degree.

In this sense, it’s evident that Smith has a clear understanding of what makes his sense of humor so unique and how to convey it to the average person.

This is something that can’t be taught, yet it’s innate to him. When coupled with his range of influence and his quick-witted snark, Smith’s natural ability is hilariously jolting, and so, too, is much of Scootch.

Scootch is available at

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