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Absolute Zero


Written By Jessica Cogan
Photographed by Evan Sung

Zero Boy
 
Zero Boy   


Now I'm no mathematician, but since when did entertainer plus performance artist plus stand-up comic plus "vocal acrobat" equal zero? As Zero Boy tells it, that's the way things have been adding up for him since childhood...

It was as a kid that Zero Boy first discovered his talents with sound effects, mime and vocal interpretations -- talents that have him on stages, in clubs and on the airwaves all over the city. "As a kid I played by myself creating all these worlds with sounds and movement," Zero Boy says. Later, when he moved to New York, Zero Boy found himself hanging out at ABC No Rio's open mic with Matthew Courtney. And that's where he honed his skills .

Zero Boy has grown up to write, direct and perform in a variety of genres: traditional theater, stand up comedy, television, street performance festivals, radio, film, comic books and a national magazine. On a recent Monday night, I caught him as part of a burlesque show at Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg. As part of the show's theme, "Burlesque Goes to the Movies," Zero Boy delighted the crowd with his take on the sounds of porn (lots of panting and heavy bass) and The Titanic (lots of waves and capsizing).

He was recently featured on WNYC’s The Next Big Thing where host Dean Olsher challenged Zero Boy to take on-the-spot requests for "vocal interpretations" from audience members. It was a hit with the audience that tried all sorts of unusual idea combinations in what became known as "Stump Zero Boy."

But Zero Boy's talents aren't all verbal. He's an experienced writer, too, with a comic anthology series under his belt. Jack Zero, Cracker Jack Shot, published by Dark Horse Presents, is about a Wild West trick shooter whose exploits are fictional and who has never been out West. He's finally lured out there by a woman who believes that he's a real gunfighter and needs him to help her family. When it comes to writing, "Ultimately," Zero Boy says, "I would like to do films, TV and more comic books." He's written a screenplay that he describes as "a Buccaneers screenplay inspired by the real life exploits of the Caribbean anarcho-pirates. Swashbuckling true tales!"

Zero Boy has performed all over the U.S. and Europe. When asked how his show changes for an international crowd, he notes that, "in most international shows, I have to do pieces that are all sound and movement. They don't necessarily have the same clichés that we do." But he's quick to point out what's universal about his shows: "There are a lot of things that bind all people together and the sounds of these things makes up where language misses."

Starting February 1, you can catch Zero Boy the first Tuesday of the month at The Belt Theater in Manhattan, co-starring in E-Z Tuesdays with Ethan Lipton. "It's a show in a great space with a relaxed atmosphere where Ethan's comedic jazz ditties will delight and my surreal cartoon stories will amaze." "Stump Zero Boy" will make its return in a second set where Zero Boy improvises to audience suggestions.

What's down the road for Zero Boy? "I hope to find someone to finance my new endeavors like a comedy CD. And I'd like someone to buy my movie. I would also like a TV or radio show featuring the weird world of Zero Boy." And why not? With the kind of "new math" Zero Boy pulls off, anything's possible.

E-Z Tuesdays are the first Tuesday of the month at The Belt Theater 336 West 37th Street. For tickets, call 212-352-3101. $10.00 includes one free beer!


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