Joe Zimmerman
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Joe Zimmerman

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"The Beards of Comedy bring hirsute hilarity to Madison"

Joe Zimmerman will be spending so much time at the Comedy Club on State in the next few weeks, he ought to store his stuff there.

The comedian performs there on Monday, May 21, as part of the "Beards of Comedy" national tour rolling through town. But, well before that date had been booked, Zimmerman had booked his own weekend of shows there on the weekend of June 8, as the headliner for comedian Isaac Witty.

Luckily, Zimmerman said in an interview from a coffee shop near his apartment in Brooklyn that it's one of his favorite comedy clubs to play, and one that's gaining a national reputation for "smart" comedy.

"Comedy Club on State is known by comedians around the country for being some of the best audiences to perform for," Zimmerman said. "Comedy Club on State is very similar to performing for a theater crowd. Everyone seems excited to see the show. They listen to the jokes and they're smart. They get the subtle humor."

That should make it friendly turf for the hirsute hilarity of the Beards of Comedy, four comedians from the South who pride themselves on smart comedy, and, of course, on their majestic beards. Andy Sandford, TJ Young, Dave Stone, and Zimmerman were all friends working comedy in cities like Atlanta.

Ironically, it was Zimmerman's idea for the four of them to form the "Beards of Comedy," even though, at the time, he was the only one who was clean-shaven.

"They all had wonderful beards, and I suggested they should start a tour called the Beards of Comedy," he said. "A few days later, I was like 'I think that's a good idea, and I would like to be on that tour. I wonder if I can grow a beard.'

"For a while, I was the weakest link of the Beards. But it's come in now. I get compliments on the fullness and thickness of it."

Being in a group called the Beards of Comedy attracts a number of fans who have what Zimmerman terms "beard pride."

"You've got these guys coming up after the show with all the beard pride, and I had to read up," he said. "Dave still gets the most questions about his beard. He has a very nice full Civil War-era beard that he grooms regularly. He has the most beard pride when it comes to his actual beard. I feel I have the most beard pride when it comes to the Beards of Comedy."

The group's popularity has grown gradually – like a beard, Zimmerman reluctantly agrees – and now three of the Beards live in New York while a fourth lives in Los Angeles. The quartet has just released their second comedy album, "Cardio Mix," on Comedy Central Records.

Aside from their face foliage, what binds the four comedians together is not so much the kind of comedy they were doing, as the kind of comedy they weren't doing, Zimmerman said. He cites the Comedians of Comedy, whose ranks included Patton Oswalt, Eugene Mirman and Maria Bamford, as an inspiration in both name and comedy.

"Our connection is living in the southeast and sort of this weird combination of pride that we're doing comedy in the southeast, but also the anti 'Blue Collar Comedy' sentiment," he said. "We were just doing a different style of comedy than a lot of southern comedians. Our sense of humor was similar (to each other), but we're far enough apart that the show doesn't suffer from the same sort of jokes."

For Zimmerman, that means clean, often clever comedy in the vein of Brian Regan or Jerry Seinfeld. In his stand-up act, he talks about such topics as Starbucks' cup-sizing system ("Tall? Oh, that's about as tall as a chipmunk. Do you think a chipmunk is tall? Maybe to his chipmunk friend.") and people buying pythons as pets ("I don't know if we can keep Mrs. Slithers here.")

"The guys that make me laugh the hardest are pretty dirty, like Louis CK and Dave Attell," Zimmerman said. "But it's just not my personality to be dirty. It's all about working with your personality and what you like to talk about."

At the Comedy Club show, each of the four Beards will do a separate stand-up set, with some gro - 77 Square

"Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival Announces Line-up"

[...] This year’s festival has been extended to a five-day event, kicking off Tuesday, July 13th with a “Local Comics of Asheville” showcase at the New French Bar. Wednesday there will be a feature film documentary presentation “I Am Comic” at the Fine Arts Theater, and then Thursday the festival moves to the beautiful Diana Wortham for two shows – the first with Headliner Josh Gondelman, winner of the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, and a very special late show with the Beards of Comedy tour, featuring Asheville’s own Joe Zimmerman. Friday features back-to-back Showcase shows with over twenty rising stars in comedy, handpicked from around the country, leading up to Saturday’s shows with Jake Johannsen. [...] - Mountain Express

"Pun Intended"

[...] Joe Zimmerman, recently named Charlotte's Comedian of the Year by Creative Loafing, bases his show around fortune cookies, penguins and dating disasters. [...] - Mountain Express

"COMEDY CENTRAL® Records Releases The Beards of Comedy "Cardio Mix" Digital Album on November 22"

NEW YORK, Nov. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The BEARDS OF COMEDY Tour is quickly becoming one of the hottest shows in the U.S., showcasing four of the funniest, freshest - and bearded - faces in comedy. COMEDY CENTRAL Records releases The Beards of Comedy "Cardio Mix" digital album on Tuesday, November 22.

The Beards of Comedy, Andy Sandford (TBS), Joe Zimmerman (Rooftop Comedy's Golden Shingle Award nominee), TJ Young (Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival's Stand Out Stand Up winner) and Dave Stone (Adult Swim's "Squidbillies"), deliver an original brand of humor that is deeply rooted in stand-up and lightly blended with avant-garde elements of music, sketch and improv. Offering a smart, quirky and refreshing twist on a traditional comedy show, the Beards sell out venues in numerous markets across the country.

Recorded at Atlanta's Laughing Skull Lounge, "Cardio Mix's" topics run the gamut from chicken carcasses and Big Top cupcakes to Curves meatheads and Olive Garden pedophiles. There's even an acoustic musical romp entitled "Sad Song" thrown in for added flavor. The result is THE comedy album of the YEAR to work out to, should one choose to do such a thing.

Previously released recordings by COMEDY CENTRAL Records include: Patton Oswalt's "Finest Hour," Lewis Black's "The Prophet," "Louis C.K. Hilarious," Dane Cook's "Greatest Hits," Bo Burnham's "WORDS, WORDS, WORDS," Mitch Hedberg's "Do You Believe in Gosh?," Dane Cook's platinum-selling "Harmful If Swallowed" and double-platinum "Retaliation," Grammy® Award-winning "Lewis Black: The Carnegie Hall Performance," among others.

Available in 99 million homes nationwide, COMEDY CENTRAL (, the only all-comedy network, is owned by, and is a registered trademark of, Comedy Partners, a wholly-owned unit of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B). For up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs visit Press Central, COMEDY CENTRAL's press web site at and follow us on Twitter @ComedyCentralPR for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos. - Comedy Central

"Bearded jokesters offer relief from woes"

Mark Twain once wrote, “The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” A bearded foursome will come together this Sunday to glean laughs from a crowd at Melting Point in the face of hard times.

“The most basic need is to laugh,” said Joe Zimmerman, one of the four Beards of Comedy members. “People need to laugh and forget their day.”

Andy Sandford, Beard member from Atlanta, goes on to say that comedy is especially important during times of struggle – in this case the economic crisis that has devastated millions of families across the country.

“You hear a lot of comedians complain about the economy going bad,” he said. “Comedy doesn’t always come from a happy place. People need to laugh more when things are rough.”

The foursome came together about a year ago after fostering a friendship on the stand-up scene.

“We are a stand-up comedy tour of four guys who happen to have beards,” Zimmerman said. This integrated troupe adds a dash of drama to their performance by splicing in sketch comedy.

“It’s really just funny,” said Zimmerman, an Asheville, N.C., native. “We try to do stuff that’s a little more experimental.”

Sandford explained that, in accordance to the timeline of modern comedy, the Beards of Comedy are a little ahead of the curve.

“Comedy got really huge in the late ’80s. It was a good thing in a bad thing – it brought a lot of attention to comedy, but through that a lot of ‘hack comedy’ came through.”

‘Hack comedy,’ as Sandford puts it, refers to the stereotypical jokes you could hear in a comedy club. “‘What’s the deal with airline food?’ and stuff like that,” he said.

“Comedy got really bad in the early ’90s. It kind of died … People just weren’t doing anything original.”

Sandford said sthe Beards were riding the wave of comedic enlightenment, as seen in unique comedies like “The Office.”

“I like to the think of every Beards show as people spilling their preconceived notions of what comedy is,” he said. “When you think of stand-up comedy, sometimes something cheesy or campy comes to mind. We try to be very original.”

According to Sandford, their style is often categorized as ‘alternative comedy.’

“Which means they don’t know what else to name it. It’s just comedy – not the traditional two-drink minimum comedy club named ChuckleBucket or something.” - Red and Black


-Taped John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show for Comedy Central in June of 2013?
-Taped Nickelodeon’s “NickMom” in May of 2013?
-3rd place in the 2013 Laughing Skull Festival – Atlanta, GA?
-Finalist in the 2013 Laughing Devil Festival – New York, NY?
-Beards of Comedy tour (2008 – 2013)?
-Named Hot Comics of 2013 by Campus Activities Magazine?
-Beards of Comedy album “Cardio-Mix” with Comedy Central Records (2011)?
-Beards of Comedy album “Comedy for People” with Rooftop Comedy Records (2009)?
-Web Series “Beards Across America” featured on MSN’s home page with over 400,000 views?
-Named a top 5 finalist by Ricky Gervais to be on Conan as part of the Just Sayin’ stand up competition?-Bob and Tom (2011, 2013)
-Heard regularly on Sirius-XM, Pandora, and 24-7 comedy radio?

-Write ups in Atlanta Magazine, Stage Time Magazine, Time Out NY, Punchline Magazine, Atlanta Magazine, Mountain Xpress, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Creative Loafing Atlanta,, and the Comedy Bureau?

-Named one of the fastest rising stars in the country by Rooftop Comedy (2009)?



Joe has quickly become known at the national level for his likable personality and unique point of view. In 2009 Rooftop Comedy nominated him for the Golden Shingle Award - given to the most outstanding rising stars in the country. After making the move to New York in 2011, Joe advanced to the finals of the Laughing Skull Festival and placed third, was selected by Ricky Gervais in the top five finalists to be on Conan, showcased as one of Comedy Central’s “Comics to Watch,” made his debut on nationally syndicated Bob & Tom Show, and was featured in Time Out NY. In June of 2013, Joe will taped his Comedy Central debut on John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show.
He writes a popular blog (found on his website,, Tweets at @JoeZimmerman and can be heard regularly on SiriusXM and Pandora.
Joe is also an original member of the Beards of Comedy, who toured from 2009-2013 as one of the most highly requested stand-up tours in the country. The Beards released two albums; their latest, Cardio Mix, in 2011 with Comedy Central Records. In 2012 the Beards filmed a web series called “Beards Across America” for MSN which has over a million views.
“Great comic alert! @joezimmerman great writing and timing. And in your town soon – see the future.”
-Maria Bamford
“Closed the show and destroyed the crowd with an audience participation bit that caused howling fits.”?
-Punchline Magazine
“Avoided many of the clichéd mannerism and styles of the contemporary stand-up world without coming across as arrogant, smug, or snarky.”? ---Charleston City Paper