Nave: Comedian Shubert defies California’s shelter in place

Howie Nave
Special to the Tribune
Howie Nave (left) with comedian Jimmy Shubert.

You know talking with comedian Jimmy Shubert is going to be a good one when he starts with I like the coronavirus like I like my women.

Yep, that’s Shubert front and center. After chatting with him, it’s pretty obvious that the longer one is forced to remain sheltered in place the more one starts to ask, “Why?” and trying to find out where it’s all going.

There’s no phases back into society with the human mind. It’s the inconsistency that some of us wonder what’s going on. And as I was writing this it was reported that Los Angeles County was considering extending their stay at home mandate through summer.

“Enough already” said Shubert who’s new special, appropriately titled, pre pandemic is called Zero Tolerance and is available today.

It was one of the last ‘live’ comedy shows he taped and it’s 57 minutes of pure gold in front of an audience. Oh, how I long for those days.

I’ve known Shubert for years and always look forward to his shows, only because you know it’s going to be a different show than the one seen just the night before.

“That’s why I can’t do those Zoom shows from your living room,” he said. “We need that audience.”

He’s definitely an audience man as both a comic and an actor in film and on television. He was in the flick, “American Nightmares’’ with Danny Trejo, Vivica Fox and Jay Mohr on Cinemax.

And he wrapped up several other projects before the pandemic such as the movie, “Puppy Love” with Hopper Penn, Michael Madsen and Rosanne Arquette.

As a comedian, he was one of the busiest acts out there becoming a finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and on Comedy Central as the closing act on Dave Atell’s Comedy Underground.

Shubert was born and raised in Philadelphia attending a high school for creative and performing arts, where he majored in drama (and took great delight in becoming the school’s resident class clown as well as becoming a professional magician).

But it wasn’t until he relocated to California that he began to find success as he performed at the renowned Comedy Store and helped write jokes for other comedians including Yakov Smirnoff, Jimmy Walker and Louie Anderson.

He also befriended the late Sam Kinison, who was so impressed with Shubert’s knack for witty standup that he invited him to become a member of his Outlaws of Comedy, a group that toured with Kinison up until his untimely death in 1992.

Shubert has maintained that outlaw edge about him never compromising his beliefs so it didn’t surprise me when he questioned those who were making the decisions when it came to being placed in lockdown.

“We’ve done what they wanted us to do and we complied but now they (politicians) want too much control,” he said.

I thought this country was divided by politics but in the past few weeks seems even more divided by the politics of the coronavirus. Shubert and I agree that some, not all of the decision makers, have double standards telling their constituents to do one thing or face getting fines/jailed while at the same time getting a regular paycheck do the complete opposite. That’s the next Civil War folks.

Shubert’s been writing quite a bit while sheltered in place.

“I’ve already got over 35 minutes of pandemic material Howie and I can’t wait to break it in,” he said.

And it looks like Shubert’s going to get that chance as he’s booked next month June 18-21 at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy in northern Phoenix. Live comedy folks. Fingers crossed. “The room seats like 275 and they’ve made the room social distance friendly and so far over 75 tickets have been sold,” he said. “People are dying to get back out and see some comedy wanting to know what we as comedians are going to say.”

Shubert has never been one to shy away from any topic even ones deemed too sensitive by today’s overzealous language police, but I think after this pandemic is in check and people get back to a somewhat pre-corona existence, things they found offensive, it’s not gonna matter as much.

It’s called ‘prioritizing’ folks and as comics we tend to mirror the times we’re living in so expect a lot of future post pandemic comedy shows to be dark in nature. Oh, don’t get me wrong we’ll still center in the stupid people out there and if you don’t know any then you’re probably one of them.

I’ve heard Shubert’s latest and he touches on quite a few topics that people will get a laugh out of such as the joy of hiking with your new girlfriend when you don’t want to, self-check outs and (my fav) emotional support animals people bring on planes because they’re too afraid to fly, including their therapy cat.

It’s good stuff and you can order at iTunes or just go to all the links are there. Stay safe, wash the hands and well, you know the rest.

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