Zach Harley’s most memorable moment on stage and his path through the comedy ranks

CE: How did you get into stand-up comedy?

ZH: It’s something I always wanted to do but never thought it could be something I could do because of stage fright. So instead I chose the route of tv and radio where you can hide behind a mic or a camera and delusionally make yourself think no one is judging what you do.

But about two months after I took a job writing what people say on-air instead of being the one on-air I started writing jokes. Ran them by enough people that gave me the confidence to try it out and eventually got the nerve to do it. That was January 28, 2022 and I haven’t stopped since

CE: Is there a certain place where you come up with your best material? 

ZH: I have a writing desk at my house where I hammer home ideas and tighten up jokes or stories in my notebook. But for the most part the best material comes from just being out in the world. I see something ridiculous happen and add it to my notes app or voice memos and we’ll be off and running from there. I’ve found if my goal is to come up with a joke and write it, it’s not going to be as good or genuine as an actual feeling or observation I had earlier in the day.

CE: Most memorable moment on stage? 

ZH: I remember the first time I bombed pretty well. All eyes on me. Attention focused in. And for five minutes they did NOT think a single word was funny. I can tell you exactly where I was standing when I realized “this is not going how I thought it would.” I have a couple other memorable moments where I crushed, but no one likes a bragger. 

CE: What’s the best type of audience to perform in front of? 

ZH: This one’s easy and will probably be my shortest answer. The crowd that is there to laugh and willing. I’m not a dirty comic and I rarely cuss but I bring up uncomfortable topics. If people understand they’re just jokes, we’re going to have a good night

CE: Any advice for someone looking to get into comedy? 

ZH: Just do it. Write everyday and just get up there and do it. Open mics are like the gym. You’re working out material, finding your voice, finding what works and what doesn’t. You will fail more than you succeed at first. Just like everything else. We’re the only ones that have to fail in front of a crowd. Seinfeld bombed. Eddie Murphy bombed. All the greats bombed. I compare it to sports. LeBron couldn’t make a three the first time he touched a basketball. Ohtani couldn’t throw 100 and Brady couldn’t throw a deep ball right away. They worked and worked and worked until they got it. The only difference is they didn’t have an audience to watch them fail.