'I'm the Daniel Craig of DuPage': Comedian Bobcat Goldthwait on living in the suburbs, returning to standup
After spending more than three decades in Hollywood, relocating from Southern California to DuPage County might seem an odd decision for standup comedian and "Police Academy" veteran Bobcat Goldthwait.
But he had his reasons.
"Moving to the Midwest made sense because I'm considered thin," quipped the "Scrooged" and "Shakes the Clown" actor/director who headlines Zanies Comedy Club in Rosemont July 23 and 24.
"I'm the Daniel Craig of DuPage," he said.
Goldthwait and his partner, Nora -- a Naperville native -- moved to the suburbs last January in the midst of the pandemic, during which time the multihyphenate spent adapting his 2015 documentary "Call Me Lucky" about satirist Barry Crimmins into a narrative film for writer/director Judd Apatow. He also spent time editing "Joy Ride," his documentary examining his bumpy friendship with fellow comedian/writer Dana Gould ("The Simpsons," "Stan Against Evil"). Recorded during the duo's 2019 comedy tour, it's set for release in October.
While editing the documentary, it occurred to Goldthwait that he could live anywhere and still work.
"I'm really happy to live here," said the comedian. "We live on an acre and a half on a dead-end street surrounded by woods. I spend a lot of time with a chain saw and an ax."
He also spent time trying out material after stepping back from comedy and from National Public Radio's "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" during the pandemic.
Prepping for the NPR show meant taking a deep dive into current events, which he was disinclined to do while the coronavirus raged.
"I just saw myself doom-cycling and refreshing the same horrible names over and over again so I ended up turning all that off," he said.
But he's back now.
"The big change is I get up there (on stage) now and I enjoy it," said Goldthwait, who prepared for his post-pandemic return to standup with some inconspicuous performances at Zanies, Chicago's Lincoln Lodge and other clubs.
"I don't assume I'll walk into a club and they'll put me on stage," Goldthwait said.
His set is no nostalgia show. And fans shouldn't expect his earlier Bobcat persona when he was known for his high-pitched delivery and manic stage presence.
"Any place where it's still the '80s people are disappointed," he said, adding that even then, "I said I'm not going to age gracefully."
"If they expect me to do 'Freebird' that's not going to happen," joked Goldthwait.
Goldthwait never tailored his own act for mass appeal.
"I wouldn't have done that persona if I was trying to become a sitcom star," he said. "I always had to do what I was interested in doing. If people came along, cool."
His comedy heroes include Groucho Marx, George Carlin, Andy Kaufman and childhood friend voice actor/comedian Tom Kenny ("SpongeBob SquarePants"), whom he describes as the funniest person he's ever met.
Goldthwait -- whose directing credits include "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," "Chappelle's Show" and standup comedy specials by Patton Oswalt, Marc Maron and Iliza Shlesinger among others -- never embraced the digital realm.
"I'm not a social media presence," he said. "I'm a VHS comedian living in a Tik-Tok world."
But he loves the opportunity to step once again onto the comedy stage. Between that and his move to DuPage, he's right where he belongs.
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When: 7:30 and 9:15 p.m. Friday, July 23, and 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, July 24
Where: Zanies, Parkway Bank Park, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont, (847) 813-0484, rosemont.zanies.com
Tickets: $30, plus a two-item food or beverage minimum per person
COVID-19 precautions: People who have not been vaccinated are required to wear face coverings. Tickets available online or by phone only, not at the door.