By Bob Zany
Icall the “Bob & Tom” radio show each week with my take on current events, as mentioned here before. For 15 years, my self-promoting “Zany Report” has almost always included a bit entitled “Good News, Bad
News,” one of the oldest premises in joke-telling. So when my editor filled me
in on the theme of this edition of the magazine, no problem, I thought. Because I got a million of them, as the saying goes.
The bad news: in October 2011, hackers hijacked Sesame Street’s You Tube
channel for about 20 minutes, replacing children’s videos with hardcore pornography for some 150,000 subscribers. (I’m not kidding, though I wish I were.) The
good news: PBS reached its yearly fundraising goal in a record 20 minutes!
The bad news: last June, the U.S. Postal Service cut the hours of its branch
in Sugar Hill, N.H., to 30 minutes a day for the rural community’s 563 residents because of nationwide budget problems. The good news: it still sells forever stamps!
Obviously, these zingers stem from other people’s problems. In all fairness,
it’s about time that I take aim at myself. So here goes. It’s a doozy — and the
easiest and hardest column I’ve written so far. The bad news: I’m getting a divorce. The good news: I’m getting a divorce.
No joke. Well, I hope to get laughs, but I’m serious. Or maybe better said,
I’m telling the truth — after almost 20 years of marriage, I’m on my own.
More like rent-to-own, with an option to trade me in for something better. So,
I’m Good — My Bad
the good news: I had a marriage in Hollywood that lasted nearly two decades, a rare occurrence in this town, especially when both spouses per- form in show business, as is the case with me and my soon-to-be ex-wife. So, the bad news: Gunsmoke played on TV for that long as well, but it, too, was even- tually cancelled, despite loads of suc- cess for much of the run. I’ve been a road comedian for 25 years, so half of my life has regularly entailed fending for myself: booking flights, renting cars, turning down blankets, eating continental break- fasts, and figuring out what to do in between gigs when away from my bet- ter half. In some ways, then, I’m al- ready up to speed. In others, of course, I’m so far behind. Since leaving my wife, I’ve stayed on more friends’ couches than a moving guy on a lunch break. The good news is that I have people I can count on in this period of adjust- ment; I can never repay them for their hospitality. The bad news is that I’m going through financial dif- ficulties and even if I tried to repay them, they’d be lucky to get 10 cents on the dollar. I take full responsibility for the breakup. In fact, I’ve been working on improving myself. The good news: I’m reading Melody Beattie’s 1986 best-sell- ing self-help book, Codependent No More. And one thing I’ve learned is that the source of my happiness must be myself, not anyone else. The bad news: I can’t put Codependent No More down. We’re inseparable. I’m ob- sessed with it. I hope I’m making it happy. Come to think of it, following Beattie’s advice might not be such a brilliant idea because I could be setting myself up for a malpractice lawsuit. I haven’t given up on love and may get married again one day. But, for now, I
I initially hesitated to write about my (our?) divorce because it’s such a per-
sonal subject. And I want nothing but the best for my ex- (and for me). Plus,
she’s my biggest fan, and I’m hers, too. But my job requires me to be a public
figure and my ex- once was a stand-up comedian herself. We both know po-
tential material when we see it.
I recently visited my former wife at my former house, with my former dogs
bounding about. (My “former” sadness? Still present.) We discussed our divorce, each of us trying to be on our best behavior. Toward the end of the conversation, she turned to me and said, “Well, at least I’m your toughest critic.”
That was the bad news and good news all rolled into one.
Arnel Reynon illustration
Comedian Bob Zany’s “Zany Report” is featured weekly on the nationally
syndicated “Bob & Tom” radio show. He performs and produces stand-up
shows at clubs, concert venues, casinos, and resorts across the country. Zany
recently completed filming 23 Minutes to Sunrise, a thriller costarring Eric
Roberts, scheduled for release later this year. Close but No Cigar, Jay Kanzler’s
documentary about Zany’s career, continues to play festivals nationwide after
debuting in February 2011; go online to closebutnocigarmovie.com. Zany has
made more than 1,000 national television appearances and for 17 years was associated with
The Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon in front of and behind the
camera. A Los Angeles native, he lives on the road for now. Go online to bobzany.com or
facebook.com/bob.zany; follow him on Twitter @bobzany; or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.