Yael Zinkow ’12 does not think she’s funny; she’s just entertaining.
“Give me a rubber band and I’ll be fine,” she quips.
While her hard-to-pronounce name can also stave off boredom for hours, Zinkow believes the funniest moments come from just watching life pass by, gaining a source of comedic material by giving precedence to the daily life details that go unnoticed.
Zinkow could be considered a stand-up comedy neophyte. She started out last spring by participating in the Yale Record’s open mic shows at the Cucumber — but only after succumbing to healthy peer pressure, the No. 1 reason for all good things at Yale.
The fact that she is now one of Michael Ian Black’s openers for the Fall Show this Saturday proves Zinkow was born to do stand-up. Her jokes relate to her audience, she said, and at Yale, she makes sure to include humor that only Yalies can get.
Despite the compliments she has received for her observational style of comedy (“People say it’s like having a conversation”), Zinkow is a modest lady.
“I am not a model” was the bashful remark she uttered before she lounged on an Old Campus bench minutes later, posing ever so sexily for WEEKEND’s camera. After all, she wore her funny clothes that day.
So it must be reiterated: Zinkow is a modest lady.
But naturally, she is also a funny lady, something you can probably only tell when talking with her. A girl in comedy is like a male nurse. Or so it used to be. The stigma seems so archaic, that when I suggested we hold a photoshoot at the Women’s Table, Zinkow’s Google chat response was more expressive than a thousand cringes.
“Female comediennes at Yale don’t rely on their gender to be funny, and that shows talent,” she said.
She then condemns other famous comedians who use their sex to be funny. (Gasp!) As Zinkow disses her elders, you can tell she has a contained irreverence she keeps bottled up and let’s slip from time to time. At the Fall Show, she will explode.
And what about the ordinary, non-hilarious masses? Hey, Zinkow thinks we’re funny too.
“Anyone and anything can be funny,” she asserts. “I don’t believe someone who says they’re not.”
We call her bluff. Modest Zinkow just got too modest. So modest, in fact, it’s hysterical.
Zinkow is just biding her time, preparing her routine, polishing her delivery. The mind of a comedienne — nay, a comedian through and through — can never be fully understood when you have nothing funny to be modest about in the first place.