WGN Morning News
October 25, 2012
Tonight & Tomorrow
Zanies – Chicago
Zanies – Rosemont
With a subtle and intelligent comedic style, Jake Johannsen is
quickly becoming one of the most respected comedians for his ability to give
the most common element new meaning. Not many comedians will devote six minutes
to a single subject, especially one as seemingly mundane as a toaster or as
strange as his conviction that extraterrestrials are working among us.
Jake was nominated as "Best Male Stand-Up Comedian" for
the 1994 American Comedy Awards. His bizarre take on life has prompted critics
to observe that he "conjures up some of the strangest imagery this side of
Gary Larsen's comic strip, "The Far Side."
He starred in his own HBO Comedy Special titled "This'll Take
About an Hour," which premiered to rave reviews. People Magazine's 1992
year end issue listed "This'll Take About An Hour" as one of the Ten
Best Television Shows, putting Jake in the same company as "The Tonight
Show." Jake also received an Ace Award nomination for best writing in an
Entertainment Special for his work on "This'll Take About An Hour."
Other television credits include "HBO Young Comedian's
Special" and public television's "Comedy Tonight" series. He
hosted Comedy Central's "Two Drink Minimum" and has appeared more
than thirty times on "The Late Show with David Letterman."
Jake was seen in the Robert Altman produced, Alan Rudolph
("Choose Me") feature film "Mrs. Parker & the Vicious
Circle", distributed by Fine Line Features which premiered at the Cannes
Film Festival to rave reviews. Jake had a costarring role in a cast that
included Mathew Broderick, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Campbell Scott.
Man vs. machine, extraterrestrials and relationships are just some
of the eclectic themes that Jake reflects upon. If anything is his trademark,
according to Johannsen it is his longer, convoluted stories. "I'm talking
about things that everybody can relate to and I think I have my own idea of
where the problem is. I don't feel I make them deliberately bizarre."
Born in Iowa City, Jake attended Iowa State University in Ames in
the early 1980s as a veterinarian major, later changing to chemical
engineering. "I started college when the emphasis was on learning
something that would get you a job." After three years in college
Johannsen decided to leave the safe confines of Iowa and relocate to San
Francisco to be part of the burgeoning comedy scene with such upstarts as Dana
Carvey and Bobcat Goldthwait.
Shortly after his west coast arrival, Jake made his comedic debut
at San Francisco's Cobbs Comedy Club during an open mike night. In 1986, he won
the 11th Annual San Francisco Stand Up Comedian Competition. Jake also appeared
in the "HBO Young Comedians Special" and on public television's
"Comedy Tonight" series.