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You don’t mess with the Zoltan: Comedian Kaszas comes to the Spokane Comedy Club

March 9, 2023 Updated Thu., March 9, 2023 at 3:08 p.m.

Zoltan Kaszas was born in Hungary and raised in Southern California. He’s bringing his act to the Spokane Comedy Club this weekend.  (Javier Luna)
Zoltan Kaszas was born in Hungary and raised in Southern California. He’s bringing his act to the Spokane Comedy Club this weekend. (Javier Luna)
By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

Zoltan Kaszas may sound like a character out of a Borat film, but the comedian of that name is in actuality a Hungarian immigrant who effectively assimilated.

The San Diego-based comic is more surfer dude than Eastern European.

“I’m as American as apple pie, but when people see my name they expect a comic with a thick foreign accent, who jokes about what it is like to come to America,” Kaszas said. “They find out pretty quickly that I’m American as they are. I’m not just an American. I’m very much a Californian. I don’t have a gun and I can’t drive a stick shift.”

Kaszas, 35, who arrived in the U.S. on the Fourth of July in 1991 when he was 4 years old, does benefit when he plays cities with large Eastern European enclaves.

“Whenever I play Pittsburgh and Cleveland I do very well, since each has big Hungarian neighborhoods,” Kaszas said. “The people there see my name on the marquee and they can’t help but want to support the Hungarian guy, who is headlining.”

Kaszas riffs about his life. Expect Kaszas to joke about relationships. The quirky comic is about to get hitched. “I know the numbers are against anyone getting married,” Kaszas said. “So many people are getting divorced, but my take is that I’ve beaten the odds. I’ve become a professional comedian. The odds are so against anyone succeeding as a comic. If I can make a living as a comic, I can have a successful marriage.”

The ridiculous cost of weddings is a topic for Kaszas, who plans to elope to Italy with his future wife later in the year.

“We’re going to go for it,” Kaszas said. “My biggest fear was someone living with me and sticking with me, but I found someone who loves me as much as I love her. It’s a dream come true.”

Kaszas, who will perform Friday and Saturday at the Spokane Comedy Club, grew up in San Diego with a single mother. His father stayed behind in Hungary. Kaszas learned English watching professional wrestling on the television.

“I grew up loving the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment),” Kaszas said. “It was so entertaining.”

When Kaszas wasn’t escaping through the entertainment provided by pro wrestling and comedy, he couldn’t help but notice the plight of the immigrant since he came of age within a few miles of the Mexican border.

“I learned that the immigrant issue that Mexicans suffer from is way worse than anything an immigrant coming to America who is white experiences,” Kaszas said. “I noticed from an early age that whenever Southern Californians see Hispanics, the assumption is that they came here in an illegal manner. However, it was different for my mother and I when we came to California. So many people were good to us and tried to help us.”

Unlike some immigrants, Kaszas’ mother didn’t push her son to seek out a stable career.

“A lot of people that come from another country hope their children become doctors or work in health care since that’s steady work with a good paycheck,” Kaszas said. “My mother always supported me even though it wasn’t at first for her in terms of employment. She always wanted me to do what I wanted to do, even if it were something risky, like becoming a comedian.”

Kaszas is pitching Hollywood a dramedy based on his life. It’s a coming-of-age show, reminiscent of Chris Rock’s humorous but realistic hit, “Everybody Hates Chris.”

“There are some similarities with that program,” Kaszas said. “I would be the narrator and it would be about a kid growing up in a world where it isn’t easy. It would be great if the show happens someday. I’m working on that, and I’m always working on stand-up. I have a story to tell. People will hear if the television show ever happens or if they come out to see me do my comedy.”

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