People to Watch 2012: Entertainer Justin Golak

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From the August 9, 2012 edition

As the stand-up comedy scene in Columbus continues to grow and prosper, Justin Golak becomes more ambitious both personally and for the collective scene. He knows it takes more than just a handful of successful, funny people for a real scene to come together, and he hopes his successes this past year will encourage his peers.

In January, Golak set up a twice-monthly stand-up showcase at Shadowbox Live. A month later, he quit his day job to focus full time on comedy.

“It’s been exciting. I just feel like the beginning of this year was the precipice of something big for me, and for the city,” Golak said.

Golak had another significant achievement in April when he recorded his first CD at one of the Shadowbox shows. The album, “Influenced,” showcased 25 minutes of his best material, and almost every copy has sold. The more important — and daring — aspect of the project was that Golak vowed to never perform that material again.

“Now it’s all about writing new material … and hopefully setting groundwork for others, because you need a lot of people to garner a scene. You hope that people will take that lead and follow in making a CD and having a commitment to new material,” Golak said.

Golak has followed through with his commitment. At the end of July he performed a feature-length show at Circus, where he hosts and books the monthly Comedy Sideshow.

If anything, Golak is continuing to become more ambitious. He and fellow local comedians Sumukh Torgalkar (Golak’s co-host on the weekly sports podcast “Comedifans”) and Laura Sanders (who also recorded her first CD at the Shadowbox show) have some bold plans in the works.

The three will debut “Trash TV,” a “Mystery Science Theater 300” homage in which they’ll rip into episodes of “Saved by the Bell,” in September on Shadowbox’s main stage. Golak, Sanders and Torgalkar are also finalizing plans for a monthly comedy showcase where each will perform 15 minutes of new material.

The jokes just keep on coming.

Guru: Mike Nicholson >>