Q&A: Standup comic Bob Cook

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
By Columbus Alive
From the May 2, 2013 edition

Bob Cook is one of the most respected and well-liked standup comics in Columbus, evidenced by his peers coming out to help him get healthier. Cook will undergo gastric bypass surgery soon so he can get to a healthy weight. While Cook’s health insurance covers the surgery, there are a number of other expenses he must cover himself. So some of Columbus’ best comics have signed on to perform a benefit show with Cook at the Funny Bone next Tuesday.

The doctor recommended gastric bypass surgery because I’m a fat bag of s---. That’s kind of the precursor. They never recommended it because you’re doing great, you know. It’s not like a penis reduction surgery. [I’m] just too awesome right now, my penis is too girthy.

I have a series of uncles that were passing away at about 50 year range. My dad is one of five brothers and [the other] four have passed away. So the doctor was talking to me about being more health conscious. I don’t know if it’s a food addiction or what; it’s one of those things where you try to do it and fall off the wagon repeatedly. I’m borderline diabetic with high blood pressure, high cholesterol.

Bill Arrundale [a fellow local standup comedian] is a hell of a beacon to someone in my situation. The amount of weight he lost from his gastric surgery is the amount I weigh. That’s pretty phenomenal. I’m about 350 and Bill’s lost 330, last I checked. It’s crazy to think that if the weight he lost were a human, they would need the same damn surgery.

The lineup for the benefit show is the best people that I could come up with. There’s Sean Somerville and Arrundale. Nickey Winkelman kicks a little bit of ass. There’s Chris Coen and Travis Hoewischer and Anthony O’Connell. [The entire lineup] is some of the funniest people in the city.

The thing about comedians is that most of the time I don’t think you know if you’re well-liked. There’s a lot of insecurity that comes along with that. I guess I knew there would be people who would be supportive. You almost have to be — you can’t really tell me to go f--- myself. “You’ve got a life changing surgery coming up, eat a d---.” Fair enough, never mind. I figure I’ve made a lot of friends here and [comics] are genuinely good people … they’re all thoughtful and sensitive folks. It’s like how, as a man, you develop a gruff exterior by default and then one time your dad says he loves you on a fishing trip and you’re whimpering. It’s humbling to accept compassion from people. I was just truly beside myself with everyone’s support.

I went out to get some donations for prizes to raffle off with the goal being eight $25 gift certificates. I wound up with $1,000 dollars. I talked to the district manager at Qdoba in Graceland. He donated three $200 packages for catering events and is passing out buy one get one frees at the event. The Noodles & Company donated three $50 dollar gift cards. I’m getting everyone fat, while I’m trying to lose weight. It’s weird having this big envelope full of food [certificates] and I’m eating broccoli.