The "Jimmy Mak 20th Anniversary Special" will include sketch comedy, live music, magic and, ultimately, a proper roast of Mak.

Picture a young Jimmy Mak at a crossroads.

Twenty years ago, he was a recent English major graduate from Ohio State University, pondering graduate school in Pittsburgh, when he decides to check into an opening for a writer with a fledgling, DIY theater outfit.

Sounds like a nice setting for a comedy sketch, or maybe a full-blown musical. But if you think this stuff writes itself, you haven't been paying attention.

Shadowbox Live will celebrate Mak's 20th anniversary with the company in a special edition of his Tuesday's with Mak and Winks (standup comic Nickey Winkelman) on Feb. 2. Mak said the event falls on the exact date he started with Shadowbox 20 years ago.

I remember Jimmy's audition for the company," performer and marketing director Julie Klein said. "He performed his own material, Hulk: The Musical. I didn't get it nor did I think it was funny. Luckily others did as he's been making me laugh for the past 20 years."

"I was a goofy kid but I never imagined myself being on stage," Mak said. "I started out (at Shadowbox) writing sketches but it grew and grew to performing both dramatic and comedic pieces and writing dramatic one-acts and monologues, and eventually to big original musicals."

"He has become absolutely indispensable not only as a writer but also as a performer," Shadowbox founder/CEO Stev Guyer said in an email. "His onstage presence has literally turned fairly weak material into brilliant gems of comedic performance (naturally, these weren't sketches that Jimmy wrote because, of course, everything he writes is genius)."

Mak admitted to not being a fan of musicals when Shadowbox began creating its original works, to which he said Guyer told him "That's why you're perfect for the job."

"Jimmy is wonderfully talented writer with enough creativity and flexibility to write mountains of clever comedy, poignant one acts and engaging musicals not to mention documentaries on most any subject I come up with," Guyer said.

Shadowbox's Woodstock-themed "Back to the Garden," one of the musicals Mak helped create, has become a Columbus arts scene staple. Mak said he's enjoyed being a part of that scene for the past 20 years.

"The city, the arts scene has really grown up over 20 years and maybe I've been a part of it," he said. "To be a professional writer and creator, to represent the city in some way, is pretty cool."

The "Jimmy Mak 20th Anniversary Special" will include sketch comedy, live music, magic and, ultimately, a proper roast of Mak.

"It's the fastest, easiest way to find out what your shortcomings are," Mak said.