JACKSON, Wyo. — Here’s a funny joke in Jackson: I don’t ski.
That’s it. That’s the punchline.
At least it has been for Andrew Munz’s entire life growing up in the valley. If not met with laughs, the simple three words are met with scorn or at least confusion. “If you don’t ski, what do you do?”
The question and the answers to it inspired Munz’s most recent creative endeavor: a one-man comedy special called “I Don’t Ski.”
Because despite growing up here his entire life, Munz does not engage in the one activity that seems to define Jackson as a community. “Skiing is what people come here to do,” he says. “It’s a community thing. Social circles are all built around this very expensive sport that caters to a very specific type of person. I am an anomaly.”
It’s “bizarre,” he says, to feel like you don’t belong in the place you’ve called home nearly your entire life. And it’s worth making fun of. It’s worth laughing at. It’s worth criticizing a little bit, because, as Munz has said many times before, there’s truth in comedy.
Munz is most locally famous for his satirical series, “I Can Ski Forever,” which mocks Jackson and its ski culture, but lovingly. Jackson’s “Best Actor” is no small name around here. But this is perhaps the first time he has invited the community to meet him, really. Not as a character. Not as a member of a troupe or cast. Just as Andrew Munz.
“I really want to put myself out there as myself for once,” Munz said. “I’ve never done it by myself … as a solo performer, I don’t know who that is yet. I feel confident I can piece that together with this script I’ve written.”
Munz did put himself out there to a room full of strangers in New York City recently, where he wrote and starred in a one-man play called “Tumbleweed.” That, too, was autobiographical. But it was not for Jackson. It was for him. It was confessional, he says, and it was not funny. He’s not ready to share that with us just yet.
“I Don’t Ski” is comedy. Munz is ready for some humor after the year he has endured. He lost his father and step-mother in September and everything he knew was overturned. “I Don’t Ski,” for him, is a chance to come back to what he does best: theater.
“Under the stress I’ve endured, I feel like I’m reclaiming a bit of myself right now and looking at what I value in the aftermath of something as terrible as grief. What I value is writing and performing — making the audience laugh, or just making them react to something,” he says.
Munz compares grief to trying to stand on a ship that won’t stop rocking. The way through, he says, is “finding ways to not be mad at the ship for rocking and find your own balance. Finding a mast to hold onto. For me, that mast is writing.”
10645 OLD JACKSON HWY Victor
785 & 795 W BROADWAY Jackson
556 TURTLE WALK Victor
330 E GILL AVE Jackson
8840 TIMBER LN Jackson
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