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Shadowbox Live’s Jimmy Mak Releases First Book, “Daddies Shouldn’t Breakdance”

Hannah Herner Hannah Herner Shadowbox Live’s Jimmy Mak Releases First Book, “Daddies Shouldn’t Breakdance”
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Jimmy Mak always saw himself writing a book.

The 1994 Ohio State English graduate and current head writer for Shadowbox Live had planned to go on to attend graduate school, become a professor and write a book, but got sidetracked during his gap year.

“I saw there was this little theater company that wrote their own original sketch comedy, and I’m a comedy fan so I thought that would look really great on a resume. So I went down to talk to them, and 20 short years later, here I am,” Mak says.

Mak is set to release his book, “Daddies Shouldn’t Breakdance” on Tuesday night. He’s been breakdancing for even longer than he’s been writing for Shadowbox, having picked it up in elementary school.

“When I was a kid it made me really cool, as an adult it made me really goofy, and now I just do it to embarass my kids,” said Mak, who is father to two daughters, ages 8 and 12. “A lot of the stories are very much inspired by them, my role as going from this goofball kid to a dad.”

The title of the book comes from a true story in which Mak was asked to breakdance at a Shadowbox Live Christmas show a few years ago.

“The last thing that I did just dropped me to the ground in pain, and I was just laying there and one of the young dancers came over and looked down at me, and I was getting ready for him to ask if I was ok, and he just goes ‘Dude, daddies shouldn’t breakdance,’” Mak says.

Mak writes comedy sketches, plays and musicals for Shadowbox, and has written on the side all along the way.

“One of the things that I’ve been doing is writing comedic essays, silly thoughts I’ve had, just random stuff that I was just keeping in my own little folder,” he says. “A couple years ago I was reading through some of the stuff I had written and thought, ‘I think I could actually put all this together in a book.’”

daddies-shouldnt-breakdance-book“Daddies Shouldn’t Breakdance” includes pieces written as long as 19 years ago to as recently as one month ago. But the book isn’t all fun and games. It is split into three sections: “Somewhat Silly,” comedic essays, “Somewhat Serious,” dramatic essays and “Somewhat Sappy,” sentimental poems.

“I think that’s one of the things that I’m hopeful will surprise a number of people who are used to me just being funny,” he says.

The book was funded through a Kickstarter campaign, and all the money needed to publish the paperback version was funded in just one day. The campaign was extended to then raise funds for an e-book, professional photographs and an audio book, which Mak will begin recording after the physical book’s release.

One story Mak says he’s most excited to share with readers is the “Bubba Jim Chronicles.”

“I lived for three years next to a neighbor from hell. Everybody has a neighbor from hell story, but I promise mine puts theirs to shame,” Mak says. “I’m proud of it because I really captured his essence in a way so that other people can laugh at my pain.”

The book release party is Tuesday at the Shadowbox Live Backstreet Bistro at 503 S. Front St. Doors open at 7 p.m. with Mak set to read excerpts from the book and answer questions at 8 p.m. Admission is free but an RSVP is required.

“Daddies Shouldn’t Breakdance” is available on paperback for $19.95 and ebook for $5.99, with copies sold at the Shadowbox Life boutique at on Tuesday nights during Mak’s regular show, “Tuesdays with Mak and Winks at the Backstage Bistro.”

For more information, visit www.shadowboxlive.org/shows/tuesdays.

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