Comic Boronkay goes from sports to standup

Standup comedy always interested Bill Boronkay, but he remembers when he decided to make it his career.

“It was probably when I couldn’t get hired anywhere,” he said.

Or maybe that should be “he joked.” With his self-deprecating style, Boronkay often makes himself the target of his humor.

“I made it to my 40s and never married,” he said. “That makes me an outcast in society.”

Boronkay had a successful career as a television sportscaster, moving up from small stations in West Virginia and Indiana before landing in Kansas City and eventually Cleveland, where we worked for WEWS-TV. He was good enough to land an audition with ESPN, but he came in second for the job. And after leaving WEWS, he found himself just missing on other job opportunities.

No longer worried about “hurting his reputation” as a journalist, Boronkay decided to focus his attention on standup comedy, although he still does some television work, hosting the “High School Sports Insider” on Sports Time Ohio.

Boronkay will be working at the Warren Comedy Club for the first time on Saturday, but he’s made many appearances in the Mahoning Valley. He was the first act to take the stage at the Funny Farm Comedy Club during its short tenure in Niles, and it was in Youngstown where he first met Jeff Blanchard, who is the headliner on Saturday.

“We were doing a show in Youngstown and we went to – as crazy dudes on a late Friday are known to do – I think it was a Perkins,” Boronkay said.

While trading road stories, Blanchard gestured and spilled ice tea all over Boronkay. They’ve been friends ever since, and even co-hosted a comedy web show together called “Unknown Radio.”

“He’s kind of a mentor to me,” Boronkay said. “We’ll riff off of stuff, talk about different strategies.”

And as he’s made the climb from host to featured act to headliner, Boronkay said he’s learned the business side and selling himself is as important as the material he brings on stage.