Anthony Jeselnik didn't exactly have a career path, but he knew he wanted to do "something cool."

Anthony Jeselnik didn't exactly have a career path, but he knew he wanted to do "something cool."

Fresh from Tulane University with a degree in literature, he moved to Los Angeles with a vague idea of being a novelist.

"Then I realized how much work you have to put into that," he said.

Working at a bookstore, he picked up a paperback about standup comedy and the idea stuck.

In clandestine fashion, he took comedy classes in nearby Santa Monica.

"I didn't even tell my friends," he said. "I was embarrassed. It never occurred to me to be a comedian. I looked down on comedians."

Then he became one and actually earned some respect on stage. Jeselnik, now based in New York City, will be the featured act of "Comedy No Holds Barred," a show slated for 8:30 p.m. April 2 and 3 at the Columbus Maennerchor, 966 S. High St.

Comedians Darrell Dawson, Travis Hoewischer and Justin Golak also will take the stage the first night. Gabe Kea, Ryan Singer and Dean Masello will perform with Jeselnik the following night.

Tickets, $15 each, can be purchased in advance at or at the Maennerchor the evening of the shows.

Jeselnik, 31, has been featured on Comedy Central, as part of a comedy cavalcade on HBO and recently wrote for Jimmy Fallon. He described his performance as dark and mostly clean -- but "not squeaky clean."

He remembers his first routine -- a banner performance that brought the house down. The next time he got up in front of an audience, he bombed.

"I was just shocked," he said. "It was like nothing else I ever experienced. I was shaking. It was horrible. I didn't get on stage for a month or two."

Eventually, he shrugged it off as part of the business and improved his skills.

"It's just perseverance," he said.

A Pittsburgh native, he said he thinks he went through Columbus as a child "but I didn't spend much time there." Yet, he's looking forward to the show at the Maennerchor, which is a less typical comedy venue.

"I think people are more into that," he said.

He said he believes he's earned some solid fans but not a lot of groupies -- not that he's complaining

"Comedy groupies, if they had anything on the ball at all, they'd be music groupies," he said. "It's not being a 'cool' groupie. It's a minor-league groupie."