Arts & Events

Who knew? Marty Nemko’s “Odd Man Out” reveals, entertains, and moves!

John McMullen
Friday August 26, 2016 - 11:13:00 AM

When I was in graduate school, our professor Mel Shapiro—who was a two time Tony winner-- wrote an important book on Acting. The first exercise was to tell your life story in ten minutes. But you couldn’t just talk about it. You had to act it out, use props, add whatever you like. 

Marty Nemko is an important figure in the Bay Area. The San Francisco Bay Guardian named Nemko "The Bay Area's Best Career Coach." He has been a frequent guest on CNN, ABC, PBS, and NPR and has appeared on the Today Show (twice), CBS's Early Show, Oprah and Friends, and NPR's Talk of the Nation (twice.), ABC-TV's 20-20, and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal described him as "job coach extraordinaire.” You can hear his New York accent and expertise on KGO and KALW in his weekly show “Work with Marty Nemko.” 

He and I have collaborated on a couple of projects. He is a piano player “extraordinare” also. 

He plays (by ear) with 7 fingers since a rare (but painless) disease has disabled three digits.  

The intersection of these tidbits connect in his show, “Odd Man Out,” in which he tells—and enacts—for his audience his story, interspersed with his playing—and accompanying Dani Bee, an extraordinary singer and Bay Area Theatre Critics perennial award-winner.  

I drove to Napa to see it in the Lucky Penny theatre, a charming black box theatre in an office park. 

The house was packed.  

Sometimes one’s persona does not match the background. Woody Allen was the president of his high school, the first one to be picked for stick ball, and earning $500 a month writing jokes while he was still in high school. Unlike his neurotic, mewling, Jewish/NYC mask. 

Marty stands that on its head. As prolific as Woody in his own field, Marty is a serious counselor, first class interviewer, and outgoing hail-fellow-well-met. But his background in Queens was torturous as the ultimate wimp who refused to do anything except that which he wanted. The teachers nearly failed him. What a laugh on them when he got a Ph. D. from UCB.  

Acting along with him is his actress wife Barbara who doubles as Superintendent of Schools for Napa County. 

It is an evening of laughs, jaw-dropping personal history and charming music.  

At the final curtain, he got a standing ovation from a tearful, joyful audience. 

Go see it.  

“Eventbrite” is producing it at San Francisco Public Library on Saturday, September 17, 2016 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. 

AND…if you want a charming weekend evening, drive up to Napa, and instead of ingesting all world-class comestibles and getting tipsy on the vintage (since that is precursor to snoozing) and go see a show at the Lucky Penny. Better yet, stay over at a B&B so you can indulge the next day! Lucky Penny’s season line-up includes The Miracle Worker, I Wanna Be Bad, Big River, A Little Night Music, Maple and Vine, and more in the eight production season.  

The Lucky Penny Community Arts Center is located at 1758 Industrial Way, with the main entry at Suite 208. Tickets and info at or call 707-266-6305