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Shed no tears for formerly single father

Comedian Josh Wolf
Comedian Josh Wolf

Poor Josh Wolf.

Lonely, single-dad comic forced to spend New Year’s Eve across the country from his kids — so sad, right?

Well, not quite …

Yes, Wolf is the author of a raunchy-funny book about being a single father. Indeed, Wolf may be following in the big footsteps of Louis C.K., as he is working on a TV show about a single dad looking for love — or, at least, hook ups.

Weighing in about a third the size of C.K., Wolf would seem to have the advantage in dating attractive women. Especially since Wolf is a headlining comic and regular guest on the chick-friendly “Chelsea Lately.”

One little problem: Wolf is now married.

With Jacob, his 19-year-old son, driving him around Los Angeles to deliver Christmas toys to needy kids, Wolf explains the backstory to his 2013 best seller, “It Takes Balls: Dating Single Moms and Other Confessions From an Unprepared Single Dad.”

“The truth is,” the comic-author says, “I tried to sell the book when I was a single dad. Nobody gave a (expletive). The only time a publishing company would buy the book was when I was a little more well known. By then, I was married.”

The book covers the time period of around 1998 to 2003, when Wolf was struggling to start a career. Shortly after that, he met Beth Ashton.

Their first date — starts great, takes a massively humiliating turn — is the subject of a Wolf comedy bit that has more than half a million YouTube views. Ashton stuck with Wolf, and married him.

Though his book describes a broke, unemployed comic trying to scrounge up cash for cheap dates, Wolf’s fortunes started turning a decade ago, when he landed on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” then scored a recurring role on the same network’s “My Name is Earl.”

Around then, he became a regular on Chelsea Handler’s irreverent E! network show, “Chelsea Lately.” Wolf later contributed to Handler’s book, “Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me.”

And that was a literary hook-up: Handler’s agent liked Wolf’s work, and helped him successfully pitch his own book.

Now, as 2016 rockets to a close, Josh Wolf says he is looking forward to a year-ending gig in Pittsburgh, which also foreshadows his 2017 plans.

“In Pittsburgh, I’m going to be running (material from) my special, which I’m going to shoot in March,” he says, adding he is not permitted to reveal where the special will air yet.

Wolf says his new direction is being more of a storyteller than just a joke slinger. His new act has a long tale framing what sounds like a cross between a one-man show and a stand-up comedy set.

“It’ll be something special for Pittsburgh,” he says. “One of the reasons I’m really excited about it is I’m doing it in a way nobody’s done before.”

Asked to compare this to his work a decade ago, Wolf doesn’t hesitate: “Not even close. I was telling jokes before. I’m a comedian now. … Confidence is such a huge part in everything you do and how well you do it.”

Tom Scanlon is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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