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Turning Challenges into Comedy Gold: Zach Anner (ep. 598)

Zach Anner

John O’Leary welcomes comedian Zach Anner on the Live Inspired Podcast to share how he faces life’s challenges and how he’s not letting cerebral palsy define him or his goals.

Zach Anner is an award-winning comedian, TV writer, disability advocate and viral sensation (with over 100 millions views on social media!). After winning “Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star” competition, Zach hosted a travel show called Rollin’ with Zach on the OWN network. In the show, he traveled around the United States, exploring different cities and engaging with the local culture and activities.

Today, Zach shares how he’s learned to not let his cerebral palsy define him or his goals, how he faces his numerous challenges with the utmost resilience and positivity, and so much more.

If you’re looking for an uplifting conversation packed with humor, heart, edginess and determination, this episode is for you.

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  • What immediately connected John to Zach was how both of their parents said, “you’re worthy, you’re good, and you’re going to be mainstreamed. You’re going to be brought forward to see the potential of your life.”
  • When Zach decided he wanted to be a filmmaker, his mother nurtured his creativity and his father fashioned a tripod onto his wheelchair.
  • “You can use disability as a tool to tell your story to be who you were meant to be.”
  • By being mainstreamed as a kid, Zach was able to develop genuine friendships with others his age. His oldest friend Andrew Martina reminded him to “chew bubblegum” which was their way of saying “have confidence”.
  • Having friends that won’t give up: When filming his show Rollin’ with Zach, his friends Josh, Aaron and his brother Brad carried him piggyback two miles up the Cascades to see a waterfall that he describes as “one of the most beautiful things.”
  • “There are a lot of people who think they can judge me based only on where I am seating here today. Luckily, I’ve been surrounded by people my entire life who are more concerned about where I’m heading than where I am seated.”
  • Follow Zach on YouTube.
  • Get a copy of Zach Anner’s book If at Birth You Don’t Succeed here.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love my conversation with MasterChef winner Christine Ha. After losing her ability to see at 20 years old, Christine found meaning while pursuing her life’s passion of cooking. It’s a conversation of resilience, courage and passion will speak to your soul. Listen to Christine on ep. 342.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The complete autobiographies of Maya Angelou.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Fearlessness.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. Any photo of my family.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. My dad.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. From my mom: Don't let others define you. Don't let their opinions of you change who you are.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Don't be afraid to fail.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. Zach Anner was a person who dedicated his life to providing meaningful silliness.