Brush with Greatness


Mark's Friggin' Atlantic City Adventure - May 31, 2002

I can't begin to describe how cool this night turned out to be. It was the day of ''The Flunky vs. The Junkie in the Brawl at the Trump Taj Mahal'' and I wasn't able to get tickets for the fight. A couple of weeks before I'd heard a plug for a comedy show that Stuttering John was putting on at the Taj Mahal the evening after the fight. I figured it would be pretty good with comedians Jim Florentine, Nick DiPaolo, Artie Lange and a couple of others making appearances so I got some tickets for that instead. I'd heard that John was pretty funny too but found that kind of hard to believe.

Meanwhile, while waiting for the big day to roll around, I wondered if comedian Craig Gass ( was going to make an appearance in John's comedy show even though he wasn't mentioned in the plugs. I e-mailed Craig and found out he was going to be there. Cool! Artie, Craig, Jim and Nick DiPaolo all in one show, how could it be bad? Then I heard that Howard was going to stick around and go to the comedy show too... Stern fan sensory overload heading my way!

The morning of the fight I stayed home and listened to the fight on radio which was probably the best way to report on it. I figured I didn't miss out on too much. My girlfriend and I headed down to Atlantic City when the show was over and was updated.

We blew some cash in the casino while we waited for the comedy show to start at 8:00pm. I kept my eyes open waiting to see a Wack Pack member or someone from the show the whole time I was in the casino. I didn't see anyone but did hear Jim Florentine ( on the local Stern affiliate, 102.7 WJSE, trying to give away a prize while they were broadcasting from the casino.

My girlfriend and I headed up to the Xanadu room to wait in line for the show about a half hour before they opened the doors. We were about 15th in line so we'd be able to grab some decent seats. John the Stutterer and Big Black came down an escalator from The Casbah night club and walked past the crowd that was gathering for the show. A short time later Melrose Larry Green showed up wearing this long, red coat that made him stand out like a sore thumb. That was it for the ''celebrity'' sightings so far.

Around 7 o'clock they opened the doors and let people run in and grab seats since it was mostly general admission seating. I didn't want to sit right up front for some reason. I found out later that was a good plan. We sat about 5 rows back and waited for the room to fill.

I continued to keep my eyes open for Stern show members. At one point a bunch of the E! crew guys walked by toward the dressing room area. Not really celebrities to most people but to me they were.

My neck was starting to hurt while looking around the room for Howard or any other celebs to come in. Shortly before the show started the crowd went nuts. Howard and his girlfriend Beth had walked in to go to their seats. The whole room was cheering as Howard waved to everyone. People were standing on their seats to get pictures and a better view of their King of all Media. People eventually started to settle down and sit in their seats as the lights dimmed. Some guy from WJSE came out and rambled on for a few seconds while people heckled him from the audience. He introduced Michael Buffer who came out and did a couple of jokes about Stuttering John. He also got heckled while he told his jokes and introduced John.

Stuttering John came out, a little 'black and blue' which was also the name of the comedy show. John spent a short time badmouthing Cabbie and doing some of his material. It turns out John can be funny doing stand-up! His material was actually funny which surprised the hell out of me. He also had to handle some hecklers though. There were quite a few drunks giving him crap the whole time but he was able to quiet them down. John was on his way to getting drunk himself. He'd gone 3 weeks with no beer while training for the fight. He didn't waste any time getting some Heineken's in him.

John hosted the show and introduced a bunch of comedians. Valentino the Ambasador of Love tried to do his act but almost got booed off stage. The crowd was really hard on the guy. He could barely get any of his lines out without people yelling at him. John came out and asked everyone to be a little nicer to the rest of the comedians. This guy Modi was funny as hell but he got heckled a bit. Not as much as Valentino though. Nick DiPaolo, Jim Florentine, Craig Gass and Artie Lange all killed with their stuff.

John also had Melrose Larry Green doing some of his lame jokes. John started to do a countdown for Melrose's 4 minutes of material. Melrose got down to about 2 minutes and people started to throw stuff at him. Security tried to stop people but plastic cups full of beer were flying one after the other. That's when I realized it was best that I didn't sit in the front row. I probably would have been drenched in beer if I'd sat up there. John had to kick him off stage because it got so bad. Melrose ended up yelling about Atlantic City and New Jersey sucking which didn't help.

John let Benjy come out to plea for someone to have sex with him. He had some story about how some 11 year old kid with leukemia had a dying wish for him to get laid. The crowd didn't enjoy that one minute plea either so John asked him to get off stage before people started to throw stuff again.

To wrap up the show John and Artie did a beer guzzling contest with 5 people from the audience. It turned out to be a great show.

This is where things get interesting... As the show ended Craig Gass was up on stage. I got my ass up to the stage and called out his name. I told him who I was and he hung around for a few minutes to talk to me... after he talked to some women that were hitting on him. I figured he'd just say it was nice to meet me and go on his way. I was ready to head back to my hotel. Then Craig told me to stick around so he could bring me and my girlfriend back stage to meet some of the other people. Holy shit! Me? Back stage? Never thought that would happen... I met Mutt from and had my picture taken with Craig Gass. The picture may show up over at A few minutes later Craig brought us back stage... as well as a couple of those hot chicks he was talking to... and introduced us to a couple of people.

Benjy was one of the first people from the show that I met. He seemed pretty normal while I was talking to him. He didn't seem to be quite as wacky as he is on the show. Little did I know what was coming later in the evening. More on that later. Benjy told me he didn't picture me looking the way I do (6'1'' tall 170 pounds). He said he pictured me as being a big fat guy wearing boxer shorts updating the web site. That was pretty much the same reaction I got from a bunch of other people I met that night. They were surprised to see a tall, thin, clean cut dude.

I met Jason and Will who do some stuff behind the scenes on the Stern show. They were really cool and knew about my site as most of the guys I met did.

I introduced myself to Artie Lange who seemed to be a little bit out of it from drinking so much. I don't think he had a clue who I was and I don't think he cared. I don't mind though, I'm a huge fan of his and it was a pleasure to meet him.

I also said a quick ''great job'' to Nick DiPaolo and spoke to a few other people who knew about my site and love it. It was the best ego booster I've ever had.

Doug Goodstein from E! was heading out of the room so I introduced myself to him. Once again I found another person who was surprised to see what ''Mark from MarksFriggin dot com'' looked like. He told me they were all heading over to the Atlantic City Bar and Grill to watch the Stuttering John fight on E!. My girlfriend and I tagged along and hung out with them. Doug's beautiful wife Marlo was also there tagging along... also a really nice person. Mike Gange was in the crowd so I introduced myself to him. He also turned out to be a really nice guy. All of these guys knew my site and who I was so I was pumped.

We all headed over to the bar which was only a couple of blocks from the Taj Mahal. While we were there Stuttering John and his entourage showed up to watch the fight. While John and his crowd found seats I saw comedian Jim Florentine walking around. I introduced myself to him and he seemed to be just as happy to meet me as I was to meet him. He thanked me for all of the plugs I've given him for his ''Jim Florentine is Terrorizing Telemarketers'' and ''Jim Florentine is Terrorizing Telemarketers Vol. 2'' CDs. There's two more plugs right there.

Jim turned out to be really cool and hung around to introduce me to a few more people. I met Larry ''Ratso'' Sloman and Jim's girlfriend Jade (who is known for greeting guys by grabbing their crotches) who didn't grab my crotch. She pulled my girlfriend's hand down there instead so she wouldn't be rude. I did see her give Brian from E! a little sqeeze though.

I never got to say anything to Stuttering John even though he was sitting just a few feet from me. He had his wife and his brother with him as well as a bunch of his trainers. The place was packed. We all hung around the bar and watched the 1 hour special fight coverage on E!. Everyone cheered as John threw some of his punches and pounded Cabbie. Benjy was yelling at the top of his lungs ''COME ON JOHN!'' and stuff like that even though he already knew the outcome of the fight. Okay, Benjy's odd side started to come out at that point. He and Melrose Larry were talking to a woman who seemed to be hitting on them. At one point I turned around and saw Benjy grabbing her breasts as she pulled out her falsies. I don't know exactly what was going on but it was interesting.

When the fight was over a bunch of the Stern crew left the bar and headed back to the Taj to go to The Casbah night club. I stuck around talking to Jim for a few minutes. Melrose Larry was there too and my girlfriend made the mistake of making a joke that he didn't quite get. He was carrying around some of his poster board signs and a bag with some raccoon skin hats that he's selling. My girlfriend, Jennifer, asked him what he had in the bag. He said he had cash in there and she asked if it was his life savings. For some reason he snapped and ended up calling her some names including the dreaded ''C-word.'' He later said he was just joking around and didn't know who she was. It was very strange to say the least. Jim Florentine just smiled and looked over at me as Melrose did his thing.

While all of this was going on Craig Gass was going in and out of the bar with some woman stopping to make sure everything was cool with me and Jennifer. It looked like he was having fun.

Benjy was in the back of the bar telling jokes and acting strangely. For some reason he got in an argument with a couple of guys at the bar. (They apparently didn't like his leukemia jokes at the comedy show.) The next thing I hear is Benjy yelling at the top of his lungs like he's about to get in a fight... but he's not saying ''I'm gonna kick your ass!'', he's yelling ''Mike Gange is going to kick your ass!... I've seen him do it before! Gange is going to KICK - YOUR - ASS!'' The way it was coming out sounded like he was joking around so I just laughed my ass off. He wasn't joking though. He was moments away from getting his ass beaten. Luckily someone was holding the guy at the bar back. Benjy wasn't going after the guy though. He was just threatening to have Gange beat him up so no one was holding him back. The bar owner (I think that's who he was) eventually asked Benjy and Mike Gange to leave so there wouldn't be any trouble. That only lasted about 30 seconds though. Benjy and Mike went outside but Benjy kept running up a short flight of stairs to taunt the guy a little more. By this time he was screaming at the top of his lungs like a little girl ''Gange's going to kick your ass!... Gange go get him!'' and shadow boxing the ceiling fan inside the bar like it was a punching bag. I'm laughing my ass off but Jim Florentine has this puzzled look on his face like he's worried something's about to happen. We all decided to get the hell out of there while this is going on. When I walked outside the bar some of the E! guys are telling Benjy that they heard that guy inside the bar saying more stuff about him. Benjy runs back in and screams something unintelligible at the top of his lungs in that shrieking, girl-like voice and runs back out. He then jumps in a cab to head back to the Taj Mahal. One of the pissed off guys from the bar then comes out and starts heading toward the cab. Benjy's still yelling with his head out the back window that Gange's going to kick someone's ass. Luckily the cab pulls away and Benjy doesn't get killed. I overheard the guy from the bar say something about having a gun. Whoops! Time to go!

Next thing I know I'm in the front seat of a cab with Jim Florentine, Melrose Larry Green, my girlfriend and Jim's friend Ena (whose name I don't know how to spell) all sitting in the back. Melrose is rambling about politics and women while Florentine throws in a couple of comments to keep him going. Jim keeps looking over at me as if to say ''Can you believe this shit?'' I'm just laughing. My girlfriend is stuck next to Melrose just listening to him ramble. He also yelled at her for sitting on his $1000, long, red coat. The cab driver is kind of in his own world bitching about the timing of the traffic light we were stopped at. He blew through a red light to beat the traffic on the side of the road.

We all made it back to the casino and headed toward The Casbah where Howard was supposed to be hanging out. After walking around in a circle for a few minutes we went up to the entrance to the club. As we were approaching it I couldn't believe what I was doing. I was hanging out with the people I hear on the radio every day and I might actually meet Howard. Jim managed to get us passes that would get us in. Pretty much everyone went in but when Jim's friend Ena wasn't allowed in because she didn't have ID, my girlfriend and I decided to just hang outside with Jim. I don't care for clubs like that anyway. Stuttering John came out a few minutes later to try and help get the girl in but security refused to do it without ID. John told Jim they were all leaving to go gamble anyway. Once again we followed the Stern crew down to the casino.

Stuttering John and his gang all sat down to gamble so my girlfriend and I decided to leave. We were saying goodbye to Jim Florentine and his girlfriend when Melrose Larry showed up. Melrose talked out ears off for about 10 minutes about money, politics, Howard Stern and some other stuff. He apologized for being rude earlier in the evening and offered me one of his poster board signs which he autographed. I think it was one of the signs that he was holding up on stage at the comedy show because it has food stains on it. If you look closely at the picture to the right you can see the stains. So I went in just expecting to say ''Hi'' to Craig Gass and ended up coming away with an unused All Access pass and a Melrose Larry Green poster board... and one cool night to remember.

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