Brush with Greatness


Mark's Friggin' Night at Rascals Comedy with Stuttering John, Modi, Rev. Bob Levy and Nick DiPaolo - August 18, 2002

Rascals Comedy Club 8/18/02

Like I've said in some of these stories, I'm addicted to comedy shows now. I usually give it a few weeks between seeing a show but this time it was just 10 days after seeing Artie Lange, Rev. Bob Levy and Jimmy Graham at the Stress Factory that I went to another show. This time it was at the famous Rascal's Comedy Club in West Orange, New Jersey. The show included Stuttering John, Rev. Bob Levy, Modi and Nick DiPaolo. A great lineup. I'd seen Stuttering John, Nick Dipaolo and Modi perform down in Atlantic City so I knew they were funny.

Since the show was on a Sunday night at 8 o'clock, there weren't many people who wanted to go with me to the show. People have to work the next day and don't want to stay up late. This time it was just me and my girlfriend Jennifer. Rascals has a dining area separate from the comedy club so we decided to get some food before the show. We got there really early, we were the only people in the dining area at 6 o'clock or so. I was afraid there wouldn't be anyone at the show. People did start showing up a short time after we ordered our food though. The food was decent for a comedy club. My girlfriend had some kind of fish that she really liked and I had the Rigatoni a la Kinison which wasn't too bad. We finished up around 7 o'clock when they opened the doors to the comedy club.

We headed down to the club to see if we could get some decent seats. That worked out very well. We were right near the stage. We sat around for a few minutes as a few people dribbled into the club. I kept my eye on the bar area since that's where Rev. Bob Levy was most likely to be before the show. A short time later I saw a guy standing there but I wasn't so sure it was him. Jennifer assured me it was him so I went up and bugged him for a few minutes. Bob told me about the show the night before and how the crowd pretty good but he didn't kill like he usually does because his back had been bothering him. I found that hard to believe but I wasn't there to see it.

Stuttering John popped his head out from the back room while I was there with Bob. Bob told me that John had started to tell him about how he saved a friend's life but Bob already knew about it because he'd read it on my site. (I'd reported about a call he made to the Cane and Cabbie show on August 15th) He said John was puzzled and wondered who would write about something like that on the web. He didn't know about the site so Bob told him a little bit about it. Bob then asked me if I'd ever met John. I came close down in Atlantic City but never was introduced. Bob then brought me to the back room where the comedians hang out while they're waiting to do their show. Stuttering John, Nick DiPaolo and Modi were all there. Bob introduced me to John, who was really cool to me. He asked me a little bit about the site and how I'd heard about his hero story. John also told me about how he saved another guy's life in the wave pool at Action Park, a water park in New Jersey. Some guy apparently went under and John helped pull him up. Modi and Nick goofed on him for bragging about saving lives for a short time. After John told his story Modi says ''Did you hear that John saved a life?'' just to point out how many times they've heard it already.

I spent a few short minutes talking to the guys and explaining who I was. Nick didn't seem to care (Neither would I if I were him) but it was cool to hang out and hear him joking around with the guys. Modi had no clue about the site either so I gave him one of my cards and told him a little about it. Nick was talking about how he hates when people in the crowd talk to each other while he's doing his act. I said ''At least you don't have people throwing stuff at you.(like they did with Melrose Larry Green)'' I then found out that Melrose Larry Green isn't part of John's shows anymore. It was getting too messy with people always throwing stuff at him while he was attempting to do his act. After that I ran back to my table so my girlfriend wouldn't be alone. It had already been 10 minutes or so and I didn't want her to think I'd abandoned her.

I got back to the table and told Jennifer about where I'd been. She told me I could have just stayed back there, she was fine there by herself. Too late, it was near show time anyway. The club was filling up pretty well by that time. It was probably 80 percent full by show time. The place can hold a couple hundred people so it seemed to be pretty full for a Sunday night show. I lucked out and didn't have anyone sitting directly across from me. The tables were very narrow and I wouldn't have had much room for my ridiculously long legs (36 inch inseam).

Stuttering John went up when he was introduced by a faceless voice from the sound system in the club. John went on to do his opening act and asked the crowd how many Stern fans there were there. Not too many people applauded at that point but that was just the nature of the crowd that night. They weren't very interactive with any of the comedians. John had some fun with the crowd when he was talking about how he's half Puerto Rican and half Danish. He asked about 4 people in the crowd if they knew where Denmark was and not one of them had a clue. He also brought up the story about saving his friend's life and told the crowd they could read about it on! Wow! I wasn't expecting a plug from him.

Rev. Bob Levy John introduced Rev. Bob Levy when he was done with his opening act. Bob went up and killed for a few minutes. He goofed on some short guy in the front row for a while and had some fun with some others. The crowd was enjoying him but he kept his act short, probably because his back has been bothering him. He didn't get a chance to do his infamous ass-crack-licking bit like he's done at the other shows. He's still great even without the grand finale though.

Modi performs Stuttering John did a couple more minutes of material and then introduced Modi who will be on the upcoming season of ''The Sopranos.'' Modi did his act and had the crowd cracking up for a good part of his whole act. The guy was great. He was able to keep the crowd laughing pretty well considering how tough they seemed to be. He has some great material about the French that the crowd seemed to like.

When Modi was done John, carrying a brown bottle of beer, went back up and did a little more material before introducing Nick. Someone in the crowd asked him where his Heinekin beer was. John, who is always talking about how great Heinekin is during Howard's live commercials, said that he doesn't like the stuff that much (his exact words were ''I hate that shit!'') and would rather drink what he had in his hand... an Amstel. John did a couple more minutes of material and introduced Nick DiPaolo.

Nick DiPaolo performs Nick DiPaolo went up and did his thing for a short time. There were mumbles, and sometimes people just yelling to their friends, while he was on stage. Nick would yell at them to stop because they were being rude but they would just keep mumbling. He did some great material but there were a couple of people who didn't seem to get that they were jokes he was telling. Nick explained to them that they were just jokes and that's what they were there for. Then he got really pissed when the waitresses started handing out their bills to every table. He said he was about halfway through his act and they were already handing out the bills. It was more distracting than you'd imagine. I thought he was overreacting until my waitress came over and handed me the bill. Once I pulled out my wallet to pay the bill I stopped paying attention to Nick's great act. I was lost by the time I got my change. Nick sort of lost the crowd a few times so Stuttering John was in the back of the room laughing with his distinctive belly laughs. He seemed to be trying to help out a little bit but the crowd was too busy splitting their checks. He ended his time on stage after 38 minutes or so. Stuttering John was nowhere to be found so Nick walked off and toward the bar. As he walked past John, who was finally on his way to the stage, I heard him say something like ''I did 38 minutes John.... I'm not Elvis.''

John bumps bellies John headed up to the stage with a bunch of beer bottles in hand. He was prepared to do his beer guzzling contest. john took off his shirt to show his beer belly. He then invited a bunch of other people up on stage to compete against him. The only stipulation was that they also had to take their shirts off. There was an African American guy sitting right next to the stage that most of the guys had been having fun with all night. John had been goofing on the shirt he was wearing so he asked him to come up on stage and take that awful shirt off. The guy hesitantly came up and seemed to be kind of angry about the whole situation. Once John saw that he had just as big of a beer belly as he did, he ran over as if he were going to bump bellies with him. Meanwhile three other people got up on stage and took their shirts off... well, the guys did. Guzzling contest The one, very tall, big boned woman was wearing a dress without a bra so John let her compete after just taking off her shoulder wrap. She was the favorite to win as far as the crowd was concerned. There were a lot of cheers from her side of the room when John asked who we thought would win. John figured the angry black dude would win. Someone in the crowd asked him what the prize was. John told them they were playing for a free copy of Modi's CD ''Where They've Been Booking ME!'' John then started the contest and everyone guzzled their Amstel's. The angry black dude was finished about 5 seconds before anyone else so the crowd went nuts cheering for him.

That was it for the show so the crowd started to leave. We waited for most of the crowd to leave so we wouldn't be rushed out with the rest of the people. Bob Levy was nowhere to be found so I started to thank John and Modi for a great show. John asked me to stick around and have a beer or something. He told me Bob was still in the back room where I was before the show. John brought us back there and we hung out for a little while. Nick really was pissed about the waitresses handing out the tabs during his act. He and John discussed that and John said he'd try to put a stop to that next time.

Me and the guys I showed John and the other guys some of the pictures I'd snapped during the show. John liked the one where he's about to bump his belly against the other guy. My girlfriend was having a conversation with Nick about Massachusetts since both of them used to live up there. Jen remembers seeing Nick perform up there at some local comedy club years ago. At least they had something to talk about. I hung around, talked a little more about the site and got the guys to pose for a picture with me. Modi had just given me a copy of his CD so I held it up to give him a little plug. You can get that CD at

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