Brush with Greatness


Mark's Friggin'... Two Nights of comedy at The Stress Factory - March 20th and 22nd, 2003

Wow! It had been three and a half months since I'd seen Reverend Bob Levy's comedy show. I needed that laughter fix again and I needed it bad. Levy was appearing at The Stress Factory in New Brunswick, New Jersey again so I figured I'd go down. This time, though, Sal the Stockbroker was going to be appearing with him one night. I hadn't seen Sal since the Dan Wagner book signing I went to years ago. I figured I'd make the trip, on a Thursday night, to see Sal and his crew. I'd be going alone though because no one I asked wanted to go on a Thursday night.

I'd been to The Stress Factory a few times but, for some reason, I got there a lot earlier than I expected. I ended up getting there 15 minutes before I was supposed to meet Bob there. I hung out and listened to the Iraq war news while the employees prepared the place for the coming crowds. Bob and his buddy Paul showed up a short time later. We hung out at the bar while we waited for everyone else to come. Within a few minutes Sal the Stockbroker (, High Pitch Erik (, Tony Landolfi and Billy Mira showed up. Billy had been on the show a few times doing his Ozzy Osbourne impression. When I met him he was doing his High Pitch Erik impression. After being introduced to everyone I hung out with them while we waited for the crowds to come. Comedian Eddie Ifft showed up and hung out with the guys also. Sal and the guys had some stories to tell and I got to see just how large High Pitch Erik was in person. I'd never met him so I was hesitant to shake his hand after hearing Howard and the guys on the show say that his hands are all sweaty. I wouldn't call them ''sweaty'' though, they were more ''cold and clammy'' than sweaty.

I'd been told that High Pitch Erik gets kind of ''gay'' the more he drinks. I saw that behavior later in the evening when he had some alcohol in him. He started rubbing Levy's head and stuff which was kind of creepy. He also bagged a $20 bill from Levy somehow.

Dan the Song Parody ( came in to get some recordings of Levy's stand-up routine so he hung out with everyone also. While we were watching the young looking crowd come in the owner of the club, Vinnie Brand, showed up with his young daughter. He called Bob aside to find out what they were planning on doing and who was going to be performing. Bob came back a short time later and told Sal and Tony Landolfi how much time they'd have on stage. A little while later Vinnie came over and asked Bob who he was paying for the night. It was Sal so Vinnie quickly tells him ''Okay, you're emceeing the show. Come on!'' Sal got up as he was saying ''But I don't know how to do that!'' and followed Vinnie up to the sound booth. Tony Landolfi offered to take the emcee job and let Sal off the hook.

The show started a little after 8 o'clock with Tony opening up the show. Unfortunately I was so busy talking to the guys up at the bar that I wasn't really paying attention to how he was doing. I caught a joke here and there but didn't get a chance to hear all of his stuff. He did a few minutes of material and then brought Sal the Stockbroker up. Sal did just a few minutes of material but he had the crowd laughing more than I expected him to. Like I said after seeing Stuttering John for the first time, he was funnier than I thought he was going to be. He closed his act by performing a song about masturbation. He only did a few jokes about Gary's teeth while he was up there.

Comedian Eddie Ifft was up next. Once again I missed part of his act. After I sat down and paid attention I saw that the guy was friggin funny. He did his act for a while and when he was done Levy went up and did his, always great, act. If you've read my other Brushes with Greatness you know that Bob gets a female volunteer from the audience to come up so he can lick some liquid substance from the crack of her ass. He does this as a grand finale for his act. The crowd was pretty young that night and a girl, who I believe was 19 years old, got up on stage but backed out when she heard what she'd have to do. Another woman eventually volunteered but was also about to back out until Sal the Stockbroker called her over. I have no idea what he said to her but he convinced her to do it somehow. She pulled down her jeans about halfway down her amazing ass. Bob was looking the other way so Sal jumped up on stage and got in an ass kiss of his own before Bob had a chance. The woman looked horrified after that and it didn't look like she was going to let Bob do his thing. She eventually turned around and let Bob pour the blue cheese dressing down the crack of her ass. He then went ahead and licked it out as a horrified looking Vinnie Brand shook his head as he watched in disbelief. He turned to me a few seconds later and asked if I'd ever seen him do that before. ''Many times!'' I said. Vinnie walked away shaking his head as Bob came off stage. Tony went up to wrap up the show but Vinnie grabbed the microphone and wrapped it up himself. Everyone left not too long after Bob's act. Eddie Ifft had taken off right after his own act because he had to catch a train.

The Second Show - Saturday, March 22, 2003

This time I didn't go it alone. I had invited a co-worker, Chris, and a neighbor, Clif, to go along with me and my girlfriend Jennifer. We all met up outside the Stress Factor around seven o'clock. Bob Levy saw us come in so he greeted us and told us to have a good time. We got our table and ordered drinks and some food. The food at The Stress Factory is actually very good. Better than some restaurants I've been to. My chicken fingers were the best I've ever had. Chris and Jennifer had the bar-b-que chicken sandwich and said it was great too.

The show started with a packed house and the Stress Factory's own Julian McCullen opened the show and did the prank call they do before the show starts. The audience participates by writing suggestions for what kind of call to make to someone they know. Julian decided to prank an 18 year old girl's mother by telling her that she'd given them a phony ID, got drunk and puked on herself. It worked for a couple of minutes but the mother figured out what was going on. Julian did a little bit of his stand-up act and then brought up comedian Eddie Ifft whose act I'd missed on Thursday night.

At one point on Thursday night I thought I'd recognized Eddie from TV somewhere but I wasn't sure about that. I don't think I've seen him but the guy was friggin funny. He had the crowd going during his whole act. Unfortunately, the people at the table next to us would not shut up during Eddie's act. The women were having a conversation like there was nothing going on. A couple of times they'd be talking and the crowd would go nuts after hearing a great joke. One if the idiots would say ''What did he say?'' and someone at the table who heard part of the joke would repeat the whole thing to the table while Eddie continued his act. They weren't even whispering though, they were speaking like they were home in their living room watching TV. My girlfriend got annoyed, turned around and asked one of the women to please lower her voice. The jar head, body builder, who was friggin HUGE, cut her off saying ''SO ANYWAY, WHAT I WAS SAYING...'' as he continued his annoying conversation with his woman. He then said ''We paid to get in here too!'' I felt like telling him the same but the guy was about 3 times my size and I would have been lying. Obviously they weren't listening to Julian earlier in the show because he specifically asked people not to hold conversations while the comedians were up on stage. Were they retarded or just disrespectful? Perhaps a combination of both. They eventually shut their mouths for a while. I just made sure I didn't make eye contact with the guy.

Club owner Vinnie Brand did a few minutes of material between Eddie Ifft and Reverend Bob Levy. Vinnie is a comedian as well as the owner of the club so he did some great family material. He also goofed on a kid dressed in a FUBU shirt and a skull cap. Vinnie told him he shouldn't be dressing like that because seems to have forgotten that he's white. When he was done doing that he brought up Bob Levy.

Levy was on from the second he got on stage. I've seen the guy's act like ten times now and it's just as funny the tenth time as it is the first. He was especially funny this night though. He had a bunch of people in the audience doing strange stuff while he was on stage so he was goofing on them left and right. He was God-like in his delivery just coming back with funny remarks like I'd never seen. A woman claiming to be Howard Stern's cousin kept yelling out ''HOWARD STERN!'' every once in a while for no reason. She also asked Bob what he thought about Howard a few times. He told her that no one there really wanted to hear that stuff. She still wanted to know what he thought so he told her that he'd sampled Howard's dick and it was good. That seemed to shut the woman up for a little while. He continued to kill for the rest of his act. Unfortunately, Bob said that Vinnie asked him not to do his infamous ass crack licking thing during the early show. Bob said Vinnie was afraid that it might offend someone during the eight o'clock show.

After the show we waited for the crowd to start clearing out a little bit. I spent a minute talking to Vinnie who was making his way through the crowd. He goofed on my co-worker Chris when he went to shake his hand. He just dangled his limp hand in front of him like a woman. Vinnie told me the look on his face was great.

We headed out after most of the crowd was gone. Bob and Eddie were at the door selling their CDs for ten bucks a piece. Bob tells people that the one he's holding is his last one which actually works as a selling tool. People will say ''That's the last one?'' reach into their pocket and give him ten bucks. As soon as they walk away he pulls out another. He actually did have his ''last one'' at one point but as soon as he sold it he grabbed another handful of CDs from his bag. It was just almost as much fun as watching the show. Jennifer wondered what was holding me up so I figured I'd better get going. Eddie seemed to have enjoyed my site after I told him about it on Thursday. He said he didn't know it existed and he spent quite a bit of time checking it out.

I've said it after each of these write ups I do but I have to say it again. The Reverend Bob Levy has to be one of the funniest guys I've ever seen. If he's ever in your area doing a show, go out to see the show. Keep an eye on this guy Eddie Ifft too. He's really good. Check out their web sites to see where they're appearing. Here are a couple of links to their sites:

Special thanks to Bob Levy and Vinnie Brand for treating me so well.

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