Brush with Greatness


Mark's Friggin'... Nights of comedy at The Stress Factory - Thursday and Friday, August 7-8 2003

Stress Factory picture
The Performers - Click to Enlarge

The First Night...

That's right, I went to the great Stress Factory comedy club in New Brunswick, New Jersey once again. Comedians Reverend Bob Levy and Jim Florentine were scheduled to appear on this Thursday night. They had two more nights with Artie the two days following this show. I'd tried to get tickets for a bunch of my friends for the Friday and Saturday shows but they were sold out! So anyway, I decided to go down to hang out on this night since I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get in the other two nights.

After a late dentist appointment I hauled ass down to the club and got there about 30 minutes before show time. Bob Levy, Jim Florentine, Geno Bisconte, Sal the Stockbroker and his cousin Tony Landolfi were all there at the bar. I spent a couple of minutes talking to the guys before the show started. Jim told me that his new DVD will be out in a few weeks. This thing sounds like it's going to be great. Jim and a bunch of his friends go out and goof on people in public. I've seen Jim in action a couple of times so I know how funny it can be when they yank people around.

Geno Bisconte was the MC for th evening so he started off the show warming up the crowd for the first performer, Jimmy Palumbo. Jimmy went up and did his act. The last time I saw Jimmy, I'd missed his act when a hot chick came up to talk to me after she found out I was at the club. I caught most of it this time but I was dicking around with my new digital camera taking some test shots of him on stage (they didn't come out so great). He did a good job though from what I could tell.

Next up was Sal the Stockbroker. Now I know some of you out there are going to find this hard to believe but Sal the Stockbroker is funny. I've seen his act in the past and I have to say it has improved quite a bit in just a couple of months. The crowd, that was pretty young this night, seemed to love Sal's act. He had them laughing hysterically quite a few times during his short time on stage. I was impressed at how far he's come. I later talked to him about it and he's been working hard to make the act better. The good Reverend Bob has been helping him hone his craft.

Jim Florentine, voice of Special Ed and Bobby Fletcher on Comedy Central's ''Crank Yankers,'' was up next. Jim killed as he always does. He played a clip from the ''Crank Yankers'' show where Special Ed calls a movie theater and asks about how much tickets cost (check it out at and the crowd loved it. His stand-up routine was also great as usual.

Finally, it was the Reverend Bob Levy's turn to get up on stage. Levy, who was sick all week, said he wasn't feeling too great before he went up on stage. You wouldn't know it if he didn't say anything though. He went up there and killed. He had some new material that I hadn't heard before and he was on a roll through the whole act.

After the show I hung around for a little while as the crowd was leaving. I got to spend a few minutes talking to Jimmy Palumbo who will be appearing on the new ABC show ''It's All Relative'' this coming season. He has a recurring role on the show. Jimmy spent a few minutes talking about comedy and working on network TV shows. I also spent some time with Bob after he sold some CDs as people were leaving. He was telling Sal and I about a movie he shot down in Florida that sounds really funny. He told us about some scenes he shot that were just friggin hilarious. Jim Florentine also introduced me to a woman by the name of Sandra who works for the clothing company that distributes Eminem's clothing line Shady Ltd(.com). She had been sitting a few feet away from me during the show with her friend and they seemed to be enjoying it quite a bit. She had some of the Shady gear for the guys and it looked like really nice stuff.

Everyone headed out around 11 o'clock or so. I lucked out and didn't have to get up early the next morning to type up a live show. Howard was in rerun that Friday.

Day Two: Sold Out Shows With Artie Lange. Friday, August 8, 2003

I screwed up big time for this weekend. I tried to get tickets to these shows for a bunch of people but they were already sold out. I was able to get a few for my brother in law and his friends but that was about it. Four sold out shows for Friday and Saturday! The night before Mr. Bob (Levy) told me to just come and hang out with them if I wanted to. So that's exactly what I did.

I managed to get back stage where Rev. Bob Levy, Jim Florentine, Artie Lange, Paul Dell'Angelo, Timmer from and Jimmy Palumbo were hanging out. A bunch of other people, mostly Artie's friends, also showed up to hang out with him. I just stuck myself in a corner and got myself out of the way while we all hung out talking.

Fred the Elephant Boy and his Manager John showed up for the first show. Fred came in to say hi to everyone and spent a couple of minutes talking to me. I was able to understand most of what he said but it was a struggle.

The 8 o'clock show got started a little late. I didn't hear much of the show since I was in the green room, dressing room, closet... whatever you want to call it. I could hear the crowd going nuts for all of the comedians though. Jimmy Palumbo, Jim Florentine, Reverend Bob Levy and Artie all killed from what I could hear from the back room there. I did catch most of Artie's act. He was talking about how he feels like he owes everyone who saw ''Dirty Work'' ten bucks. Someone in the crowd told him he owned a copy of the movie so Artie pulled out a wad of cash and peeled off a twenty and gave it to the guy.

I was in the back room after Artie did his time on stage. It was amazing to see how many people came up to him asking for autographs and pictures. It was one hot chick after another back there. I had to get out of the way after a while to let the other fans get in there.

I stuck around after the first show and spent a couple more minutes talking to Fred the Elephant Boy. My head is still spinning from trying to figure out what he was talking about but he was a nice guy.

I saw that Jason Kaplan, line producer from the Stern show, was there so I said hello to him. He was there with his parents who were very nice as well. I hadn't seen Jason in about a year when we hung out down in Atlantic City after the Stuttering John fight. His mother said that she reads my site once in a while. Jason logs the Stern show which is kind of like what I do. He's actually getting paid to do it though. His mother jokingly told me ''Don't steal my son's job!'' I told her I'd never do that to Jason.

A bunch of other great people showed up for the second show. High Pitch Erik, Clubsoda Kenny, Eric McMahon, Artie's sister, Artie's girlfriend Dana and others were all there. I snapped a few shots with my new digital camera but the friggin battery ended up dying on me when I was about to snap a shot of Bob and Artie together. You can see the pictures I did snap by clicking on the thumbnails below.

Clubsoda Kenny is great to see in action. The green room is right near both of the bathrooms in the club so there's a lot of foot traffic there. Kenny would wait for a guy to walk by and then he'd get right behind their head and yell out ''HEY TOUGH GUY!'' trying to get a reaction out of them. For some reason not one of the guys he did it to actually turned around. Then I was talking to Kenny about my brother in law just having had a gall bladder operation. Kenny asked me where the gall bladder was located. I wasn't exactly sure. A woman just happened to be walking by at that point so Kenny, who must be like 6'5'' tall, bends down to this woman who was about 5'6'' and just says really loud ''WHERE'S YOUR GALL BLADDER?'' The startled woman just shook her head and kept walking. When attractive... and not so attractive women would walk by to go to the bathroom, Kenny would lean up against the wall with his head in his hand like he was admiring them. That's something you'd have to see.

High Pitch Erik was hanging out talking to Bob Levy and a couple of the other guys. Artie's sister came in at one point and said hi to him. She spent a minute talking to him and left the room a short time later. Erik then started asking if she was single. Levy told him to ask Artie about that because he wanted to see Artie's reaction to that question. Artie is very protective of his little sister. Erik called Artie in and asked him if his sister was single in that High Pitched Mickey Mouse voice of his. Artie paused for a second and let out a big ''No! She's married to a cop... a cop who knows Karate.'' Erik responded with ''I know Karate!'' Artie wandered out of the back room as Erik was saying that he'd be able to take care of his sister. Everyone was just laughing at that point.

I got to hear most of the second show and it was great. The crowd for the 10:30 show seemed to be having a great time. My brother in law and his two friend got in and saw the show as well.

After the show I hung around outside watching Bob Levy and Jim Florentine selling their CDs for a while. That's also when I got to meet Mariann from Brooklyn. When she's speaking in her normal voice she doesn't have that very distinctive screeching voice that everyone knows so well. She was very nice and just wanted to head home since it was so late. By this time it was about 1:30 in the morning and she had to drive High Pitch Erik back to Brooklyn.

There was more fun back in the club. Jim Florentine and Clubsoda Kenny had some fun goofing on this young comedian who was there. Jim brought the kid over to get some ''advice'' from Clubsoda Kenny. Kenny immediately started filling his head with a bunch of bullshit. He was giving him advice that made no sense at all. The kid stood there for a good 5 minutes taking it all in. Kenny had him changing everything from his clothes to his name. By the time Kenny was done with the kid, he had him wearing a blue suit, wearing tiny blue sunglasses and changing his name to The Crazy Hebrew or something like that.

Before everyone left, Jim Florentine was making a deal with a couple of women. They wanted a copy of one of his ''Terrorizing Telemarketers'' and were willing to make out with each other to get it. They haggled a bit about how long they'd have to do it but eventually did it (picture below). The first kiss only got them the CD, they had to kiss again to get it autographed.

Artie and his huge crew of people headed out first. Artie worked his way out saying goodbye to everyone. His girlfriend Dana even said goodbye to me. I got to give her a little peck on the cheek as we said goodbye. Hey, it's a little thing but, who else can say they got that close to Dana without having security called on them?

That was about it for that night. By this time it was just about 2:30 in the morning. I was still wide awake just from seeing so much going on. Everyone else headed out after that. I don't know how these guys do it every week. Bob and Jim told me to come back the next night but I was still worn out from staying up so late this night that I just couldn't do it. I can just imagine the insanity I missed Saturday night...

Check out the pictures I was able to take before my battery crapped out:

Club Soda and Mark High Pitch and Mark Bob Levy and High Pitch Erik Bob Levy and Fred the Elephant Boy Bob Levy and High Pitch Erik

As always, I had a great time at the shows. Check out each of these comedian's respective web sites to see if they're appearing in your area. Get out to see them, you won't be disappointed.

Here are a few links to the club and to each comedian's respective web site:

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