Brush with Greatness


Mark's Friggin' Visit To The Stress Factory - Saturday, September 11th, 2004

I'm a social retard. I have no rap, I have nothing to say when I'm in a social situation. That's one thing I've learned over the past couple of years going to these comedy shows. I love hanging out at these comedy shows though. I just don't say all that much while I'm there. I'll just stand back and soak in all of the stuff that's going on back stage or in the green room whenever I get the chance. That's what I did on this Saturday night at The Stress Factory in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Artie Lange and Rev. Bob Levy were doing a few shows at the Stress Factory on this weekend. Artie is such a big draw these days that he sells out the club weeks before the show. I didn't get tickets early so I ended up going down to the club by myself to hang out with Bob Levy and Artie Lange back stage. Bob is cool when it comes to stuff like that. He loves his fans and loves to have fun with them both on stage and off. I got there a little early as usual and met Bob, his girlfriend Kim and comedian Paul Dell'Angelo. We hung out at the bar for a few minutes before Artie showed up. I got to meet a couple of people who regularly post on the message board. Didn't catch their names though, sorry guys. Levy told me he had one guy tap him on the shoulder the night before, asking him if he was Bob Levy. Then he says ''Robin's Tits'' referring to the name he posts under on the bulletin board. What a way for people to identify themselves.

Artie showed up not too long after we got inside. Everyone kind of migrated back to the green room, which is actually dark blue, where Artie had a little CD player (which looked like something from the early 1990's) set up so he could listen to some AC/DC, The Who, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. I heard from Paul and Kim that Bob and Artie were playing their air instruments in the green room the night before. Kim said that Bob kept stomping on her foot as he was playing air drums. Paul told me we really should have had a video camera in there to capture the craziness. I didn't know that I'd get to witness the madness myself on this night.

When I made my way into the green room, Artie had started to play his CDs to keep himself entertained before the show. Bob was once again playing air drums and flailing his arms and legs around like he was having a seizure. Artie was playing air guitar and drums himself. He and Bob were doing impressions of the drummer from The Who trying to make faces like he did when performing. Artie was also doing his air guitar playing Angus Young impression when he was playing the AC/DC stuff. There's a whole other show going on back stage that most people never get to see. They really do need a hidden camera running while all of this is going on. I was just leaning against the wall soaking it all in while it was going on. I couldn't get enough of it.

My brushes with Stern show people didn't stop with Artie and Bob this evening. Richard Christy, winner of the ''Get John's Job'' contest, came in with a friend of his. Turns out Christy has been a frequent visitor to for quite some time. I always like to hear stuff like that. He was a really nice guy as everyone has been so far. Frequent caller and Beth O extreme fan, Double A popped in with a friend of his and a couple of women. I didn't get a chance to talk to him for long, he had more important business to take care of with the girls.

I caught bits and pieces of the 8 o'clock comedy show as it was going on. Comedian Julian McCullen opened the show and then Paul Dell'Angelo went up. After that he brought up Adam Glyn who is working hard on his stand-up career. I first saw Adam about a year ago at the same club when Club Soda Kenny was goofing on him giving him bogus advice on what to do to become a great stand-up. Luckily, Adam didn't take his advice and had a good set this night. Paul killed as well. Levy was up next and then Artie. Both of them killed but the friggin audience went nuts when Artie was introduced. He's like a God when people see him.

Artie is a god to people off stage as well. People stop by the green room after each show to get pictures and autographs. A lot of them are friends and family of people he knows... and there are A LOT of them. Once again I was just plastered against a wall watching all of this go on between shows. It's fascinating to watch the fans pop their heads in just to get a glimpse of Artie sitting in there. Artie's sister Stacy showed up for the second show. I got a quick hello from her and a bunch of other people who dropped by.

The second show went just as well as the first from what I could tell, at least until the crowd started sending Artie shots... many, many shots. He got pretty plastered and Artie's sister wasn't too thrilled with that. She got a bit upset and let the guys know that. From what I heard, Artie had kept his drinking under control the night before and for the first show. For some reason the second show was a little nuts and he had a few too many. After the show he came back to the green room and just about passed out in his chair.

Things get even crazier after the second show. There were a ton of people who wanted autographs and pictures taken with Artie. There were a couple of hot, tall, blondes who wanted to get a picture with Artie immediately after he walked to the green room. When he walked by, they asked him for a picture. Artie was so out of it he probably didn't even hear them. I swear that one of the girls looked like she was about to cry when Artie walked by her. Paul told her to come back in a short time and maybe he'd take one then. The girls disappeared to the bathroom for a few minutes and got their picture later on. Meanwhile, there were still a ton of people coming and going from the green room. One woman was yelling about how Artie had called her ''Larry Bird'' while he was up on stage. He wasn't far off either, she was pretty tall and ''unique'' looking. She had a friend who was just about as ''unique'' as she was. ''Larry Bird'' also flipped out when she realized that Richard Christy was sitting in the room. I can't imagine what she would have done if Howard was there.

The visitors kept coming and going for what seemed like hours. I was kind of stuck sitting on top of a large speaker that was in the corner of the green room. It would have been tough getting out since my legs were kind of stuck behind a lamp after I moved to get out of the way. It was still fun to watch all of the crap going on though. I finally got out of the room shortly before 1 o'clock in the morning.

Artie has a new DVD coming out soon called ''It's The Whisky Talking'' where you'll be able to see some of the back stage stuff that goes on. He's got a new web site at where you'll eventually be able to purchase the DVD and find out more about him.

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