Brush with Greatness


Mark's Friggin' Night at The Stress Factory Comedy Show with Artie Lange, Bob Levy and Jimmy Graham - August 8, 2002

Update 8/22/02: When I originally wrote this story I bitched and complained about losing the pictures I'd taken at the show with a digital camera. Luckily, a fan of the site read about my problem and offered to have his company try and recover the data. It worked! I've edited my complaints and added the pictures that were recovered.

Last time I wrote about going to one of these comedy shows I wondered if it was possible to be addicted to laughter. Now I'm convinced that I have an addiction. I have to laugh and Rev. Bob Levy is the man to make that happen. That guy is friggin funny... and I'm not just saying that. Other people with me at the comedy show agreed.

I heard about this show at The Stress Factory in New Brunswick, New Jersey that was going to feature Artie Lange from the Stern Show. Bob Levy was part of the show too so I figured I couldn't go wrong. I went down with my brother-in-law Brad and his friend Brian. On the drive down we warmed up by listening to Jim Florentine's new ''Terrorizing Telemarketers Vol. 3'' CD. Damn that guy can yank people around like no one else. Another must have CD. We got to The Stress Factory around 7:20 and got seated shortly before the buffet was cleared out. We grabbed some food and sat down to get ready for the show.

The food was good and some of the waitresses were pretty cute. There were also an unusual number of beautiful women in the audience. Maybe because it's a college town. Rutgers being the college of course. I had a pretty good view from where I was sitting. The club must have held a couple hundred people. They play scenes from great movies and TV shows on their big screen TV so you have something to watch the whole time you're there. They also have a remote camera on the ceiling that they pan around the crowd and put goofy little sayings on the screen. They'd pick out a in the crowd and you'd see something like ''Just masturbated in the bathroom'' or something like that. It was pretty entertaining.

The host, and the guy who runs the place, Vinnie Brand started the show around 8:20 or so. He works the crowd asking about birthdays and anniversaries. Then he moves on to this other bit he does with audience suggestions. When you go in the club they have forms you can fill out if you want to goof on a friend or family member. You write up what you want to do and Vinnie goes through them on stage. He then picks out the best one and makes the phone call on stage. There's a pay phone on the wall that he uses to make the call. They have the call fed into the club so everyone can hear it. Unfortunately the guy he was calling to goof on heard the laughter in the club and picked up on the fact that he was part of a big joke within a minute. He got quite a few laughs out of that bit.

Vinnie introduced the emcee Jimmy Graham who I'd seen a couple months ago at the Stone Tavern Brewery. He does a lot of funny fat jokes since he is quite a large dude. After doing some of his material he introduced Rev. Bob Levy. Levy, playing injured with a hurt back, who went up and killed as he usually does. Levy is so quick and witty with the comments he makes about the people in the audience it's fascinating to watch. An older gentleman was heading to his table and lost his footing, dropping a drink on the floor. Bob quickly joked about him breaking his hip and the crowd burst out in laughter. A short time later a woman trying to get to her table up near the stage bends over and tries to sneak in. Not possible with Levy on stage. Levy quickly says ''...and who's the chick with scoliosis down here?'' The crowd burst out in laughter again. You have to see this guy in action.

Bob did his thing and saw that I was in the crowd so he mentioned This time, finally, a couple of people clapped. So there was no uncomfortable silence as there has been at other shows. Whew! I gave a lame wave to the crowd and Bob continued his act.

At the end of Bob's act he did his big ass-eating thing. He had to find a female volunteer to come up on stage so he could lick something out of her ass crack. Some dude finally volunteered a woman, Robin, who was at his table. After the audience cheered her on she reluctantly went up on stage. Bob ended up licking some blue cheese dressing or something like that out of her ass. Always a great bit. I had pictures... damn you SmartMedia card!

Bob ended his time on stage shortly after that. Emcee Jimmy Graham went back up on stage and started to do some more of his act. As he's starting his act I see this tall, gorgeous woman heading my way. I figured she was heading to the bar... nope, she's heading toward me! Beautiful women like that don't usually approach me. Turns out she's a fan of the site and just wanted to say hi. Her friend also came up and told me she uses the site pretty often. I'm just stunned that these gorgeous women were talking to me and all I can say is ''thanks'' to them. They went back to their table and the other guys at the table say ''Damn! She was hot!'' as they're leaving. We figured she looked like a cross between Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lisa Edelstein and Sasha Alexander. I lean more toward the Lisa Edelstein side of the equation though. What a distraction that was. I couldn't concentrate on what was going on up on stage. I guess Jimmy did a few more minutes of material before introducing Jimmy Palumbo.

Jimmy Palumbo did his act but I was still distracted by that woman. Palumbo finished up after a short time on stage. He finished up and Graham went back up, did some quick material and then introduced Artie Lange. The crowd went crazy. People cheered, clapped and yelled like the guy had just won the World Series... and he wasn't even on stage yet.

Artie downs a shot Artie, with a drink in hand, went up on stage and had everyone laughing pretty hard through his act. He requested at least four shots of tequila in the time he was on stage. He'd finish one and request the next within seconds. The man can drink! The shots came after he'd finished a cup full of something, probably Jack and Coke, shortly after getting on stage. Artie kicked ass, mentioned some of the stuff from the Stern show and did some of his impressions from the show like Jeff the Butt Billionaire guy... ''You skanky ho!'' and his Mariann from Brooklyn impression. He was also playing with the pay phone on the brick wall behind him. He'd pick it up and say ''HELLO!'' in a high pitched woman's voice. The audience seemed to enjoy it.

When Artie was done Vinnie Brand closed up the show and mentioned some of the comedians they have coming to the club soon. They have some pretty big names coming up. Check out for more info. It's a great club and lots of fun.

Bob Levy and Mark After the show Rev. Bob Levy was selling some of his new t-shirts. The shirt has a caricature of him sitting at a table holding a knife getting ready to eat some ass and he's saying ''Got Hiney?'' So he's there standing by the door as people are leaving selling shirts. The guys and I waited around for a few minutes until the crowd cleared. I was hoping to get a picture of the woman that said hello to me but she headed off in the opposite direction. I hoped she'd head for the exit at some point so we all went over toward Bob. As we got there he was telling Brian and Brad that he only had one of his t-shirts left to sell and begged for someone to buy it. When he realized who it was he laid off the sales pitch and tried to get some of the other people to buy his ''last'' t-shirt. Someone finally bought his ''last'' t-shirt and the next thing I know he's pulling another one out of his big red bag begging someone else to buy his ''last'' shirt. He did this for about 15 minutes. Each time he'd tell the person that it was his last one. What a sales pitch! It seemed to work some of the time. Bob even danced for a few people to see his shirts.

After most of the people had gone Bob said he'd bring us back to meet Artie. I met him quickly down in Atlantic City but I didn't think he'd remember me. We finally got back to the green room where Artie was hanging out but there were a bunch of people around. Jimmy Graham was hanging there so we spent a few minutes talking to him. All of these guys are really cool and will just hang out and talk for a while.

Mark and ArtieArtie was finally free for a second so I told him who I was and he seemed to know about the site. I think Bob told him I was there so that may have helped. Much to my surprise he remembered meeting me down in Atlantic City. He was really cool and thanked me for coming down to the show. I had Bob take a picture of us which you can see on the right. I also got a cool picture of Artie, Jimmy Graham and Bob Levy. I didn't realize it at first but Artie's beautiful girlfriend is in the green room near where the guys were standing when I took their picture.

Artie, Jimmy, Bob

We spent a few more minutes with the guys and took off. Artie is the main attraction at these shows but the other guys don't let you down. They put on a great show and the Stress Factory was a great place to see it. You've got to go see this guy Rev. Bob Levy. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. You can find out where he's appearing by visiting his web site

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