Brush with Greatness


Mark's Friggin' Spends ''An Evening with Artie Lange'' - Friday, May 9th, 2003

Little did I know that when I went to see a comedy show they (a Planet Rapture production) were billing as ''An Evening with Artie Lange'' that I would actually be spending an evening with Artie Lange.

I heard about this show months before it was supposed to happen and it sounded like a great line up to me. Artie Lange, Jim Florentine, Reverend Bob Levy, Jimmy Palumbo and Tony Spano. Sure, I'd never heard of Tony Spano but it still sounded good to me anyway. Plus, Jim Florentine told me he had something for me if I showed up. I figured maybe he had a sneak preview copy of his upcoming DVD or a new Terrorizing Telemarketer's CD. No such luck... more on that later.

I told my buddy Bob, who runs Gearhead Cycle Products out in Flagtown, New Jersey, about the show and he decided to go along with me and my girlfriend. I managed to get lost heading up to the show which was held at the Shea Center for the Performing Arts at William Patterson College. I manage to get lost going to just about every friggin show I go to. Even when I have explicit directions directly from the friggin college. Anyway, when we finally did get up there, Artie Lange was standing out in the parking lot talking to some of his friends. I stopped and said a quick ''hello'' to him. It's an honor when the guy recognizes me and knows my name when he sees me.

Earlier in the morning this day I had the pleasure of hearing Howard compliment me on a picture I'd edited and sent to him. He had a picture of himself with Siegfried and Roy taken when he was out in Las Vegas a couple of weeks before and had it up on his web site. Their hands were in unusual positions so I added a big penis that looked like it was Howard's to the picture so it looked like one of the guys was holding it in his hand. The other guy also got a penis to hold in his hand. Howard said on the air that he thought it was pretty funny as he told Robin about it. He didn't mention my name but said ''to the guy who sent me that picture, I liked it.'' So I printed the picture out and brought it with me to the comedy show it off. I caught up to Artie one more time after finding a place to park. I told him that I was the one who created that picture and showed him the printout. He seemed to think it was pretty funny too. (Due to legal concerns, I don't want to post that picture on my site. Sorry.)

After talking to Artie for a minute my group headed in to get to our seats. The place was empty for the longest time and I thought it was going to be a small crowd. Then all of a sudden people started showing up and filled up most of the theater... and the theater was pretty friggin big. I later heard there were over 700 people there!

The show got started sometime after 8 o'clock but there were still people showing up late. There was one large crowd of guys that showed up really late. and disrupted the show constantly through the Emcee's entire opening act. He was handling it pretty well but it still seemed to throw him off. Then there were a couple of guys with those cell phones that act like walkie talkies that beep after each transmission. They were holding conversations with those for a couple of minutes which was also annoying.

Comedians Tony Spano and Jimmy Palumbo did some good material before the bigger acts got up. I'd missed Palumbo's act the last time I saw him down at the Stress Factory one time because I was distracted by some annoying women sitting near me. I finally got to enjoy his stuff this time though. Spano was pretty funny too.

After those two performed Jim Florentine went up and did his thing. He gets a lot of recognition for his infamous ''Yaay!'' character known as ''Special Ed'' on Comedy Central's ''Crank Yankers'' show. People yell out ''YAAY!'' as soon as they hear his name mentioned and during his act once in a while as well. He killed as he's done at the shows I've seen him at in the past.

Jim finished his act so the God-like Reverend Bob Levy was up next. Bob went up and killed as soon as he got on stage. He picks people out of the crowd and goofs on them throughout his act. He picked out this young guy wearing a beret and said he looked like a gay French guy. He kept going back to that guy during his act which had his buddies rolling on the floor a couple of times. Levy finished up his act with the infamous ass licking thing he does. He was able to get a volunteer who didn't hesitate to pull down her pants when Bob asked her to. She pulled them down so far that Bob said he could see her ''beard.'' He poured a little vodka down her crack and licked it out.

After Levy was done it was Artie's turn. By now the emcee didn't even bother doing any material because the crowd just wanted the next act to come up. He introduced Artie and the crowd went nuts. He got a standing ovation from quite a few people in the audience. He did his thing and sipped from a cup filled with, most likely, Jack and water. He wasn't allowed to smoke on stage though so that was kind of different. He also killed and had the crowd going through his act.

After the show was over, Jim Florentine and Reverend Bob Levy were out front selling their CDs. I saw Dan the Song Parody Man ( hanging out there as well. We spent a couple of minutes talking to Dan about motorcycles. Dan's a Harley guy and I've been riding sportbikes (crotch rockets, rice burners, killing machines... etc.) since 1985. Anything with two wheels is cool with me... Then Bob sent over his ''All Access Pass'' that he had from the Las Vegas shows Howard did a couple of weeks before. He told me he was going to pass it along to me not too long before the show. At almost the exact same time Jim Florentine was pulling out the exact same item. That was the ''surprise'' he had for me that I mentioned earlier. Both of them gave me the same gift. Cool collectors item. Dan the Song Parody Man wanted to borrow one to scan it though, so I walked away with Bob's. Bob figured since he was the first to tell me he was giving it to me, that his mention should be above Jim's. I think he was just joking around. Who am I kidding? He wasn't joking...

Earlier in the evening I'd seen this tall guy walking around who looked amazingly like Club Soda Kenny who used to appear on Howard's show with Andrew ''Dice'' Clay. Turns out it was Kenny. He was standing next to Florentine while he was selling his CDs. Jim introduced us a short time later. They've been friends for quite a while apparently. At one point Kenny and Jim decided to goof on a group of people walking by. I'd heard about the way Jim and his friends goof on people they don't even know as they walk down the street so I had a clue that they were goofing on them. It was just a little thing but it was funny anyway. The group of people walked by Club Soda Kenny simply said ''You dropped something!'' The whole group of people, and a bunch of people in the general area, start searching around, looking all over the place. Jim and Club Soda Kenny keep them going by saying ''No, it's over there.'' They point at the floor over in that general area and keep the people looking for nothing. That lasted about a minute or so before the people gave up and just walked away. Subtle, but funny as hell.

Dan the Song Parody Man told me the guys were heading over to a Casey O'Toole's bar/restaurant to hang out for a while. He invited us to go along. I thought my friend Bob wanted to get home at a decent time but he said he didn't mind going out for a little while. A few minutes later we were on our way. Bob Levy had to find his friend Joe Kearney who drove him up to the show. He'd been missing since the start of the show. Turns out he wasn't feeling too well and had taken a nap in his car.

We all got to the Casey O'Toole's around the same time. Artie was already there waiting out front so we all just kind of followed him in. There was a live band playing that was extremely loud. The guys arranged for an area where they had plenty of tables and room to just hang out. My friend Bob grabbed a couple of drinks and headed over to the area. The friggin band just never stopped and played way too loud. No one could hear anything. Bob Levy was joking around with some people at the table I was at but I couldn't hear a word. The band would go right into song after song without any break. It was unbelievable... and they weren't even that good. Levy was goofing on them playing air guitar and air drums but the music wasn't even good enough to do that. He'd give it a drum hit and have a disgusted look on his face. After maybe a half hour or more... I lost track of time... The band finally took a break. We all cheered when they gave us the good news. They put on some music at a reasonable level after that so we could hear each other speak.

I was sitting at a table with my girlfriend, Levy, Dan the Song Parody Man, Joe Kearney and my friend Bob. Artie was a couple of seats over as was his girlfriend Dana and a bunch of their friends. Levy and Dan joked around and had some fun. Meanwhile, Jim Florentine and Club Soda Kenny were sitting next to our table at their own. I was waiting to see if Jim was going to pull one of his pranks that he's infamous for. He's talked about some of that stuff on Howard's show. He'll sometimes have a waiter keep grinding fresh ground pepper on his food until there's a pile on his plate. That wasn't happening because they didn't have fresh ground pepper there. A little later, though, a bus boy brought over a couple of glasses of water to Jim and Kenny's table. I just happened to see this going on and watched as Jim pointed over to me and told the guy he thought the waters were for me. I could tell by the look on Jim's face that he was goofing on the guy so I played along. I pointed down to Dan the Song Parody Man and said ''I think it goes to that guy.'' Dan did the same and pointed it in another direction. The poor guy ended up bringing the water all the way down to the other end of the very long table.

Artie was really cool to everyone there. He thanked me for helping promote the show and stuff like that. He was pounding down the drinks the whole night. There was a tray of about 15 shots of something that came to the table at one point. Only 6 or 8 people grabbed a shot and did one with him. My buddy Bob grabbed one and said he had no idea what it was but it tasted horrible. Bob Levy said ''It tasted like a tire fire.'' Meanwhile, the rest of the shots quickly disappeared. I'm not sure if Artie drank them all or if his friends had more. A couple of Artie fans also came over and did shots they bought with him. Wow! That guy sure can drink.

Jim told us that he doesn't usually see Levy with so much energy after a show. He must have gotten his second wind. His buddy Joe had gone back out to the car to take another nap since he wasn't feeling so well. Earlier Bob was eating some chicken fingers and trying to make Joe puke. Poor Joe looked queasy as it was and Bob was loading up the chicken fingers with honey sauce and chewing with his mouth open. I was thinking about throwing up myself. Bob also did an impression of Jim Florentine doing his act which was pretty funny. The two of them also shared a few behind-the-scenes stories about comedian Jim Norton that were pretty funny. None of them repeatable though.

All good things must come to an end and it was getting pretty late. We ended up leaving around 1 in the morning. We had an hour long trip ahead of us. Levy and Florentine were on their way out too so I figured it was time to go. Artie tried to get Levy to stay over at his place because Joe was looking like he was in sad shape. Bob told him he was just a little sick, he wasn't drunk or anything like that. As I was saying good bye to Jim he'd just finished up talking to Artie's girlfriend who I'd never been introduced to. Jim introduced me and I showed her my edited Siegfried and Roy with Howard photo. She didn't see the added on penises at first so I had to point them out. She was really nice and had this dainty handshake... and a smokin' body. Artie's a lucky man.

It's great to be a huge fan of the show and be able to hang out with the likes of an Artie Lange and others who have been on the show. Levy and Florentine are great guys and have been so cool to me for the past year. I can't thank them enough for everything they've done. Thanks guys! Go see them perform sometime. You won't be disappointed.

Here are a few links to some of the comedian's respective web sites:

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