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Staten Island, Elaine, and Me: A TV Comedy Tale of Chaos and Chairs
My (first and last) TV appearance on the Staten Island Comedy Show
September 5, 2016
Staten Island, NY
Somebody once told me Staten Island had the best pizza in New York. I called bullshit. But I had to find out for myself.
Fellow comic Joe Rombi Jr. generously offered me a spot on the Staten Island Comedy Show- a variety TV show that went out to the five boroughs. I was thrilled to be asked.
I hopped on the Staten Island ferry and made my way to the fifth borough, once named Richmond, after King Charles I's bastard son.1 A gentleman sitting across from me stared at me like this the entire trip.
I bid him farewell, wondering if I’d ever see him again in my life, and hastily made my way to the waiting area and jumped into Joe’s jeep, along with fellow comic, Jenelle Jackson2, who was to be on the show too. We were running late.
Joe zoomed around the island, zipping in and out of roadworks and giant craters in the asphalt. "Roll up your windows," he said, as we passed a waste treatment facility. It was too late. The waft of pickled eggs had already permeated the car and was seeping its way into the nylon seats.
We clambered out of the Jeep into the studio to find they, too, were running late. Everybody in the studio was sprinting around, having a panic attack about one small thing or another. We sat in the green room waiting for instructions.
I asked Joe, “Do | need to work clean?” He said, “Yeah, mostly.”
I looked at my setlist.
“Can | say pussy?”
“Oh, yeah. That’s fine.” he said. “If Trump can say it..." he trailed off.
They wheeled the audience of octogenarians into the studio. None of them could hear or see.
Just then, one of the hosts burst into The green room, sweating and stressing. Apparently, they needed another chair.
I looked over and saw Staten Island local, Mike Bocchetti3 telling people jokes. He was lightening the mood while the crew and cast stressed out around us.
5 minutes to showtime…
I sat running through my set in my head. I looked like a loon, rocking back and forth and talking to myself in gibberish.
I got up to walk to the stage. The man freaking out about the chairs played the drums loudly (no other music, just drums) and then I told some jokes. People chortled.
After every single joke, the drummer played a rimshot or some other long and loud drum solo.
Then I said, “Couscous sounds like what old Greek men call...”
I don't think the rest of the nursing home residents heard me. They were sleeping. One farted during another comic's set. It was the funniest thing to happen that whole day.
We clambered back into the car and raced away towards the ferry terminal to Manhattan, but not before trying a slice of this fabled “Staten Island Pizza”.
It was pretty good.
Not great. But pretty good.
I got back onto the ferry and buried my face in my phone. I got a text from Joe, “They were pretty upset about you saying ‘pussy.’” When I looked up 15 minutes into the trip, guess who was sitting across from me…
Mike Bocchetti (born April 3, 1961) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and writer from Staten Island, New York. He is most notable for his role as the announcer on The Artie Lange Show from 2012 to 2014, and has acted frequently on film and television. he had a heart attack a few months after this show but thankfully recovered. He lost a bunch of weight, too.
Here is how my set went. You can see it on Youtube. Which is terrifying.