By Grace Bennett
So when a friend said she had VIP tickets via party planner Adam Sands to attend Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling’s one man show at NYC’s Cutting Room in the fall, I jumped at the chance. Comic relief is critical to my basic happiness, and am hugely drawn to anyone with a quick wit and a comic edge. My boyfriend falls in that category and it’s a key reason I adore him. I also have my share of guilty pleasures and over the years that has included…shhh… listening to Howard Stern. So I was familiar with Jackie from his days on Stern and with his brand of humor.
At the end of the show, I met Jackie, and shocking even myself, I said something to him that made him laugh out loud. I’ll never tell what, but he said: “You made me laugh. That’s not easy to do. I want you to come on my show.” That was in the fall. Jackie sent me a CD of his show, and told me to contact him with a Tuesday date that I could attend. However, in my world of producing back-to-back nearly monthly hometown magazine editions (in the winter and spring), that got back burnered to the point of being forgotten. I also guess given the blatantly sex jokes content, I must admit there was a touch of “Is this going to get me into trouble in Chappaqua?”
Fast forward to last week and a bit of serendipity. I had a coffee date at Le Jardin du Roi in town with a neighbor, Ian Karr, who I “met” on Facebook. Always on the search for intriguing local content, I had contacted him in hopes of learning more about “Chappaqua Dads,” a page for the guys that he formed after a “Chappaqua Moms” page soared in local popularity. (Maybe I will start “Chappaqua Parents,” and confuse everyone? 😉 Shortly into the conversation, Ian mentioned that he had a career long sideline he loved (along with his pretty impressive day job as the owner of a production company) as a radio talk show host. I asked with who these days. And when he mentioned Jackie, well, I nearly choked on a bite of the crepe of the day. I told Ian that Jackie had invited me on the show but that I had never followed up! He asked if I was available this past Tuesday. There happened to be an opening. I followed my gut, and with my schedule a little slow after closing a June issue, I said, “Let’s do it.” We had a little fun texting Jackie with “Guess who’s coming on the show Tuesday?” It was a done deal.
I was excited Tuesday morning when I arrived at Sirius on Avenue of the Americas. After being cleared by security, I waited in a comfy area with black couches and lots of glass walls everywhere, plus plenty of pics of Stern and countless famous folks. I was certainly in good company. I was delighted to see Jackie again and also meet other talent in the studio. A great surprise was meeting Jena Axelrod, an accomplished stand up who the guys bring on regularly due to popular demand and ok, for some sexy female presence. She was very encouraging and supportive during some impromptu girl talk in the ladies’ room, and that was much appreciated! Things happened quickly then. Prior to air time, Jackie hands everyone their jokes to read (included in mine was a “Chappaqua Ladies Toast” script and, together with Ian, well over a dozen jokes are read over the course of the hour. Listeners seem pretty familiar with the format and call in with their own funny answers–more often wrong than right. But when they are right enough times, there’s apparently an opportunity to “win” and come on the show as guests themselves. In between the jokes, there’s old fashioned kibitzing with the guest. In my case, I appreciated the opportunity to introduce some 100,000 or more listeners to the existence of Inside Chappaqua, the magazine and this site, and also about my upcoming talk at the Chappaqua Library. I’m not going to share Jackie’s jokes with you here…you will have to tune in yourself. They’re not for everyone, as he explained to one caller–an old childhood friend befuddled by my guest appearance. But as Jackie says, “Turn the channel if you don’t like it.” You can choose to listen or not. I wholeheartedly agree with him! Let’s just say it was a lot of fun, and I’d be happy to do it again schedule permitting.
After the show, Jackie and Ian have a tradition of treating their guest to dinner at the world famous Carnegie Deli. Jackie charmed me with a surprise guest who joined us: John DeBellis, author of “Stand Up Guys: A Generation of Laughs. John wrote an article “Trade Secrets of Stand Up Comics” for my March ten-year anniversary edition which is also my “Top Ten Anything” edition. It was a pleasure to meet my writer in the flesh. All that before digging into cole slaw, perfect sour pickles, a tongue sandwich (everyone got a kick out of that for some reason!)–and continued comic relief!