Joe Conte | Veteran Comic Appreciates The Love, Prefers Respect **ARTICLE REPOST**

Did I get a lot of attention as a kid? Yeah, sure. At least 50% of it was negative.

My sister was the only girl, and my brother was the baby, so I was the one who caught all the shit from my crazy Italian parents. That’s probably why I go on stage and seek accolades from complete strangers.

My brother exudes an amount of confidence that I’ve never had. Part of this might be the luck of the draw. Part of it might be because my relatives would say, “Joseph is a good boy, he just needs to lose some weight.” …when I was 7.

In the genetic lottery, I had one number. My brother had the Pick 4 boxed.

If you speak Italian slowly for me, I could probably understand it. Just like English.

When my parents were arguing a lot, I tried to be a diversion by lightening things up. They divorced when I was 14, but it wasn’t the overwhelmingly sad thing that most kids experience. I was happy that I didn’t have to hear them fight anymore.

I don’t remember being a funny kid at all. In high school, there were people known to be funny, and I wasn’t one of them. I first realized that I could make people laugh when I got into my 20’s. Sarcasm had entered the equation.

I got messed with a couple of times growing up, usually for being overweight. Some comments. Some jokes. I remember one of the guys from the football team continually hitting me with spit balls. But bullied? No.​

I never felt that I fully belonged anywhere, so I’ve always behaved myself. I’ve never been the type to make waves. I’m well liked, but I think a lot of it probably has to do with the fact that I’m well behaved.

I’ve always been extremely nervous around women.

When I was around 10 years old, I not only used to practice making out in the bathtub, I would actually make out with the bath tub. I’d put my mouth in that opening and move it all around, pretending that I was kissing a girl. Don’t act like you never tried that.

One night when I was 17 years old, an older friend of mine who had been living in a rundown motel, came to my house and said, “Dude, I have this broad with me out in the car and she’s going down on everybody. You gotta come out with us!”  He knew that I was very inexperienced sexually. So I get in the backseat of the car, and suddenly all I see is the bottom half of a woman, leaning into the front, blowing the guy who was sitting in the passenger seat. My friend said, “Why don’t you say hello to Joe back there?”, and she went down on me without saying a word. My first blowjob. Then she climbed on top of me and started riding me. My first time having intercourse. We eventually went back to my friend’s motel, where I witnessed a bunch of guys that my friend recruited from a bar, take turns having sex with her, while he loudly cheered them on. That was how I lost my virginity. And you wonder why I’m screwed up?​

For the first 30 or so years of my life, my love life pretty much consisted of me liking a girl, and her wanting nothing to do with me.

I appreciate you trying to convince me that I’m not a fuck up, but I once lost my car in a poker game.

At times, gambling filled a void in my life. I needed a relationship, and for a long while, that was it.

I’ve always been horrible with money. My father used to say, “Ma Joseph, if he a hada 10 dollars in his pocket, he woulda spend ‘em 11”.​

First, I wanted to be a tap dancer. Then I wanted to be magician. Then I wanted to be a weatherman. I never wanted to be a fireman, or a cop or anything like that when I was a kid. I wanted to entertain people. I wanted to say, “Hey, take a look at me.”

I was a best man at a wedding, and gave my speech in front of 150 people. There were a few heartfelt moments, and it got laughs. It felt great! I left there thinking, “Wow, I can do this.” Later that same night, I saw a friend of mine at a party. He told me that he had been doing standup for a few weeks, and thought I should try it. Incredible, right? A perfect storm.

We went to an open mic at a comedy club a few weeks later, and put our names on the sign up sheet, with his name first. I was extremely nervous, but knew that I had some time to prepare while my friend did his set. Suddenly the host says, “And for our next comic, please give it up for…Joe Conte!” My friend tells me today that I was white as a ghost. I was scared to death. I had no idea how I was going to get through it. I basically crawled up there, and was looking for some way to calm down. Luckily, I saw an old classmate of mine sitting in the front row, who always thought I was hilarious. I focused on her and nobody else, did 5 minutes, and got a few laughs. It was amazing. As soon as the guys dropped me back home, I called my sister. It was 1am, but I had to tell somebody. “Nancy, I did standup tonight! It was great!” When I hung up, a tear came out of my eye. It changed everything.​

That was 18 years ago.

I don’t get too many hecklers because I’m loud and passionate and fast paced up there, and I don’t leave enough time for doubt to creep in among the audience. The other reason is because I look like a guy who would beat the living shit out of someone who heckled me.

Once, a woman was so disruptive during one of my gigs, that I told the guy who was with her, “Listen, she’s annoying. She won’t shut up, and we all hate her. You have to do something about her. ”  It turns out that he was her fiance.  At the end of the show, he listened to me – he took her ring back, and drove off.

Worst gig ever? We could be here all day.

I did a show way out in the Pennsylvania sticks, at a VFW hall. We were supposed to perform in the function room, where there was a stage set up. While walking through the bar to the room, we saw a total of 6 people, all of them miserable looking guys. They looked like they never left the bar, nevermind the town. But no worries – we were in the other room, with all the people who wanted to see comedy. The only problem was, no one wanted to see comedy. Not a single person showed up. The other comic and I were ready to head home, when the booker says, “Hey, why don’t we just do it at the bar?” Playing any bar is tough, because no one pays attention to you. But this one? Next thing you know, I find myself standing behind the bar with a microphone, right next to the bartender, telling jokes to those 6 winners. Meanwhile, the bartender is walking in front of me mid-joke every time he needs to grab a Heineken. Then, a few of the guys start heckling me like hillbilly versions of the old men from The Muppet Show. It was a disaster. I plowed through it, so I could get out of there. Afterwards, one guy from the audience came up to me, and introduced himself as Squirrel. No last name. Just Squirrel. He looked at me and said, “I’m gonna tell you somethin’ right now. You’re funny.”

Great gigs make terrible stories. Bad gigs give you stories that last forever.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a few goals and I’d love to make a lot of money doing this, but above all, I would like to have the respect of my peers. I’m liked by other comics, but they like me. I want them to like my comedy. I’d rather they not care for me as a person, but say, “Conte man…that guy’s a good fuckin’ comic.”​

I met my wife at a poker game, but she was dating a friend of mine at the time. That wasn’t the first time I saw her though. The first time I spotted her, she was wearing a long coat and heels and I noticed her long beautiful hair. I thought she was very hot. And tall. Way too tall for her date. Oh, and I could tell that under that coat, she had big tits.​

I saw her again at a show I was on, and her friend, a fellow comic, told me that Beverly thought I was cute. Things went from there.

She keeps me grounded, but with a foot in my ass. She has no problem telling me that I’m average at something, but at the same time will tell me that I can be great at something. Beverly makes me feel like I matter. I need that.

If someone would have told my 20 year old self, “By the time you’re in your late 40’s, you’ll be getting paid to do stand up, have a pensioned job that allows you time to do podcasts and radio, and be married to a cool wife”,  I would have thought that was great. And it is.

Otto Peterson? A borderline autistic genius. A brilliant comic. The thing about Otto was, he wasn’t just loved by people – he was respected by his peers. It didn’t matter how screwed up his life was at any moment, other comics always respected him as a funny guy who brought it every night. That’s the kind of respect that you want as a comic. That’s the kind of respect that I want.

Otto respected me, and was a great pal to me. I miss him.

Regrets? One. That I didn’t try standup earlier.

I had a blockage in one of the arteries in my heart. They had me carrying nitroglycerin pills around in case my chest suddenly tightened. Yeah, I was scared. My doctor recently complimented me on losing 7 pounds in 2 weeks. You want to know the secret to my diet? Fearing that I might die at any given moment.

I never look as heavy as I actually am, and that’s part of the problem. If I looked different, maybe my friends would have thrown a few more fat jokes at me, and I would have cut this thing off at the pass.

Will I be doing comedy at 50? Of course, I’m 48.

Will I be doing this at 55? I hope so.​

​60? I think you’re probably pushing it.

I go two weeks without being on stage and I get depressed. When I married Beverly I feared that I might not care about comedy as much, but I like it even more now.

I’ve been working on a lot of new jokes lately. Trying different things. You have to hear some of this stuff.

I suppose age doesn’t really matter, because I’m doing a Project Graduation gig next week, and I have my stepson’s friends in tears when they come over.​

Ok, you win. I’ll probably be doing this when I’m 60.​

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeConteComic
Tune in to The Conte and Kenny Show on, Mondays at 7PM Eastern

** This is a repost of an article that was originally posted at: **

Robert Ferraro is a freelance writer and broadcasting school graduate, who has produced radio talk shows, and Major League Baseball broadcasts. In between, he has held over 50 menial jobs, all of which he departed when he couldn’t find anyone interesting to talk to.

Comedy Shoppe Mt. Arlington 9-8-2017

Dark Rainbow

“Weird” I guess is the best description I can use for the feelings I have had the last 2 days, after learning that Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer on Sunday morning, I was bewildered at my sadness towards it. Now, I’m not trying to paint myself as some alpha male tough guy who won’t show his feelings, but I never felt like this over someone whom I had never met. When George Carlin died I was very saddened but I think more for the loss the world took losing its greatest comedic mind and my favorite of all time. I met George Carlin and that I think, made it easier, although I will miss hearing his views on modern events, the earthquakes ravaging our planet lately, 2 at a time, or even his opinion on having a black president (he died June 2008). Being a comedian and a huge fan of Carlin and his work, it confused me even more that THIS was truly something that made me blue. Then it made sense, I always would bitch how comedy never got the same love and accolades as music, I never understood why, as much as comedy has shaped my life and helped me find my calling, MUSIC, touched my soul and took me to places I could never go to in this atom-filled world as we know it. It inspired me to do better and achieve things, like “get over it” when some girl shreds your heart, trying to hit personal goals, or just putting you in a better mood by just hearing it. As much as I adore what comedy does, it doesn’t quite match up to what music can do for someone.  So, where do I start?  I purchased my 1st record (YES, I said record) at 12 or 13, it was Foreigner 4 ,a very good rock album, I wanted to buy J. Geils Bands “Freeze Frame” but my mom wouldn’t let me get it because they a song called “piss on the wall”, so it was the first (thanks mom, I think if got Freeze Frame I would have taken a different path of music) A year later I wanted to get “Crazy Train” by Ozzy but they were out of “Blizzard of Oz”, so I got “Diary of a Madman”, Ozzy’s 2nd album, and my love for heavy metal was born! I’ll never forget the day I saw Dio for the 1st time, I was at my best friend’s house (Tim Hale) and we were just hanging out and I heard some song from the other room, when I walked in, the video “Rainbow in the dark” was playing on MTV and just about over, I was MESMORIZED, the guitars, the keyboards, and of course …the voice. I asked Tim “who is this?” And I was still far away from the TV and the credits for the video came up and I saw like Ronald something DIO (I pronounced it DIE O) and I looked at the album title and said to Tim “Is Holy River is the name of the album by this DYE-O guy?”. And Tim was like “I think its Holy Diver” and I had to get it ASAP. Soon thereafter the nickname “Joe Dio” was given to me.

     All throughout High School I was called that, amongst other things, but in a strange way it gave me an identity, I was a DIO/OZZY fanatic, although I looked more like Ozzy with the hair, it was always “Joe Dio!!!!!!!!!” and the “horns” that were thrown my way by passing friends in the hallways. Some people may say Dio was a tad corny with his lyrics about dragons and wizards and rainbows, but look at the FILMS today, with “Harry Potter”, “Lord of the Rings” and stuff like that, it seems pretty relevant even today. Dio didn’t just sing about mythical creatures, it was his way of telling tales of woe, battling what life deals to you and historical moments. My best friends Ernie Mathews, Cliff Strecker and I would sit around and try to decipher what Dio songs lyrics meant, what’s the best solos, rip each other if we got lyrics wrong and played “air band” together, (the original “rock band” game I guess, except we were mongoloids and used brooms and utensils).  I will not bore you with song after song that I love, but one song of his I have used for inspiration from the age of 16 to the present day, its one of his more “poppy tunes” from the movie “Vision Quest” called “Hungry for heaven”. It’s a cornballish type of “go out and get what you want in life” kind of number, but it was SO huge to me, kept me focused on the things I wanted to achieve. Today, when I hear it, the motivation it lends to me to progress in life, is still there and is immeasurable. I started to discover earlier Dio stuff material (Elf, Rainbow, and Black Sabbath) and was gutted with love for the music he put out and became a fan of his older stuff too. To this day “Heaven and Hell” by Black Sabbath is my favorite song of all time. It epitomized the “Dio” essence…dark, heavy riffs, amazing lyrics filled with cryptic meanings and messages, mixed in with angelic sounds of plucking guitar strings at the end, and of course, throughout the whole piece, his pulverizing, bomb spraying, hypnotic voice. Regrettably I only saw him twice in concert, I just have never been a big concert goer, but I wanted to see him with “Heaven and Hell” doing all the DIO/SABBATH songs, but I guess I just put it off and now ill never be able to see him again. His death was probably most upsetting because I never took the time and opportunity to see him as much as I should have and now I truly am regretting it. If anything, this taught me that you shouldn’t put off things, whether it’s seeing family, friends, and a beautiful view of the Grand Canyon or your favorite singer in concert. I always used to goof on people that would cry at the death of a celebrity, as much as any death is a loss and sad (except for the person who invented “auto tuning”) but I giggled at people crying over them, and thought, “You don’t even know the person, how could you really cry?” For the 1st time I think I understand, although I wasn’t crying like a starving baby, I was genuinely upset and had watery eyes when I heard his songs or people on the radio mentioning his passing all throughout the day. When someone inadvertently, affects your life in a positive way, especially during your adolescence years and beyond, it stays with you forever. So I would like to thank Ronnie James Dio, for being a constant in my life through his music, his voice and his passion for life. Giving me years of great memories through fun times and low ones.   |
YOU ROCK, love you man.    RJD 1942-2010

 Joe Conte

A peachy Christmas with family

(This was Written dec 07 and i just found it and thought it was worthy of putting on my blogerthingy)

Well another Christmas has come and gone and I have to say it was not a bad day. Spending some time with my family who I get to see on a ( decent ) regular basis wasn’t bad. Being a comic Instead of just ranting about shit and burping out negativity as I usually do, It was a fun few hours doing the exchanging gifts thing, ( 3 gifts…count em,,3) and just hanging around my brothers BEAUTIFUL fucking house.( I rent the basement of my dads house, another story for another day). We chuckled at each others shortcomings and never acknowledged our positive traits.My sister is a nervous wreck like most of our older generation kin and she hasnt realized how bad she is, my mother is a filter free, self abosrbed, interrupter of conversations, my dad is a 1/2 deaf ginuea who cant seem to get over  the past about his and my mothers relationship ( divorced 23 yrs ago), my brother who is an obsessed maniac about most things and has NO IDEA he is crazy like the rest of us, and finally me the financial black sheep of the family who everyone wants around so I can “break the ice “with my horrid sense of humor. THAT is whats Christmas is all about, getting together with family, ripping into each other, and knowing that we do love each other, faults and all. Considering my parents were HORRIBLE communicationists   ( if that’s a word) I think me and my sibs are doing ok,and I think having that self awareness is a trait that we all need to have  (that I have way too much of). So if you spent a little time with your family and wondered, “what the fuck am I doing here?”  Mission accomplished, now go spend new years with some friends who really dont give a fuck about you unless things are rosey and peachy in their own lives, that’s good old fashioned fake fun, and we love every minute of it.

Kathy Griffen

Talented,relevant,insightful,under exposed and funny. All words NOT used to describe Kathy Griffen. Now before I go sounding like some bitter comic blasting someone famous for reasons mainly driven by jealousy, I’ll lie and say NOT ME.   Now, her being a stand up comic I will always give slack because I love and respect comics for what we do, but she is what I feel is part of the vanilla-faced meltdown of stand up comedy in America today. Besides the over exposure of comics who fit the “mold” of reality tv ( last comic standing) etc or just the mundane stand up specials that feature comics who apparently are being pushed to be sitcom or movie stars because of a “certain look” or stereotype they are looking to vomit onto network television.

Back to ol’ construction face,I don’t know what type of comedy KG does (this lazy ass country is obsessed with shortening and abbreviating every fucking thing we can get our lazy paws on, so I’ll join the “poison the kool aid” party and abbreviate her stupid name also).  It’s so horrendous mainly because it’s that lame “I’ll make fun of hollywood and drop names like a homeless person dropping bars of soap and job applications” type of comedy. People who want to hear about J-Lo and Brooke Shields ar e not people who enjoy true stand up, touching on current events as a comic is one thing, but the constant barrage of stories and “amusing anecdotes” about them is sickening.

What about the Show on Bravo, The “D” list or whatever its called, am I being melodramatic or is that show on 24 hours a day? If Richard Pryor was on that much people would be like “get that talented funny mutha fukka off the air!!

Who is watching and supporting this show you may ask? I don’t know anyone who enjoys her boring red carpet stories and her fake self deprecating “I’m not a real actress” bullshit. Let’s see, I gather a lot of gay fellas watch her show(s) ( I don’t know how many she has anymore). She always seems to be in the vicinity of a few dick grabbers so I assume gays enjoy her stuff. Maybe they like her because of the “Cher” connection.  Lets face it, Kathy is looking more like Rocky Dennis from the movie “Mask” everyday and we all know who played his drunken, slutty, biker wanna be mom, CHER!  I always thought of gay men as guys with good taste and cleanliness, and I still believe that, even though gay men in america have single handedly kept Madonna relevant and in business for the last 15 years and made Barbara Streisand concert tickets an obscene $1000 a ticket.  Who else may enjoy it, women? I don’t know for sure, but if it wasn’t for women and gay men there would be no boy bands besides “The Monkeys” in the history of music. So what is her appeal? Is it the fact that so many comics today try to be “shocking” and dirty ( which i have no problem with) and since most of middle Americans are hypocrites who around the water cooler or at lunchtime will spew off horrible insensitive jokes and laugh, but when a comic does it he is performing in “bad taste ” or for shock value and are appalled? Who knows, I think the combination of the pussification of our country and the boatload of new comics trying to out-shock each other (being influenced by amazing comics who are clever and filthy) can be a reason.  Whatever the reason, people like KG have given the art of stand up a boring bland name dropping kinda name.  Let’s hope KG and garbage bag talent like Tila Teqila end up doing Geico commercials for cocaine and shaking an empty can of Dole’s Pineapple Chunks feverishly for spare change in Central Park while singing old Foghat tunes. KG will be popular until Americans get sick of this tabloid obsessed media driven horseshit like TMZ.  (that’s for another blog) So let’s take a stand against boring celebrity driven humorless stand up comedy and get back to the likes of LATE GREAT LEGEND GEORGE CARLIN. 1937-2008 let’s never forget icons like him, Christ do we need guys like him now more than ever.

With much love
Joe  Conte

The end of myspace (Tila Tequila)

Ok I said i would never do this again, but I was asked to do it for a website so I figured I would put some on my own page since no one will see it on that website. Call me a hypocrite, whoopdi do, sue me.

Just from the title alone one might think this is some rant from a guy who has been spammed once too often, by “models who want to meet and actually hang out with me,” technical problems or just sick of the myspace crap that goes on. Not at all, I don’t mind myspace even with the 10 billion bands from other planets who want to be my friend and want me to “listen to this.” Being a comic, I use the myspace thing to promote myself also and realize its power. Here is my issue..TILA TEQUILA? Someone please explain to me who this praying-mantis-in-a-bikini is and WHY does she have a show? From what I gather she is a model who has the most friends on myspace, and that warrants getting a TV show? I may be partial to artists being a comic myself, so when I see bands, comics and writers reaping the benefits of myspace I love it, but TILA TEQUILA? Why do we need another “hard working” model on television spewing simplicity by the gallons onto the airwaves by having a reality based show about girls and guys fighting over some “6” who has nothing interesting to say while the whole set is crying during the duration of the show? I don’t know, I just know a bunch of great talents out there who deserve to have some sort of shot at a television show. I’m not even talking about me,TRUST ME on that, I wold never in a million years bring up the subject of doing a show about myself. But back to the bisexual lemur, if having a zillion friends on myspace can get you a reality dating show on MTV, lets all just friend request everyone on Tila’s page and maybe we can have a show that rivals hers on the Douchebag network. The reason all these contestants on these shows walk around with hardly any clothes on is because NO ONE WOULD WATCH OR CARE OTHERWISE. So lets think of a name of our new show, how about the Joe Conte Show? A reality dating show where a group of girls who look like the chicks from 90210 going through menopause have to fight, do stupid tasks and answer silly Joe Conte trivia. Like… how much does Joe spend on massage parlors weekly? How many times in a month has Joe fucked things up with a girl because he thinks she doesn’t really like him, and is just trying to sell him a timeshare? And why doesn’t Joe get circumcised as an adult to help raise his self esteem a notch? I think THAT would be a great show, some honesty, real life questions and a smidge of humor. I say lets do it. So I figure this much, if TILA WHATEVER THE FUCK DRINK SHE PASSED OUT FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE can put the executives at MTV under some voodoo spell and convince them to do her show, then let’s either do my show,or redo Tila’s by having her on the Discovery Channel getting chased through the Serengeti by a group of molested-as-chlidren game show contestants with appetites for an untalented, gamey myspace whore.