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COMEDY SHOW!

I’m coming to the Doylestown Comedy Cabaret Saturday September 23! Click Here For Tix!  

 

throwdown thursBIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN

If you are a music lover and you haven't been listening to BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN with Spins Nitely, then check it out!

Every THURSDAY at 8 PM. Listen live at http://wildfireradio.com/big-daddy-graham. By the way, all you have to do is click on that wildfire blue line and the most current show will AUTOMATICALLY begin to play,  Just give it a moment

 

This week on BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN?

Bill Matz's Green Day Salute (part 2)

Check out last week’s Bill Matz's Green Day Salute pt 1
Don’t miss!

avagrahamhoursm

 

Check out Ava's podcast THE AVA GRAHAM HOUR on Wildfire Radio live every Thursday at 5:30 PM.  It's really funny and of course being a podcast you can listen to it anytime you want.  Just click here to check it out

 

 

TRIVIA AND QUIZZO...

TUESDAY ~ PJs in Maple Shade at 7 PM

THURSDAY ~ Red Star Craft House in Exton PA at 8 PM

EVERY Eagles game at Blue Bell PJ Whelihans

AVA QUIZZO

My daughter Ava is running a Quizzo nite at CHICKIE & PETE'S in Drexel Hill every Tuesday at 7 PM! Plus every Wednesday night at 8PM at PJ WHELIHANS in Haddonfield. Don't forget Thursday night at 7pm at CHICKIE & PETE'S in South Philly! That's a busy schedule!

Big Daddy Graham-Marc Farzetta & Joe Conklin taking a stab at Sinatra's "Summer Wind!" Click Here


Because of all the fuss that Joel Embiid and Carson Wentz have stirred up in Philly,
 I thought we would take a look at every city and see just who has had

embiid-wentz

We are going to go in alphabetical order.  We are not looking for the greatest of that franchise, but in that particular state or city.
 

ARIZONA

DIAMONDBACKS... Wade Miley
CARDINALS... Anquan Boldin
SUNS... Walter Davis (Winner!)
COYOTES... Max Domi

ATLANTA

BRAVES... Earl Williams
FALCONS...  Tommy Nobis (Winner!)
HAWKS... John Drew
THRASHERS... Dany Heatley 
 

ANAHEIM

DUCKS... Bobby Ryan (Winner!)

BALTIMORE

ORIOLES... Eddie Murray
RAVENS... Jamal Lewis (Winner!)
COLTS... Curtis Dickey
BULLETS... Earl Monroe

BOSTON

RED SOX... Ted Williams (Winner!)
BRAVES... Sam Jethroe
PATRIOTS... Curtis Martin
CELTICS... Bill Russell
BRUINS... Joe Juneau
 

BROOKLYN

DODGERS~MLB... Jackie Robinson (Winner!)
DODGERS~NFL... Glen Dodds
NETS... Bojan Bogdanovic

CALGARY

FLAMES... Joe Nieuwendyk
(Winner... obviously)

CAROLINA

PANTHERS... Cam Newton (Winner!)
HURRICANES... Jeff Skinner
 

CHARLOTTE 

HORNETS & BOBCATS combined...
Alonzo Mourning (Winner!~duh)
 

CHICAGO

CUBS... King Cole
WHITE SOX... Jose Abreau
BEARS... Gayle Sayers
CARDINALS... Ollie Matson
BULLS... Michael Jordan (Winner!)
BLACKHAWKS... Ed Belfour
 

BUFFALO

BILLS... Cookie Gilchrist
BRAVES... Elmore Smith
SABRES... Danny Gare (Winner!)
 

CINCINNATI

REDS... Frank Robinson
BENGALS... Ickey Woods
ROYALS... Oscar Robertson (Winner!)
 

CLEVELAND

INDIANS... Shoeless Joe Jackson (Winner!)
BROWNS... Joe Thomas
CAVS... Ron Harper
 

COLORADO

ROCKIES... Trevor Story
BRONCOS (DENVER)... Clinton Portis
NUGGETS(DENVER)...David Thompson (winner!)
AVALANCHE... Paul Statny
 

COLUMBUS

BLUE JACKETS... Steve Mason

DALLAS

RANGERS... Yu Darvish
COWBOYS... Ezekiel Elliot (winner!)
MAVERICKS... Jay Vincent
STARS... Jussi Jokinen
 

DETROIT

TIGERS... Mark Fidrych (winner!)
LIONS... Billy Simms
PISTONS... Grant Hill
RED WINGS... Terry Sawchuk
 

EDMONTON

OILERS... Wayne Gretsky (winner!)

FLORIDA

PANTHERS... Aaron Ekbald (winner!)
 

GOLDEN STATE

WARRIORS... Mitch Richmond (winner!)

GREEN BAY

PACKERS... Eddie Lacy (winner!)

HOUSTON

ASTROS... Jeff Bagwell
OILERS... Earl Campbell
TEXANS...Steve Slaton
ROCKETS... Akeem  Olajuwon (winner!)
 

INDIANA

PACERS... Clark Kellogg
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS... Ederrigin James

JACKSONVILLE

JAGUARS... Fred Taylor

KANSAS CITY

ROYALS... Kevin Seitzer   (winner!)
CHIEFS... Marcus Peters
KINGS... Phil Ford

LA

DODGERS... MIke PIazza
ANGELS... MIke Trout
RAMS... Eric Dickerson
RAIDERS... Marcus Allen
LAKERS... Magic Johnson (Winner!)
CLIPPERS... Blake Griffin
KINGS... Larry Murphy
 

MEMPHIS

GRIZZLIES... Pao Gasol

MIAMI

MARLINS... Jose Fernandez
DOLPHINS... Dan Marino
HEAT...  Dwayne Wade

 

MILWAUKEE

BRAVES... Rico Carty
BREWERS... Ryan Braun
BUCKS... Lew Alcindor (winner!)

 

MINNESOTA

TWINS... Tony Oliva
VIKINGS... Randy Moss
LAKERS... Elgin Baylor (Winner!)
TIMBERWOLVES... Karl Anthony Townes
NORTH STARS Neal Broten
WILD... Marian Gaborik

 

MONTREAL

EXPOS... Steve Rodgers
CANADIANS... Ken Dryden (Winner!)

 

 

 

 

 


libertybellbank-logoHey! If you need any mortgage work done whatsoever
get hold of my main man Ken Miller at
856-830-1131 or 609-238-3293
kmiller@libertybellbank.com
NMLS #152270

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RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 9/2

Here's my latest article for the Sea Isle Times...

HIGHLIGHTS OF SUMMER 2017

A tad rainy, a bit windy, but another great summer for the books.  Here’s what stood out for me.

GEORGIE LIGHT... Georgie has been a Sea Isle bartending fixture for close to forty years.  The MBS and West Catholic alum retired a couple summers ago.  Besides making a mean drink, Georgie enjoyed a second career as a crooner during the Juliano Brothers afternoon jam sessions at the Springfield.  Your summer vacation was not complete without hearing Georgie’s legendary take on Garth Brook’s  “Friends In Low Places.”  (Recently, when Brooks was in town performing at the Wells Fargo, fans repeatedly yelled out “Do the Georgie Light song!”)
Well, Georgie was out of circulation recently with pulmonary hypertension when Greg Juliano announced from onstage that they had a special guest in the audience that afternoon and then the band broke into “Friends.”  My first thought was “no, for real?” and singing right from his barstool was Georgie.  He sang it like there was no tomorrow and when he was through there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.  Welcome back!

SIXERS/EAGLES... Because I work at 94WIP, guys usually approach me with a sports question to break the conversation ice when I’m out and about in town.  Over the years those questions (with the exceptions of those five straight glorious postseason Phillies seasons), have 95% of the time been Eagles related.  The other sports are not even close.

But until the first pre-season game against the Packers, virtually every query was Sixer related and that was the first time that ever happened.  So Sea Isle is definitely ready for the Sixers in a big, big way.

TRUMP... I’m actually proud (not that I would pretend to speak for the whole city) of how Sea Isle handled this situation.  In all my life I had never seen an election lead to so many heated arguments.  As we saw, as the summer heated up the streets of America worsened nationally.  But although I was at many parties and bars and was present at many such arguments, I never saw a fist go flying or anybody have to be separated.    I think, in the end, people respected the beauty of this great island and calmed down.

GAME OF THRONES... In all my summers writing for this magazine I never saw a TV show shut down a town for an hour like “Game of Thrones” did every Sunday night at nine.   In fact, I think it would be so cool if the show was shown on the big screen at Exhibition Park.  And who here would not like one of Daenery’s dragons to fly over the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway traffic and tolls on Sundays?

big daddy dinerAUDRA MCLAUGHLIN... Here’s a cool small world story.  Audra once sang at a “Sea’s Isle’s Got Talent” competition that I was a judge at.    The Glenolden native has a beautiful, amazing voice with a confident style and I gave her very high marks.

A couple years go by and I get a phone call from a friend of mine telling me to watch “The Voice” because his cousin is on the show.  I’m watching for a minute and it’s driving me nuts.  “I know this girl,” I keep saying to myself.

And it’s Audra.  Working and belting it out with Blake Shelton.  How cool is that?  You may have seen her sing the anthem before Eagles and Phillies games and she performed before the recent Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert in Philly.

And this summer she came back to Sea Isle and headlined her own excellent show at the bandshell.  Welcome back, thanks for making us proud. 

Making the night even more enjoyable was Jess Zimmerman, a terrific county singer from the King of Prussia area. 

CHRISTMAS IN JULY... I have never received more compliments over any piece I have ever written for this paper than when I saluted my buddy Rick Steffa who passed a few summers ago.  And these comments were coming from readers who had never even met this great man. 

Rick loved “Christmas in July” like no one I had ever met.  His influence was so strong that our street followed his lead and for one weekend every summer our street looked liked one of those classic South Philly streets where the holiday lights swung from one side of the street to the other.

Out of respect, when Rick passed,  the tradition came to a halt, but I thrilled to announce that the twenty-something youngheads of our street have brought it back and not a minute too soon.  Rick is beaming from up above.    Merry Christmas to all!

CELEBRITIES... Renowned chef George Perrier and virtually every Big 5 coach were seen dining at Doc Magrogans.  Vince Papale was spotted at the Lobster Loft.  Jason Kelce of the Eagles was seen at Kixx and many other spots around town.  OD Ralph waited in line behind Dustin “Screech” Diamond from  “Saved By The Bell” who was buying a shorti hoagie.  

But you hung with many bigshots if you played trivia with me on Monday nights at the Pour House.  Every week I would grab someone from the crowd and pretend they were someone famous and acknowledge him to the crowd and the crowd would erupt with applause.    Joe Conklin’s brother-in-law John was in there one night and I introduced him as Kevin Millwood who once pitched a no hitter for the Phils.  John spent the next half hour signing autographs and posing for IPhone photo’s and I never had the heart to let the crowd know the whole thing was a ruse. 

“HUNKY”... A couple years ago one of the summer highlights was the “Woman in The Black Bikini” that me and the rest of my beach men salivated over.  She was a thirtyish woman that spent a week vacationing on our beach that we never saw again.  (Not that we ever stopped hoping for her return.)

Well, a group of college dudes rented on our street this summer and I must admit one of them was built like “The Rock.”   All I can say is that if you think guys have the market cornered on eyeing out girls, I would not be able to print nine-tenths of the comments that I overheard from the women and girls on the beach over this muscle bound lout.  He made the rest of us weekend warriors look pathetic and even 84 year old Patsy got in the swing of things by nicknaming him “Hunky.”  The women insisted that I wouldn’t give them equal time in this paper, so here he is.  “Hunky?”   Drop dead!

TWINS... On August 9th, my daughter Keely gave birth to two beautiful babies, Jameson and Lucy.  With the last name Boyle they’ll have no problem fitting in on this island.  Jameson (who I am already calling “Whiskey”) clocks in at one minute older and 9 ounces heavier to Lucy’s six pounds.  My daughter’s husband Matt couldn’t be more proud as are both families and Jimmy Bennett has already given the twins LaCosta VIP cards.

See you next summer!

RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 8/4

Here's my latest article for the Sea Isle Times...

LOVE IS IN THE AIR!

bdg armen pink caddy smallPeople come to Sea Isle for many reasons.  The glorious smell of suntan lotion on the beach.  Eating at one of our many fine restaurants.  Playing ball.  Fishing.  Belting out “Sweet Caroline” for the 167, 456 time.  (And that’s just this summer.)

But let’s be honest here.  All those events are a distant second to the real reason you start coming down here when you’re single.  It’s for that special chance that you might be leaning against the back wall of your favorite bar when he or she walks in and you get to turn to your friend and exclaim “Who the heck is that?”

Some of us may be looking for true love.  Some may be simply looking to hook up.  (Did you know that 40% of one night stands occur during vacation?  And the stats haven’t even come in yet from the Ocean Drive and Kix yet) 

Love (and uh, lust) drives the city.  It always has and always will.  While my wife and I didn’t meet here, we did kiss here for the first time on the 66th Street beach.  And now we’ve been married 35 years.  31 of them very happy.  (I’ll pay the price for that joke later)  So when my man Irish Kevin, suggested this column topic, I ran with it.

Couples who met in Sea Isle who are still married today:

JOE AND DENISE WEACHTER... Joe, 94WIP’s Morning Show producer, had been renting houses on Central for years with his buddies and now was 30 years old and still single.  (Maybe it was the Johnny Unitas crewcut?)

Joe and his boys were jamming to Secret Service’s rendition of The Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand” when Joe spotted Denise.  She and her friends had rented the month of August and it was her first day down when their eyes met. 

Now for any of you who have ever have had tried to call in to the Morning Show only to have Producer Joe slam the phone on you screaming “Call back when you have something worthwhile to say, moron!”, you might find this next part hard to believe.  Joe spotted the beautiful Denise and immediately swept in and asked her to dance.  They didn’t kiss that night, but they did hug and get ready, Joe said to her “hugs are underrated.”  “Hugs are underated!”  Sounds like the title of a romance novel or a Jason Mraz song.

The he immediately asked her out for the following weekend where he showed up at Denise’s rental with flowers!  Like a prom date!  Then it was on to a Deauville dinner and surprise, back to the OD.  Who knew that Joe was a sentimental softie?

Today, Joe and Denise have been married for 16 years, with two great kids, Zach and Grace, and guess who their wedding band was?  Secret Service.  Where it was believed Dom shouted out to the wedding party. “put your hands in the air like you just don’t care!”

JOANIE AND MIKE DONOHUE... They say that hunger is good for you.  Motivates you.  Hunger makes you work harder.  But sometimes it just means that you haven’t eaten and you’re hungry.  Such was the case when Mike strolled into the old Vince’s Restaurant on JFK to get a meatball sandwhich and fries when the waitress Joanie put down his water and Mike looked up at and was hit with Joanie’s love thunderbolt.  Joanie was only 18 at the time and Mike (who was renting the cottage next to Vince’s) was 23, so it took a couple years, but eventually Mike got up the nerve to ask her out.  To a wedding no less.   Now they have been married years for 23 years with two talented kids, Sean and Lauren.  BTW, that first meeting at Vince’s?  Mike left a $20 tip on a $11 tab.  So you see, overtipping does pay off.

JOE AND LISA MAGARITY... I know it’s a common expression for folks to say that when they first met it was “like fireworks going off.”  That expression is also used to . . uh . . . describe . . . .uh . . . .the feeling . . . ah shoot, I think you know where I’m going with that. 

But in the case of Lisa and Joe?  When they first met, the 1971 Sea Isle fireworks were literally going off when they kissed for the first time on a mutual friends deck.  Now that’s romantic and dramatic!  41years, 4 kids, 7 grandkids later, and they have kissed during every July 4th firework celebration since.  Who says Roman Candles are dangerous?

PETE AND RITA DONATA... When I decided I was going to write this article, I simply posted on my Twitter account that I was looking for couples who first met in Sea Isle who were still married today.  I got all sorts of interesting responses, but this one takes the cake.  Pete meets Rita at the Pentagon where they really hit it off and danced all night.  Rita pulls a switcheroo and asks if Pete would like to meet up in Philly for a date sometime.  Pete says he would love to, but that he was going to prison the next day.  Prison! The next day.  Some sort of tax issue (As in not paying them).  Ten months later he gets out and immediately starts searching for Rita and guess where he finds her?  The Pentagon.  They elope three weeks later and are still married today 42 years later with fifteen grandchildren, none of who have served time in the slammer.

CAITLYN AND NICK D’AMICO... Let’s interject some youth here with a couple who just got married in November.  Caitlyn, a brilliant artist by the way, was meeting some girlfriends at Excursion Park for the “Beatlemania” show.  Then the unexpected happened.  A mutual friend by the name of Tim Koons, showed up with his buddy Nick in tow.   Now I’m convinced that Tim (who it seems like the entire town knows) will someday either be the President of the United States or in jail.  Maybe both.  They had just returned from a drunken round of mini-golf and with the concert over Nick jumped onstage and serenaded them all (but particularly Cait, who he had sized up immediately) with what was surely was the worst rendition of “Rocky Raccoon” of all time.

They proceeded on to the Koons Castle (which is right next door to me) where the legendary matchmaker Paul Koons, worked his magic and bingo.   Love was in the air!  (By the way, in typical macho style, Nick claims they kissed that very first night, and Cait remembers her saying “not to you get me a cheesesteak from Welshies.”)

When Nick decided to propose, he went old school and asked Cait’s parents, Gail and Angelo, first.  After Angelo put Nick through a grueling six hour session going over his financial background (And charged Nick for the accountants), permission was granted and today?  Nick and Caitlyn have been married  . . uh . . all of nine months.

So screw Las Vegas as the wedding capitol of the world.  It’s right here.  The Coolest Chapel in the USA, Sea Isle!
 

Here's my latest article for the 7 Mile Times...

BEACH VIOLATIONS

FEEDING SEAGULLS... This just might ne the number violation that any human could possibly commit on the beach.  It might even deserve life in prison.  Not for a little kid who does it.  Maybe that only justifies ten to twenty years with five off for good behavior.

But a grownup that does it or a parent who idly sits by while his little demon child Damien is hurling Cheez-its up in the air?  Force them to perform a Walk of Shame down 96th St.

447PMMARCH 5TH, 2015LAME UMBRELLA PEOPLE... This problem really exploded when the world went sunscreen mad.  Sunscrean, sunscreen, sunscreen.  How did the world ever survive this long without it?   All day long I hear Mothers screaming at their kids “Do you have sunscreen on?!”  I swear Moms lather it on when they’re putting their children to bed.

Then it’s the “30 SPF.”  50 SPF.”  “2000 SPF.”  It never ends.  Am I the only one who believes this whole “# SPF” thing is nothing but a marketing ploy to get you to buy more expensive sunscreen? 

Then there’s the expiration date.  Don’t forget to check that.  What is sunscreen, milk?  Look, all you need to know about sunscreen is this.  Are you Italian or are you Irish?  End of story.

When beachgoers figured they had the sunscreen process down, they then moved on to beach umbrellas.  God forbid, if a sliver of sun would sneak through an umbrella and you didn’t have the proper sunscreen on.  That’s instant death!

Beach umbrellas have existed long before any of us were born.  But nothing like today.  Everyone brings one down now, yet very few folks know how to plant them in the sand where they won’t lift it right out of the sand with the slightest of breeze and pierce your eye socket.  Geez, someone is going to die someday or get mistaken for a giant fruity cocktail.  Enough!

BLACK SOCKS... his was a violation for as long as I can remember, but frankly I’m a little confused about it now.  There was a time where if you dagwalked through my Southwest Philly neighborhood wearing shorts and sneaks with black socks, the oldhead in my neighborhood would just pummel you.

But then the UNLV basketball program came along and wearing black socks with sneaks became cool and fashionable.  To me, any man who wears black socks to the beach should be forced to sit through a Phils doubleheader, but I’m not as sure as I used to be on whether this is a violation or not.  But you sure as humidity in August re never going to catch me wearing them.

SURF FISHERMEN... I like watching dudes fish on the beach.  I love it when they actually catch a decent size sand shark and a crowd will gather around them.  It’s cool.  Unless they are just small regular shark sand not sand sharks at all.  What the heck would I know?  I’m not Quint.

But it seems like recently there are more and more anglers who don’t what they’re doing with where they are leaving their unattended lines and you have to be really careful when you’re strolling down the beach.  So get your act together.

CIGARS... Is it just me or do you swear that funky, horrible cigar smoke smell is even more foul on the beach then it is in closed quarters?  How can that be?

I swear there are many times when I’m having a perfectly nice, beautiful beach day when that skanky smell invades my nose and when I try to figure out where it’s coming from, it’s from a half a block away and not the next beach chair over.

METAL DETECTOR GUY... I’m not sure what to make of this dude anymore either.  (And for the record, it’s always a man.  I’ve never seen a woman do this) You know who I’m talking about.  He’s been patrolling the beaches looking for buried treasure for decades now.  What’s he make on a good day?  $1.38?  I know, supposedly the real goal is to discover some diamond that Elizabeth Taylor lost back in the fifties, but that’s like never happening.

They’ve gotten more sophisticated over the years.  Many of them now wear this ridiculous headset with giant antenna’s sticking out of their ears.  I can’t determine if they’re looking for coins or an alien from “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.”

I have a warped friend who brings Canadian coins and bobby pins to the beach and when he see’s one of these “explorers” heading our way he scatters them in the sand and then sits back and watches the dude have a heart attack.  Cruel, my buddy is.  (But it is good for a laugh)
But my mind is slowly turning on these scavenger hunters.  I actually think I would miss them if they totally disappeared.  They’re always good for a laugh.  Maybe it’s even in my future.  Keep an eye out.

 “Hey, isn’t that?  No, it can’t be.  I swear that’s Big Daddy Graham.”

SHAKING SAND OUT OF YOUR BEACH BLANKET... At least I never have to worry about this one because I never bring a blanket or an extra large beach towel to the beach.  I’m a beach minimalist.  A chair, a towel draped around my shoulder to dry off with when I come out of the ocean, and whatever will fit in my backpack.  That’s it. 

So it’s particularly annoying when someone takes a blanket the size of Rhode Island and just lets loose with the shaking.  The next thing you know you look like you’ve starring in yet another remake of “The Mummy.”  Please, it only takes a moment.  Look before you shake.  Thanks.

If I missed any, tweet your violations to me @bigdaddygraham. 
 

Here's my latest article for the South Jersey Mag...

I’VE HAD SOME GREAT SHOWS TOO

The response that my April South Jersey Magazine article “The Joke’s On Me” received was off the charts.  I’m glad you enjoyed it.

It wasn’t that I had suddenly transformed into some brilliant Hunter S. Thompson.  No, the true reason that column generated the response that it did was that it was a tale about the WORST show I ever had and readers love that stuff. 

Dr DonnA terrific show will get some polite nods of faked interest.  Some may even stare down at their phone mid-story.  But if I begin with “Oh my God, I had the worst show of my life last night,” I will have undivided 100% attention.  That old saying “bad news travels fast” has never been more accurate than it is today with social media.

So you know what?   Here are five of my favorite South Jersey shows and, tough turkey, you’re just gonna have to read it. 

MANHATTAN TRANSFER... RESORTS... LATE EIGHTIES... I had certainly performed at Atlantic City casino’s before.  But they were part of the live Morning Zoo shows at Trump Plaza, that had a cast of thousands.  This was more like big time Vegas style show biz.  I came on and exited to music played by the Transfer’s band.  I had to perform twenty five minutes ON THE DOT.  A huge showroom with tables where you had to tip the maître d to get a good one.  Welcome to the big leagues.  It was so exciting.

DRIFTWOOD CLUB... VINELAND... MID-EIGHTIES... Because of the insane high ratings of the “Zoo”, my novelty songs, such as “Let’s Call In Sick”, were turning me into a tiny bit of an area household name.  This was one of the first gigs where I truly realized that.  I had never even been in Vineland before and I remember (living in Delaware County at the time), that it seemed like it took forever to get there.  When I arrived I couldn’t find a parking spot because the joint was so packed.  And I was the reason it was packed!  It was then I truly understood the power of radio and how far even a local station could reach.

Then a weird thing happened.  After the show, this body builder dude threw his beefy arm around me and exclaimed “great show, Big Daddy, let me show you how much I love the Morning Zoo!”  And on the four knuckles of one of his hands was “W-M-M-R.”  I didn’t know quite what to make of that.  Still don’t.

THE NESTOR BASEMENT... MT. LAUREL... 1998... I got an inquiry from a man by the name of Tony Nestor.  His wife, Jill, was too ill to leave the house and was a huge fan of mine.  Her birthday was coming up and he was having a party for her and could I drop by and perform a short show?   I could tell from the tone of Tony’s voice that his wife was very ill. 

He wanted to know how much it would cost and I said I couldn’t take money for such a thing, but I was already booked that date and I would not be able to get to his house before midnight.  “Fantastic” he replied.  Midnight seemed late, but when I arrived every neighbor within a ten mile radius was crammed into Tony’s basement.  It turned out to be a very emotional night.   They were really nice people and there were amazing chocolate chip cookies. 

Jill died before the year was out and I remember her whenever I drive near Mt. Laurel.  Tony used to send me Christmas cards but I haven’t had any contact with him for years now and I heard he moved out of the area.  I hope he realizes that his show meant as much to me as it did his wife.  Seriously, thanks for calling me, Tony.

MITCHELLS... PALMYRA... 1990... Mitchells was a joint that began as a local neighborhood bar that you would run into to buy a sixpack.  Somehow, Mitchell’s owner, Joe Donato, turned it into a terrific professional club that really packed them in for ten years.  Joe was a loud, funny, generous, classic character that everyone adored.

I had just finished the first Saturday show while the late show was  being seated.  Before the show started I noticed this elderly couple, who had been seated up front for the first show, were still in the same seats for the second.  This was a comedy club no-no.  Maybe today I could do a completely different hour on the spot, but I couldn’t then.  And no comic wants to go on stage and perform in front of the same customers within a couple hours of each other. Angrily, I confronted Joe and he screamed back at me “they’re my parents!”  I replied, “I don’t give a crap, move them!”

FLASHBACK WITH WILDGOOSE CHASEIn a flash we both had our hands around each other’s necks calling each other every name in the book.  This all took place in a tiny office next to the stage and the now seated audience could hear every curse.  Joe would start every show by going on stage and thanking everyone for coming and when he came around to telling everyone that “and of course my best buddy Big Daddy will be closing the show tonight,” the audience howled.  As did I.  Joe and I laughed at the encounter for the rest of his life which tragically ended way too soon for Joe at the age of 62 .  Before he passed and after the club had closed, I used to tell Joe about how many Jersey residents would mention on the air that they used to see me at Mitchells and he never seemed to believe me.  But they did and they still are.  What a great club and an even greater man Mitchells and Joe Donato was.

COMEDY CABARET... CHERRY HILL HYATT... 1992... The total opposite of Mitchells, the Cabaret was situated on the first floor right off this grandest of lobbies.  Another top club and I don’t think people realized that both Ray Romano and Kevin James both performed there before their sitcoms.

“Backstage” at the Cabaret was this huge kitchen that I used to steal this awesome bread and bottles of ketchup out of.  It had a freight elevator that the staff used for room service.  One Friday night, waiting to be introduced, the elevator door opened and out strolled Bob Newhart.  A comedy idol of mine since I was a young teenager.  I had every one of his comedy albums memorized.   (Did you know the first Gold Album ever was a Newhart LP?)

I just stood there too stunned to say anything.  The entire moment took seconds as he walked past me and was gobbled up by this entourage who escorted him to this ballroom where he was performing at some corporate function.  Now I have opened up for some heavy hitters like Ray Charles and Smokey Robinson.  Eighteen acts in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to be exact. 

But I was prepared for those nights.  This was different.   I didn’t even know Newhart was in the building.  But knowing that I was onstage at the Cabaret while he was on another stage in the same hotel at the same exact time psyched me up and I had the show of my life.

Well, there’s five shows.  I could write about dozens of other South Jersey shows.  I haven’t even touched upon any of the Two Funny Philly Guys shows that Joe Conklin and I have done at the Borgata and the Broadway Theatre in Pitman.

Let’s hope the next memorable show is one that you’re at!

********************

HEY! I'M LOOKING FOR ALBUM COVERS. I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE VINYL...


 


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Saw the Rolling Stones Exhibition at Industria down in the village and if you're a Stones fan, it's thorough and fun and worth it.  Check out the times it's cheapest to go.

There is this amazing talent in the New York area by the name of Rachelle Garniez.  She's an versatile singer who accompanies herself on piano, guitar, and, yes, accordion.  She's a gifted songwriter with a tremendous sense of humor.  She often performs at a really cool Village venue Pangea that seats maybe fifty that itself is worth checking out.  Go to these sites for more info: www.rachellegarniezcom.virb.com & www.pangeanyc.com

You can take an inexpensive tour  of RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL that's well worth it.

Check out MASH ARMY & NAVY on 8th Ave between 45 & 46th streets.  A blast from the past!

Folks are always asking me about piano bars in Manhattan.  There's two I would recommend and they couldn't be any bit different.  DON'T TELL MAMA is on 46th St between 8 & 9th Avenues.  It's a comfortable narrow long bar where you either sit at thee bar or at a table.  They have a singing piano player and every fourth song or so a member of the bar or serving staff will get up and sing a three song set.  And sometimes a member of the audience will get up at the mic and sing. And they have awesome food also. It's a really fun joint, but completely different from MARIE'S CRISIS CAFE which is at 59 Grove St in the Village.  (Make sure you have the address handy before you get in the cab.)  MARIE'S is a tiny hole in the wall basement club where there is a piano player but no professional singer.  YOU are the singer.  It's insane.  People (like my nutty wife) go there TO sing.  There's no microphone and literally 150 people or so will be singing at the top of their lungs to some Broadway tune  Which, by the way, IS ALL Marie's does.  They don't mix in pop tunes like MAMA does.  The two couldn't be any different from each other and any more fun if a piano bar is your bag.

A HOTEL TO STAY AT?   We always use some hotel site and often stay at one of these two hotels which I would both recommend.  THE BELVEDERE on West 48th St is clean with a nice lobby and it's very convenient to Broadway and many clubs and bars.  THE WARWICK is pricier, but still affordable when you go through Expedia.  It's at 54th & 6th and many famous folks (like the Beatles and Liz Taylor have stayed there.

As obvious as this sounds, you can spend a couple hours exploring Central Park and never get bored.

LEXINGTON CANDY SHOP on Lexington between 82 & 83rd St. has been opened since 1925 and is a don't miss trip.

THE METROPOLITAN ROOM on 22nd St is a very cool, classic NY cabaret room where we have seen many cool acts at a very affordable price.

BIG ONION WALKING TOURS are a lot of fun and reasonably priced.  I have taken many of them and they never disappoint.

54 BELOW on 54th St. is literally the basement of the famous Studio 54 disco. It's a terrific place to see anybody. Top notch club.

Finally made it to BIRDLAND for one of those CAST PARTY shows. What a great time and the sight lines are excellent.  Legendary jazz artists perform there and if you ever thought about seeing one of them at BIRDLAND, do it.

 

 

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