Comics React to Otto Petersen’s Death [VIDEO]
Comedy lost another icon this morning. Otto Peterson, best known as “Otto and George,” passed away. As of now there’s no reason given for his death, but he did fall ill with Bacterial Meningitis last month. He was placed in a coma for over a week. Otto’s act as an adult ventriloquist limited his audience from the mass appeal, but those who saw him knew how funny he was. You may have seen his appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.
I never had the chance to work with Otto, but I knew how funny he was from those who saw him, and how respected he was by those who worked with him.
Below are some interviews I conducted with other comics who shared their memories of Otto Petersen:
Suzy Yengo, owner of the Legendary Catch A Rising Star Comedy clubs
“To me…crossing over the mountain of political correctness and celebrating irreverence..being true to his art makes the artist…made me cry laughing every damn time. We hosted Otto and & George many times at Catch a Rising Star and i would pay to see him at other clubs. He made me proud to be an attorney and proud to be in the comedy industry.”
Comedian Jimmy ‘Roundboy” Graham who will be performing the next Sarcasm Comedy Night at Tavern On The Lake on Friday May 16th, not only worked with Otto but booked him as well.
“Otto was a gem…a quiet sweet man with a personality flaw he turned into a living, while not breathing, entity…his love of classic comedy, vaudeville and the Stooges really didn’t transcend into his act but he was a true fan and student of the craft…his alter ego, George, was a mix of all the people in Otto’s life…good and bad…his idol was the late George Carlin, who he met backstage after one if his sets…he told me how star struck he was an how it blew it…stumbling over words like a buffoon…only to walk to his dressing room with George hammering Otto about what a jackass he was…I had Otto booked the weekend of Sandy…I called and asked if he wanted to cancel…he adamantly refused and said, “this better be as big a storm as they say it is to interfere with my show…I better see hot dog vendors, terriers and Kansas virgins swirling around the Empire State building or I’m gonna be pissed!!”"
Comedy Tornado Paul Venier had this to say about Otto Petersen:
Otto was a one of kind comedian…a comedian’s comedian, if you will. No one ever made me laugh harder and whenever I was off and he was performing in the area, I would make it a point to go see him. He never disappointed. Some of my favorite lines were, and there was many, (don’t forget these were coming out of George’s mouth and talking to Otto…lol) “Put the microphone between us and get a f***ing illusion going” or “People, look at the shape of his head and forgive him!” The old days when he still lived at home I would call his house, ask for him and whoever would answer the phone would say, ‘They’re not home’…lol. Otto was a sweet person who let everything out through his dummy, George. I never saw such a perfect match before on stage of material, delivery and stage personna all at once. George had the perfect face for the things he would say. Otto wasn’t a great ventriloquist. his lips moved but it didn’t matter because everyone was watching George, that’s how perfect he was.
My personal favorite story was one night George was insulting this drunk couple sitting up front and the girls’ boyfriend got so pissed that he went up on stage and stabbed George in the chest with a fork…thank God he thought the dummy was real and that he didn’t stab Otto…lol.
Emmy Award winning comedian and co-host of VH1’s “That Metal Show” and SNY’s “Beer Money” Don Jamieson remembers Otto with a very telling quote:
“I can count on one hand the comics who made me laugh EVERY time I saw them. Otto was one of them. Many great memories of working with and hanging with him. I will miss him.”
Rest in Peace Otto and thanks for the funny!