The time I got to open for Pat Cooper, who just died at 93
So sorry to hear about the passing of comedian Pat Cooper at the age of 93.
I found out about it when I saw a rare tweet from Artie Lange, which shows you how impactful Pat's passing is.
Many know him from Seinfeld or his many appearances on the Howard Stern show. Older people remember him describing his genuine Italian mother on the Jackie Gleason or Ed Sullivan shows. "4 feet 11, with a bun over here, knitting needle here, gold tooth here, beauty mark over here." Pat Cooper was a funny fixture in every Italian household.
My memories of Pat go from listening to his "Our Hero" album with my oldest friend Robbo Pisani whose family owned Christina's Pizzeria in Union City, to actually getting to open for him a few times once with Rob in the audience after we had dinner with him.
It was such a great night. The show was at the Broadway Theater in Pittman. Pat had invited me to dinner so I asked Rob to join me since we knew every word from his early albums. Pisani, who was then a Union City Fire captain says "What am I going to talk to Pat Cooper about?" I said "Don't talk, just listen" Pat did an hour of hysterical comedy at the table entertaining all who were in the restaurant.
Before the show, I told Pat what a huge fan I was of him growing up and what it would mean to me if he would give me his opinion after seeing me perform.
So there I am, on stage doing my act with Pat Cooper watching from the wings both nervous and psyched at the same time.
We took pictures after the show, which was also attended by another of my best friends, Al Alberti and his wife Debbie. When we said goodbye Pat told me what he thought of my act. "I thought you were great," he said. "But I can't hear a f***ing thing."
I got to open for Pat one more time at the Keswick Theater with Tammy Pascatelli and Dom Irrera also on the bill. As great as those comics were and they are, when Pat walked onto that stage, he took it to another level. I never saw anything like it.
Salute, Pat! Thanks for all the laughs and memories.
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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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