You’ve seen comedian and actor Mike Marino, New Jersey’s Bad Boy of Comedy, before, but not like this. Not now.
When I feature someone more than once, it’s because there’s got to be something new and different and great going on that attracts my attention.
New Jersey is the birthplace of so much talent! Whitney Houston, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Gloria Gaynor, Frank Sinatra, and an endless list more. It doesn’t really surprise me when a Jersey girl’s or boy’s career takes off. There’s something in the water, I think.
So you know Mike Marino is funny. But not just locally funny. One of his videos went viral on Facebook, and that pretty much took him over the top with almost 6 million views to date.
So how do you top yourself once you’ve achieved this kind of presidential success, if you will? Once you’ve headlined steady gigs at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles; have shows running up and down both coasts and via Vegas, and take your comedy act on tour on cruise ships, you must wonder what’s next.
Well, for Mike, let’s just say Hillary Clinton had something to do with him making headlines as of late. And when one of my talented friends in the entertainment business causes a rumble, well, I can’t help but pay attention.
Back in November Mike Marino made headlines after a performance at The Laugh Factory. After reading different versions of the story, I couldn’t help but feel that he was being subjected to a twenty-first century version of censorship a la Lenny Bruce. So what do I do? I ask him about it, point-blank.
“They had a Hillary Clinton look-a-like in the room, and we all made jokes towards her or about her and so on. It was funny as hell, but mine were mostly if I were in the White House,” explains Marino.
Ahhh… so the secret service is not actually after him. (At least not that we know of!)
Good thing, because I think if you go to a comedy show, the point is that you want to laugh, and you are taking a risk that some of the jokes may be at your own expense, especially if you are a public figure or friend of the comedian. It’s not ok with me when entertainers are subject to censorship. Freedom of expression is something that allows artists to grow and captivate audiences; it should never be subdued; especially if the purpose is to cause laughter.
So I’m glad we are able to set the record straight now.
Mike Marino is a little more generous than I am when it comes to people in the public eye being part of a comic’s routine and not finding it humorous.
“It all depends on who is doing it. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s just stupid,” he says.
It got me wondering, when someone criticizes his comedy, does he or would he alter his jokes as a result?
“I try to please the masses. It’s almost impossible. Someone will always hate what you do, even if they are the only one. I stick to what makes me laugh; and so far so good,” he shares with a smile.
Besides performing his belly-busting routine on stage, Mike Marino is spending time getting back to his roots. His career in entertainment actually started with acting, and also acting in commercials. In recent years, he has ventured back into what started it all for him – lights, camera, action!
Mike Marino has a role in the upcoming movie More Like Brothers as Dominic Olivieri, a pretty notorious mobster. It’s a 1930’s gangster movie set in the Camden, NJ, Philadelphia, and New York City areas. The screenplay is written by Ray Lombard, and is based upon a true story. Slated to direct the film is Brian Vernick. Casting is coming together, and so far we have actors Ronnie Marmo (General Hospital, West of Brooklyn), Vini Lopez (drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s band), and Joey Eye (Creed) joining Marino on screen.
Mike Marino jokes in his comic routine about how he’s always played the part of an Irish cop who gets whacked in the first 30 seconds of a movie, and more recently he’s even played a priest (Pizza With Bullets) - because he doesn't look like a stereotypical Italian. Since he is not a dark-haired, dark-eyed Italian, he’s been longing to play the role of a mob boss for quite some time!
“I finally get to kill someone!” he laughs. “I get to research a real person and do my best to walk, talk and be just like he was. My background is in theatre, so I will go deep inside myself to play this up right!”
When you are an actor, you are presented with many scripts and possible roles to play. I was curious as to why Marino selected this particular film to sign on to.
“I love mob films, and I love real-life stories. I look forward to being part of a cast and being on a set every day,” says Marino.
As we wrap up 2015, it’s hard to imagine what he aspires to have on his agenda next year.
Marino enthusiastically shares “I look forward to doing it all – non-stop performing and [acting in] as many films as I can!”
So get set to see more of him on stage and the big screen in the future!
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