The Joke Man

On stage: Jack­ie “The Joke Man” Mart­ling will be ap­pear­ing in The Razz Room in the Ra­mada Inn in New Hope this week­end.

Jack­ie Mart­ling learned early on how power­ful telling jokes could be.

“I think I was in the third grade when an older cous­in of mine told a joke in front of a large group of people and I saw every­body light up,” Mart­ling re­called. “The re­ac­tion, all the laughter must have struck a chord in my head be­cause, from then on, that’s what I wanted to do.”

And so he did. Today, Martlng, af­fec­tion­ately known as Jack­ie “The Joke Man” Mart­ling, has gained a repu­ta­tion for his off-col­or hu­mor, his abil­ity to re­mem­ber every joke he’s ever heard, and as head writer on the Howard Stern ra­dio show for sev­er­al years.

On May 23 and 24, Mart­ling will be ap­pear­ing in The Razz Room in the Ra­mada Inn in New Hope, en­ter­tain­ing audi­ences with an hour of his fa­vor­ite fun­nies and play­ing one of his fa­vor­ite games — “Stump The Joke Man” - where audi­ence mem­bers are chal­lenged to start a joke that Mart­ling can’t provide the punch line to.

“If they stump me, they win a prize. And if they don’t stump me, they still win a prize,” Mart­ling laughs.

Mart­ling began his show busi­ness ca­reer as a mu­si­cian on Long Is­land, play­ing with an ori­gin­al mu­sic and com­edy trio, “The Off Hour Rock­ers,” un­til the late 1970s. When the band broke up in 1979, Mart­ling segued in­to per­form­ing solo as a stan­dup comedi­an.

Mart­ling’s big break­through in­to ma­jor ra­dio came in 1981, thanks to long­time writer/pro­du­cer Rick Dees.

“Rick loved my work, but my jokes were too off-col­or for him to use on his morn­ing show. So he asked me to do daily joke seg­ments just for him. In fact, it was Rick, not Howard, who began re­fer­ring to me on his show as ‘The Joke Man,’ which has stayed with me all these years,” Mart­ling said.

It was dur­ing this time that Mart­ling re­cor­ded sev­er­al com­edy al­bums, which he mailed to Stern. A guest ap­pear­ance on Stern’s ra­dio show in 1983 led to his even­tu­al hir­ing as a cast mem­ber. Along with Fred Nor­ris, Mart­ling wrote bits, song par­od­ies and ma­ter­i­al for the in­fam­ous “Jack­ie pup­pet” for Stern’s show.

“Over the years, I had asked for more money and my de­mands were al­ways met,” Mart­ling said, “ex­cept the last time in 2001. So, after get­ting up at 4:30 every morn­ing for years, go­ing to a show that made me a little fam­ous, and a little rich, it all took its toll and I de­cided to leave.”

But, he adds, don’t feel sorry for him. That de­par­ture left time for Mart­ling to pro­duce joke books, his first mu­sic­al CD and ap­pear in many films, among oth­er ven­tures. He’s also found time to give back to his com­munity and world, in­clud­ing a 2008 trip with former Amer­ic­an Idol run­ner-up Bo Bice to en­ter­tain U.S. troops in Kuwait.

“You know, I’m just the guy at the party who people grav­it­ate to be­cause he tells the fun­ni­est jokes. On stage, I be­come the col­lege sopho­more out to make people laugh. I can be polit­ic­ally in­cor­rect but it’s all in fun and just to make people laugh. And the harder they laugh, the hap­pi­er I am. I would say that’s the es­sence of me.” ••

For in­form­a­tion, call toll-free 1-888-596-1027. 

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