Synchronicity: Animal House Radio Show and NJ Discover TV “You Can’t Make This Up.” (Carlo Bellario, Joe Mantegna, Ronnie Marmo, Lenny Bruce) By Calvin Schwartz December 21st 2018
An interesting short story to share a few days before Christmas. The Set-Up. On December 4, 2018, NJ Discover TV was honored to have actor, playwright, Ronnie Marmo, currently performing his play, directed by Joe Mantegna, Off Broadway, “I’m Not a Comedian, I’m Lenny Bruce” appear on our NJ Discover show for an introspective hour. You Tube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M5uitNwOnc
Synchronicity is the theme here. I went to opening night in November (the show selling out in LA for over a year) because I am a huge Ronnie Marmo and Lenny Bruce fan. For those, Lenny Bruce was a pioneering comedian in 1950’s, mid- 1960’s who used dirty words, and had to fight with his life for freedom of speech. No one on earth except Ronnie Marmo captures, hauntingly, the essence of Lenny Bruce. I sat in the first-row trance-like, riveted, carpeted back to the future, 1960’s.
After the show, briefly, I talked and invited Ronnie to NJ Discover TV. It was opening night, so he was pulled in 87 different directions. My wife and I walked down 32nd Street towards Penn Station. At a red light, a woman recognized me from sitting in the first-row, asked how I liked the show. I raved about Ronnie, Lenny, Joe Mantegna’s direction and lamented that I wish Ronnie could’ve come on our NJ Discover TV show. The woman was Ronnie’s agent. A few weeks later, our TV show. Indeed, synchronicity. And a really great show; open, heartfelt, incisive, funny. If you know a few college kids, perhaps suggest they watch the show. Free Speech. History. An amazing actor.
Now to Animal House Radio Show. I appeared as a guest host on their show Wednesday night, and the synchronicity in the universe was alive, active, wondrous and simply beyond, beginning Wednesday morning. Firstly, I met Carlo Bellario a few months ago at an industry mixer at comedian Mike Marino’s. Instant chemistry with Carlo. He’s engaging, charming, funny, worldly and has this amazing Animal House Radio Show which brings accomplished guests from all corners of the entertainment world.
Wednesday morning, just after 8 AM, not a creature was stirring, not even me. Something (synchronistic) possessed me to look at my cell phone. There was Carlo’s message, “Would you like to guest host tonight with me on our Animal House Radio Show? Joe Mantegna is our call-in guest.” “Joe Mantegna,” I whispered. How could this be? I just had Ronnie Marmo, who Joe directs in the play, on my TV show. Joe is such a great actor, Criminal Minds, with a resume that is incredible. Did Carlo know the connection? Of course not. This invite was out of the synchronistic inexplicable universe. I would do this gig, grateful to the universe, once again.
Animal House Radio Show is a listening gift which means you should really take it in. Priceless guests, hosts. Carlo Bellario, quintessential, comedic, omnipresent, insightful, been around so therefore as colorful, worldly as they come. His team of cohorts, each bringing a special element of Americana, freshness, reality, truth, justice and grit. Steven Keller (whom I’ve known for a long time) is the perfect music man, performer, historian. Dave Hoj, CEO, Veteran, outspoken, convincing, emotional and a certified comedian; a great listening combo platter. Jusella Bella, perfectly delightful, a matrix of congeniality and congealing this diverse group together, multi-talented, a designer, owner at her Unique Boutique. And sitting at my left, Sal Angioletti, whom I could’ve known for many years, but our first meeting. Sal’s background is refreshingly diverse. Born in Brooklyn, USA, worked at Madison Square Garden, knows the inner world of wrestling, music and Kiss and great Elvis impersonator, Richie Santa.
The aforementioned affirms this entire hosting team of Carlo, Sal, Jusella, Dave, Steve is a rarified entourage therefore hugely entertaining. Facebook address of show: https://www.faceook.com/animalhouseradioshow/
Animal House Radio Show appears on the Hamilton Radio Network and Gene Pierro and Reuben Rodriguez. I’ve known them both for basically my seven journalism years and they run Hamilton Radio with such great programming finesse.
Thirty minutes into the show last night, Joe Mantegna called in and spoke for ½ hour. Joe is so involved in giving back, causes, being so relevant, co-narrating the National Memorial Day Concert on the Mall in Washington, DC. In 2011, he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Carlo looked at me, and asked if I was ready to talk on air to Joe. It reminded me of a line from one of my favorite movies, ‘Rudy,’ when they asked Rudy if he was ready to take the Notre Dame football team out on the field, to which he replied, “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.” I kind of was waiting to talk to Joe Mantegna for a long time.
I explained the connection we had with Ronnie Marmo. I praised (without any pandering) his directing (especially that gripping, powerful opening scene) in the play “I’m Not a Comedian, I’m Lenny Bruce.” But alas, I had to contain myself, needing at least an hour to talk about the play. But I’m a big boy these days, and went back to Carlo, who was so accommodating. He was blown away as well by all this synchronicity. Just before Joe finished, I did ask if he had a handle whether the play (due to close end of December) would be extended. He just wasn’t sure, but mentioned speaking to Ronnie earlier, who said it was a full house. This morning, Thursday, Playbill wrote that the play was indeed extended at the Cutting Room to the end of January. So, you all have a chance to see such an amazing actor and production. Get off the sofa!
My time with Carlo’s ensemble of eclectic host personalities, defining an Animal House, was rare, precious, beautiful and delightfully synchronistic. I was graciously invited back. Too much fun, energy absorbed, warmth, honesty, esprit de corps and their shared mission to take Animal House Radio to places of loftiness and originality, so I said, “I’ll be back,” trying to sound like Arnold. They laughed. We hugged and did a group pix. Merry Christmas Happy New Year. And all good things.
ANIMAL HOUSE RADIO SHOW Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/animalhouseradioshow/
CUTTING ROOM Ronnie Marmo in “I’m Not a Comedian, I’m Lenny Bruce” Directed by Joe Mantegna
Tickets (running until end of January) http://thecuttingroomnyc.com/