Taylor Mason Will Show Ventriloquism Is Alive

Among Three Headliners at Surflight Theatre
By Rick Mellerup | Aug 13, 2019
Supplied Photo

Beach Haven — Last year I sat down with a couple of comics who were going to appear at one of Surflight Theatre’s Comedy Tonight shows and asked how comedy had changed over their long years in the business.

One thing they agreed on was that comedy pairs had almost disappeared from the scene for a very basic reason. Comedy club owners were very reluctant to pay two performers. Thus, more than ever before, stand-up has become one guy or gal in front of a microphone.

The basic setup of most comedy duos is simple – a usually deadpan “straight man” sets up his or her partner who delivers the jokes. Think Abbot and Costello, Burns and Allen, Martin and Lewis.

Now, there’s one way to get around today’s tightfisted club owners. Serve as both your own straight man and comedian. In other words, be a ventriloquist like Jersey’s own Taylor Mason, who will be one of three performers at the next Comedy Tonight show, Monday, Aug. 19 at 8:30 p.m.

Mason has a slew of dummies, with one of my favorites being a pig, Paquito. Here’s a sample from a show in North Carolina:

“I grew up on a hog farm; my family actually farmed in Grand Ridge, Illinois,” said Mason, “a little tiny farming community. I hate Halloween. Our closest neighbor lived two miles down the road. Halloween was the longest night of the year.

“My grandma worked at a J.C. Penny, she was the head seamstress and she taught me how to sew when I was nine years old. Just what every nine-year-old boy in America wants to do.

“The first thing that we made,” he said, pulling a small stuffed pig out of his bag of tricks, “was what I grew up with. I grew up on a birth-to-slaughter hog operation, so the pigs...

Paquito broke in – “Hello señor.”

“Hello Paco. Say hello to everyone.”

Paco surveyed the audience and asked, “They’re nice?”

“They’re nice.”

“They look hungry.”

“No, they’re nice.”

Paco squealed and tucked his snout into Mason’s armpit.

“It’s OK, buddy, they’re very nice.”

“Where are we, señor?”

“We’re in North Carolina.”

The shaking Paco immediately retreated into Mason’s armpit once again.

“It’s OK, it’s all right, it’s all right. It’s OK, buddy, it’s OK. You have a problem with North Carolina?”

“Barbecue.”

“OK, I get that, I get that. OK, there’s a whole lot more to North Carolina than just barbecue.”

“Football.”

“They love football.”

“My father is a football. The Panthers (North Carolina’s NFL franchise) keep dropping him and dropping him and dropping him and dropping him and dropping him and dropping him and dropping him.”

“That is not what this night’s about,” said Mason.

“No?”

“No, this is a special night.”

“It is?”

“Yes, North Carolina. Now, who are your favorite people in all of North Carolina?”

“The Jewish people.”

“The Jewish people?”

“They leave me alone.”

“If you’re not familiar,” explained Mason, “that was not meant to be a slur.”

“No,” agreed Paco.

“Jewish people as a rule do not eat pork.”

“Thank you, Jesus.”

Other performers on Monday night will be Johhny Lampert and Joe Bublewicz.

Lampert’s road through comedy followed his life progression.

He had Olympic dreams as a kid, and why not, considering his father held the world record for the shot put in 1954. He was good enough – All County at Demarest High School – to earn a partial scholarship to Boston University. But an injury ended his athletic career, so he turned to stand-up.

He started off joking about living at home with his parents.

“A lot of people thought I was a loser when I lived at home, but somebody had to be there when the cable guy shows up. You needed a UPS package signed for, I was your man. I was home all day watering plants, talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

His comedy changed when he got married and, finally, moved out of his parents’ home.

“My wife and I still look at each other like the day we met – like two perfect strangers who think they could do way better.”

Lampert has indeed done better in the world of comedy. His big break came at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, where his act attracted the attention of Walt Disney Television, which signed him to a lucrative deal to develop a sitcom. He’s a regular at comedy clubs in New York City and Los Angeles, and has made numerous television appearances.

Lampert will also make fun of his Jewish heritage.

“I’m Jewish. A lot of people say I don’t look Jewish. I say, ‘What do I look like?’ They say, ‘Barney Rubble.’

“I’m a reformed Jew, which is, of course, the least religious type. I eat bacon, shrimp, I go to church, I believe in Jesus. I did that joke at a reformed temple and I gotta tell you, the lesbian rabbi did not like it.”

Bublewicz is likely familiar to area comedy fans considering the 20-year comedy vet is a regular at the Borgata in Atlantic City, and has performed at previous Comedy Tonight shows. A snippet of the following routine shows just how familiar he is with Southern Ocean County:

“I just got back from doing a private show in Atlantic City last week. I took the back roads there; 539, are you familiar with that road? I’m at a red light, there’s a sign on the side of the road. It says, ‘caution, low-flying aircraft.’

“Exactly how low are these planes flying? I’m driving a car. I shouldn’t have to worry about running into an airplane. I’m no air traffic controller, but if you’re flying a plane and you hit a car, that’s too low. Get back in the friendly skies.

“How does it work out? Does a pilot get on the intercom? ‘Hello folks, this is your captain speaking. Looks like we’re going to be leveling off at an altitude of about 13 feet. If you look out your window you can see the eyes of terror in Joe Bublewicz. It is priceless. Enjoy your peanuts.’

“I’m not a big fan of flying... They always try to put your mind at ease with those little pre-flight announcements, you know, ‘in case of emergency your seat can be used as a flotation device.’ I’m going to tell you something: when we’re catapulting to the ground at 500 miles per hour, that flotation device is going to be used as a diaper. We’ll see how buoyant it is after I’m done with it.”

Bublewicz should get a huge round of applause just for showing up on stage at Surflight. He is, you see, the promoter of the Comedy Night shows and always brings in truly talented comedians at truly low prices – just $15!

Tickets can be purchased online at surflight.org, by phone at 609-492-9477 or at the box office, located at 201 Engleside Ave., Beach Haven.

— Rick Mellerup

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