Dom Irrera and David Brenner talk to AC Weekly
By Lori Hoffman and Jeff Schwachter
PHILLY FAVORITES DAVID Brenner and Dom Irrera will tie their fans in knots with laughter when they team up at Tropicana July 16 and 17. Although neither has lived in the city for a while, their comedy is an extension of their Philly roots. The two stand-up giants checked in from the road.
AC Weekly: You are now a true legend of comedy. Other comics put on their credits that they've appeared with you.
Dom Irrera: That I'm somebody's credit, that's nice. I don't know when it happened; first I was a young comedian, now I'm a legend. I think Rodney Dangerfield's a legend (Dangerfield gave Irrera his first big break on his HBO comedy specials). I'm a good comic ... make that a very good comic.
ACW: Did you know David Brenner back in the Philly years?
DI: Not really. I've worked with him before, yes. We worked together in Florida a couple years ago and had a lot of fun. I just think it's a good idea to have a Philly show. David and I are two of the only comedians out there that are in that [Philly] circle. It's neat because we have similar backgrounds. He can bring the Jews from the Northeast, I'll bring the Italians from South Philly, and let the rest fall in place. Our styles are so different, I think it will be a good blend.
ACW: Your family had a summer place in Atlantic City?
DI: We used to stay at the Abel Manor on Pacific Ave. That was during the days when Frank Sinatra would be at the 500 Club. To go back to Atlantic City is the coolest thing more than Vegas. It's part of my growing up. I never thought I'd be one of the guys on the billboards.
ACW: You have appeared at comedy festivals in Montreal, Ireland and Australia. How does your humor translate?
DI: I'm doing the Montreal Comedy Festival the day after the Trop. It does transfer. I'm surprised, but I love it.
ACW: You released a comedy album in 2003, Greatest Hits, Volume I.
DI: People ask me for certain bits, and I can't do everything in my show. It has some of the old stuff, the Joey Bag of Donuts thing ... It's interesting to see where it sells. I sell a lot in the UK. I sell a lot of course in Florida and Philly, but then I get some odd ones, like Yakima, Wash., and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I can't imagine a guy sitting on a porch in Saskatoon saying, 'I gotta get the Dom Irrera tape, hey.'
ACW: How did the idea for this Philly Boys show come about?
David Brenner: I've always been a big fan of Dom Irrera so I came up with the idea, told my agent ... I said how about a pairing of Dom and I? Especially in Atlantic City or any place that has Jews and Italians ...The [promoter] loved it, the Trop loved it, and that's how it happened.
ACW: It's surprising that the pairing hasn't happened before.
DB: Well, you know there's a cultural lag between what would be good in a room and what the people who make the decisions think would be good in a room. It's sort of like the car was invented before black top roads so people [got] stuck in mud all the time.
ACW: You've worked with Dom before?
“We’re like Rome when it was falling, but with Twitter.”
“Three times! I said it three times [during the segment]. I think [Seinfeld] was still in the sixth grade!”
From the Steel Pier and other amusements of yesteryear to the movies featuring Atlantic City, the old inlet and historian Allen "Boo" Pergament's memories on a stroll down the old A.C. Boardwalk.
“Last year was great, and from what I’m hearing the numbers we’re doing now are even better this year,” says Sommore, a New Jersey native who will open the festival Saturday (8pm) followed by Bruce Bruce, Arnez J, Tony Rock and Damon Williams.
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