Big Daddy Graham, Joe Conklin team up for Philly-centric laughs at Borgata
They might be unknowns on the West Coast or in Texas, but in the Delaware Valley, comedian and WIP radio late-night host Big Daddy Graham, and comedian-impressionist Joe Conklin are regional treasures. Conklin, whose Web site dubs him "Sir Voicealot," has been making Philly sports fans howl on WIP, on numerous commercials and at local clubs in the region with his impressions of Eagles coach Andy Reid, Gov. Ed Rendell, broadcaster Harry Kalas, Donavan McNabb, Phillies coach Charlie Manuel, Cole Hamels, Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson and Sen. Arlen Specter. Big Daddy Graham has been the overnight host on WIP for the past 12 years. He is also a popular stand-up comic when he isn't enjoying the beach in his beloved Sea Isle. His Web site calls him, "The man who never sleeps."
I caught up with Big Daddy sleepless in Sea Isle recently via a phone chat about his Two Funny Philly Guys show with Conklin at the Borgata this Friday (July 10). He explains that while he and Conklin have been friends for decades, it was the Borgata that first suggested they team up together for a show two years ago. It was such a good idea they have been doing it several times a year ever since and have released a Two Funny Guys Live DVD, available on Big Daddy's Web site.
How did you and Joe Conklin decide to do a show together?
The Borgata started this whole idea [of working together]. I came up with the idea of calling it Two Funny Philly Guys. I'll give Borgata credit. With Atlantic City being what it is, with people visiting from all over the world, doing a show called Two Funny Philly Guys was kind of risky. But they banked on there being so many people from Philly. The first show was a wild success, then someone else wanted to book us. We're doing four or five a year. You can see both of us often [in our solo shows] but the two of us together really clicked.
What's the format?
We take turns going out first, then flip-flop the order the next time we are at that venue. Then we do something together at the end of the show.
How did you get the overnight gig at WIP? You were better known as a stand-up at the time.
Joe would be the reason for that. Fifteen years ago he was offered a full-time position at another radio station. I told him I didn't think it was a good idea to leave WIP, even though he was just part time. He turned it down and the station that wanted Joe then called me and I took it [a sports show on 1210AM with Neil Hartman and Scott Graham] because I wanted to get off the road. I had done a ton of radio; the Morning Zoo [on WMMR] put me on the map in Philly. Eventually they changed the format and we were all were out of jobs. Two months later WIP called, so there you go. My audience is very aware that I don't claim to be a sports expert. I am just a fan. My show is really a hodgepodge; I don't just do sports. When the Michael Jackson story broke, I did that. I talk about why Nabisco Shredded Wheat is the worst cereal of all time ... I do a little bit of everything.
Which is more fun for you, doing your stand-up or dealing with your nutty late-night callers?
My number-one passion at the moment is writing. I've written two books and a play; I'm working on a screenplay now. Everything I do, whether it's stand-up at the Borgata or a Quizzo Night somewhere or if I'm on the air or I'm writing, it all comes under the same title of entertaining people. That's my job, to make people laugh or piss them off or make them look at something a different way.
Life is about experiences, not fun for Adam Carolla. That’s the reason the comic/actor/radio host agreed to perform on Dancing With The Stars in 2008. That’s why he appeared on the last edition of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice, which aired last winter.
Call me crazy, but I expect them to make to the NFC Championship game, win it over the Packers, and lose to the AFC champions, Pittsburgh. I did go there, a Keystone State Super Bowl.
"It was the Borgata that put this together and came up with this idea of making an intensive Philly night. Although you can be from West Virginia and walk in to the room that night and you’re going to laugh you ass off."
The Wrecking Crüe
Laughing with George Lopez
Fight Night at Boardwalk Hall