On the beat: 07/28

Comedian Jimmy Pardo: Never not funny

By Jim Bucher

Photo: Comedian Jimmy Pardo will perform July 25at Wiley’s Comedy Club

In life, I’ve noticed there’s a handful of people you meet that make an impression on you.

They can be friends, acquaintances or someone who you don’t talk to for a while, but when you do, you pick up where you left off.

One of those aforementioned buddies of mine is comic Jimmy Pardo.

About 20 years ago, Jimmy frequented the now-defunct Joker’s Comedy Café on Kingsridge Drive by the Dayton Mall. I met Jimmy when the owner of the club generously lent me her place for the evening to hold a benefit for charity.

Jimmy was too eager to help, donating a portion of his door price for my cause.

“Of course I remember,” he says. “I drank a LOT in those days, but I still have some memories. Joker’s was a great club. I feel the same way with Wiley’s. I much prefer the independently owned comedy club over the chains. The indie clubs seem more focused on comedy than sandwiches.”

Well, Jimmy’s back again at Wiley’s Comedy joint in the Oregon District this coming Saturday night for one show at 7:30 p.m.

He’s my kind of comic: sarcastic, unpredictable and always funny, which he was destined to be early on.

“In grade school I was what’s commonly referred to as the class clown,” he says. “As I went along in high school, I would sit back and make fun of the class clown. Let him do all the heavy lifting and then get a bigger laugh with just a sarcastic remark. I think in real life, we would call that person an asshole.”

From there, as they say, he was in the right place at the right time.

“I was very lucky in that I started working right away as a stand-up,” he says. “I think my break for television came when a talent scout from CBS was scouring the country looking for new talent. He saw me in Detroit, thought I was great and asked to see me again when they were going to be in Chicago, where I’m from. I had another great set and he convinced me to move out to Los Angeles. It didn’t really result in anything, but it did get me to LA, where I got an agent soon after.”

Early on when Jimmy performed here, I’d describe him as a Don Rickles-type insult comic, but as with the passing years, his style has changed too.

“I think I’ve grown a lot and I’m less confrontational and not as angry as I once was on stage and I think it’s easy for laypeople to say, ‘Oh, he’s like Don Rickles,’ so I’ll just shut up,” he says.

Well now, I’ve been called worse.

Nowadays it seems like everybody and their brother has a podcast. Jimmy, though, was a pioneer in the format.

“You are speaking, of course, of my award winning podcast, Never Not Funny,” he says. “I was very lucky to meet my now producer/co-host Matt Belknap. He was a fan of my show and I was familiar with the format because of Ricky Gervais’ show and thought, ‘Why not? Let’s try this.’ This was in 2006 when there were not a lot of podcasts … we caught on early and still have a very loyal fan base. I’m amazingly proud of it.”

So, what can we all expect to see Saturday night?

“I do a lot of crowd work, but it’s more than just, ‘What’s your name and what do you do for a living’ type stuff,” he says. “I try to use the audience to explain premises as opposed to just polling the crowd. I call it organized chaos. It may appear that I’m just winging it, but I always know where I’m going. The Italians have a word for this, Sprezzatura, meaning rehearsed to look improvised. Which coincidently is the name of my latest CD available on ASpecialThing Records (said in a cheesy broadcast voice).”

Hey, I made a living with a cheesy broadcast voice. So, what’s next on the comedy horizon?

“I am hosting a brand new show on the Science Channel called Race To Escape,” he says. “I’m thrilled to be hosting it. It’s a great show for everyone to watch. My seven-year-old son loves it.”

In the next decade for Jimmy?

“Still answering these questions.”

And with that … CHEERS!

Buch

Jimmy Pardo will perform Saturday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Wiley’s Comedy Joint, 101 Pine St. in Dayton. For tickets and more information, please visit jimmypardo.com or follow @jimmypardo on Twitter. 

For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com

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Jim Bucher
For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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