Free comedy show. Tonight’s featured comedian is Jeff Gerbino.
Jeff Gerbino began his comedy career as one of the first of a new generation of Baby Boomers in the late ‘70s who wondered how did those comics on talk shows like Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Dick Cavett and Johnny Carson ever get those cool jobs telling jokes? Tired of watching the guys in tuxedos tell mother-in-law jokes, Jeff left his childhood home on the North Shore of Long Island to follow two loves: comedy and a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman from Minnesota. In short order he would be married to both for a long, long time.
Jeff left an early job in radio (his first love) and started a comedy scene in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul where none had existed previously. Soon Jeff recruited other comics to join him and many of them made names for themselves over the years. Louie Anderson, (Life with Louie/Family Feud/Splash), Jeff Cesario, (HBO/Showtime), Joel Hodgeson, (Mystery Science Theater) and Stephanie Hodge (Nurses) all would work the tiny stage at a bar inside a Union Building in Northeast Minneapolis. Jeff Gerbino’s stock was rising from an auto parts delivery guy to local comedy celebrity all while still in his early 20s.
In the 1980s, Jeff and his wife would move to Los Angeles, where he worked his way up the comedy ladder at places like the infamous Improv and the (then) nationally renowned Comedy Store. The names of the comedians who regularly worked the Comedy Store are all printed on the outside motif of the Comedy Store. Jeff’s name is printed there near that of Jonathan Winters and Richard Pryor, who, ironically, were early comedy influences on Jeff. While becoming a nationally known comedy club headliner, he worked with many famous comics as both writer and performer—Jimmy Walker, Michael Keaton, Kevin Nealon, Roseanne Barr, Tom Arnold, Paula Poundstone, Robin Williams and many others. Jeff’s look became familiar to many people as he appeared in television commercials for Home Depot, Hardee’s, National Rent-A-Car and 2000 Flushes. His comedy appearances include The CBS Morning Show, A&E’s Comedy On The Road, Showtime’s Laughathon, HBO Comic Relief, Comedy Central and ABC’s Good Morning America.
More than three decades later, Jeff’s act is a true fusion of the years spent performing all over America and even in countries like Great Britain, Japan and Australia. His high energy approach to everything from news events of the day to life as a parent of two children to uncanny impressions of various celebrities and politicians make his act accessible to both nightclub and corporate audiences all across America. Michael Keaton praised Jeff as “The poor man’s Jay Leno.” The Hollywood Reporter named him as one of America’s Top Ten new comics in their annual Comedy Issue. Variety magazine described Jeff’s act as a high-energy high wire act that takes the audience right along with him. Jeff was also featured in Time Magazine as part of their coverage of the emerging new phenomenon of standup that was now spreading all across America.
Jeff departed Los Angeles with his now growing family of two children and a wife to return to Minneapolis where he began working in morning drive radio while splitting his time between comedy club work and private shows for corporations such as 3M, EcoLab, Carlson Companies, Control Data, Excel Energy, Target, Macy’s, Carnation, AT&T, Sprint and many others, often doing more than just his act but personalizing shows with special material written for the occasion. He became so good at this that many companies began referring to him as “The Humor Consultant.” To this day one of his more popular sketches at private shows is his “Corporate Imposter” where he appears as an expert consultant discussing the host company’s issues—first in a serious tone, but then getting wilder and wilder—till the audience explodes at the realization that they have been had.