"Oh, the factory smoke is enough to make you choke----deep in the heart of Jersey…"
If you grew up in the Garden State and are 35 or older, you know those words as sung by the great comic Uncle Floyd.
Uncle Floyd Vivino (yes the brother of Jimmy and Jerry Vivino from the Max Weinberg 7 Band on Late Night With Conan O'Brian) walked onto the stage on Friday January 23rd to perform at a fundraiser event for the Randolph Lions Club wearing his signature plaid sports jacket and plaid hat, neither of which matched the other of course ready to start the laughs. One liners fired in rapid sequence leaving the audience in stitches.
Uncle Floyd at the piano - Jan. 23, 2009
Photo by Melanie Thiel
Uncle Floyd told stories of growing up in an Italian household in Paterson, his many children ranging in age from 31 years to 20 months, and of course, many of the classic lines from the Uncle Floyd Show which ran on UHF throughout the 1970's.
Not only is Uncle Floyd a top notch stand up comedian, he is also a talented honky tonk style pianist. Between bits he would sit at the piano on stage and bang out an old tune he learned as a kid. The audience members shouted out requests such as "Josephina, Don't a Lean a on the Bell", a song familiar to his TV show days and of course his signature song, "Deep In The Heart of Jersey" which many, including myself, think should be the official state song.
The night took me back to my teenage years when I had an official Uncle Floyd t-shirt and would watch the show on a 13" black and white television in my parent's living room. Remember, no cable in those days, you adjusted the rabbit ear antenna on top of the set and hoped the picture stayed somewhat clear for that half hour.
Uncle Floyd Vivino has my vote for being a New Jersey landmark and a New Jersey treasure. Even if you are not familiar with his comedy, take to opportunity to see him perform next time is comes to your town. You'll be rolling in the isles in laughter.
Also see www.unclefloyd.com.