Famous Comedians From Queens – Western Queens Gazette
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Though born in Brooklyn, famous comedian and actor, Jerry Seinfield, attended Queens College. His first stand-up performance was in 1976 and he went on to appear on The Tonight Show in 1981. In 1988 he created a sitcom with NBC called Seinfeld which was wildly successful in the United States and ran for nine seasons, until 1998. He went on to appear in Larry David’s comedy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and continued stand-up throughout the 90s. He co-wrote and starred in the Bee Movie (2007). More recently, he started a web series called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee in 2012 which was moved more permanently onto Netflix. The show has received 8 Emmy nominations and is on its 11th season.
Famous comedian and radio show host, Howard Stern, was born in Jackson Heights. Ever since he was five, Stern wanted to be on the radio. His father worked as a radio engineer at WHOM in Manhattan and Stern would often visit to watch radio shows behind the scenes. While attending Boston University, he played records, read the news, and hosted interview programs at WTBU, the college radio station. He went on to earn a first-class radio-telephone operator license, a requirement for radio broadcasters at the time, in 1975. Stern worked at many different radio stations including WRNW, WCCC, WWWW, and WWDC before working at WXRK in Manhattan for 20 years. The Howard Stern Show (1986-2005) was very successful, drawing in 20 million listeners at its peak. He soon became one of the highest-paid radio personalities after a deal with Sirius radio.
However, being a comical radio show host is not the extent of his success. He has also hosted many late-night television shows and was a judge on America’s Got Talent. Additionally, he is the author of three books, Private Parts, Miss America, and Howard Stern Comes Again. His fame is recognized as he has consecutively won the Billboard’s Nationally Syndicated Air Personality of the Year award eight times.
Ray Romano, famous comedian and actor, was raised in Forest Hills. Romano decided to pursue comedy in 1987 and his career started after he appeared on The Comedy Channel as a recurring voice on the show Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. Soonafter, his standup comedy on the Late Show with David Letterman led to his own show on CBS, Everybody Loves Romano. He won six Emmy awards as the lead in the show and two as the producer of the show. Later on, Romano joined the fourth season of Parenthood in 2012 till the end of its run in 2015. Romano’s comedic skills were not limited to stand up and television. He voiced the woolly mammoth Manfred, or Manny, in the Ice Age movies. Returning to his standup roots, Romano starred in his own comedy special, Ray Romano: Right Here, Around the Corner, which premiered on Netflix in 2019. More recently, he acted, directed, and co-wrote the comedy film, Somewhere in Queens, released on June 10, 2022.
Famous actress and comedian Francine Drescher grew up in Queens. Fun fact, Drescher and Romano graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1975. Her first on-screen performance was in Saturday Night Fever (1977). She continued to appear in smaller films such as The Hollywood Knights (1980), Doctor Detroit (1983), This Is Spinal Tap (1984), and UHF (1989). In 1993, she co-created, co-produced, and starred in The Nanny where she played Fran Fine. Fran Fine from The Nanny and Romano’s character, Ray Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond, both appeared on an episode titled “The Reunion Show” of The Nanny. Her success in the show won her two Emmy award nominations and two Golden Globe awards for Best Actress in a Comedy Television Series. She also starred in Living with Fran and Happily Divorced. Then she voiced Eunice in 4 Hotel Transylvania movies.
Donald Rickles, well-known comedian and actor, grew up in Jackson Heights. Trying to pursue comedy, Rickles moved to Los Angeles and did stand up in nightclubs. He soon found that his speciality was crowd work, picking on those in the audience and coming up with jokes on the spot, as opposed to his pre-written monologues. As he grew more famous for his witty remarks, he starred in many films such as Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) and The Rat Race (1960). After appearing on The Tonight Show several times, he became booked to make numerous TV sitcom appearances, he got his own CBS sitcom, The Don Rickles Show (1972). He acted in more films such as Kelly’s Heroes (1970), Casino (1995), and voiced Mr. Potato Head in three Toy Story films. After his death in 2017, Disney did not want to substitute Rickles so they archived and pieced together sounds of his voice for Toy Story 4, as they knew his voice as Mr. Potato Head could not be replaced.
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