‘Joke Man’ Trailer Suggests Jackie Martling Was Responsible for Howard Stern’s Comedy Throne
All of the great stand-up comics eventually get the documentary treatment — George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling…. Wait, Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling? Seriously?
Martling’s comic claim to fame, at least in this writer’s opinion, was relentlessly providing his own laugh track, cackling maniacally at his own jokes in an obvious attempt to goose the audience. The trailer for Joke Man, the new Martling documentary, isn’t even four seconds in before Jackie snorts it up mid-punchline. “Guy says to his wife, ‘Were you faking it last night?’ She says, ‘Nah, I was really aslee-hahaha-eep.’”
But in between the cackles, there’s something more interesting than wacky one-liners — the documentary, or at least its trailer, pokes a stick into the eye of the King of All Media, Howard Stern. “For years, we all thought Howard was one of the quickest comics ever,” says radio and podcast host Anthony Cumia. “And then you find out that's Jackie Martling.” (Cue video of the Joke Man scribbling a punchline, then slipping it to Stern to take the on-air credit.)
“It was amazing to watch him,” says former Stern show intern Steve Grillo. “He was two steps ahead of everybody.”
Penn Jillette joins in, too, miming the Joke Man speed-writing process. “Joke, boom! Joke, boom!”
Martling wouldn’t be the first former staffer to try to steal some Stern shine after leaving the show, but this is a pretty bold example of it. It wasn’t Stern who was funny after all — he was just reading Martling’s bits! Something tells us the notoriously thin-skinned Stern won’t stand for it, although given Martling’s extremely low profile in show business these days, maybe ignoring the documentary entirely would be the savviest strategy.
I’ll say this for the Joke Man. The documentary trailer shows off an impressive — well, mostly impressive — lineup of stars. For every Willie Nelson and Jillette, there’s Joe Piscopo and Sean Young. Then there are the Stern show expats like Stuttering John, Scott DePace and Artie Lange. Pretty telling that none of them currently work for Stern — and no one that does goes on the record here.
Could it start a huge Stern feud? If so, I’m here for it! But since Joke Man isn’t available on video-on-demand until next month, we’ll have to make do with another Stern flunky documentary: The Story of Baba Booey and the Worst First Pitch Ever Thrown.