Comedy show in Glen Ridge delivers some zingers

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GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The Women’s Club of Glen Ridge hosted a night of standup comedy on Thursday, Jan. 12, with Becky Veduccio warming up an audience of 50-plus for comedian Liz Glazer and headliner Joe DeVito.

Veduccio played off her Italian heritage, motherhood and slice-of-life observances to begin the evening. She recalled the difficulty of informing her Italian father, who did not quite understand, that his granddaughter could be allergic to cheese. Or when, for the first time, she raised her voice to her son and his blanked-face response.

“I thought we had something,” he had told her.

Veduccio asked if anyone in the audience was on a date. Apparently, no one was. This was probably true, since most people appeared to be alone, married couples or women who gathered at the club for a pre-show glass of wine.

“I was terrible at dating,” Veduccio said. “My last boyfriend, when he broke it off, said that it wasn’t me, it was my personality.”

She missed having plastic shopping bags, she said, but few chuckled encouragement. Yet she made a point. The independence of using her own bag and self-checkout made her feel guilty of shoplifting.

She asked if there was anyone in the audience who was aging. No one clapped.

“Are you science deniers?” she said. “We’re all aging. I have a doctor for every part of my body. I have a cardiologist, a gastrologist and, for my vagina, an archeologist.” 

The spotlight was then on Glazer, who had evidently boned-up on borough history and news. She said she had read that Glen Ridge was the richest community in New Jersey.

“You don’t have much of a downtown,” she said. “There’s a post office, a train station, two banks to hold the money and, of course, a historical society.”

Hometown subject matter was good for rapport, and Glazer continued. The Glen Ridge High School basketball team was undefeated, she had read. Did anyone know that? No response. Did anyone know a player? No response. While a minute before, the audience felt relaxed and self-satisfied with Glazer, now they were nervous. She had them off balance, right where a comic wanted them for a good-natured skewering. Someone shouted out that the girls team was undefeated, but Glazer probably knew this and gently segued into her next shtick, saying that, as a lesbian, she was supposed to be good in sports and was on her high school basketball team but passed the ball to the referee. 

Her wife is a rabbi and they have been trying to have a baby.

“We’re going to the doctor because of my low sperm count,” she said. 

They were using in vitro fertilization and trying for a girl because, she quipped, it was less expensive. Her father had died recently, and, according to Jewish tradition, she said the child would be given a name reflecting his. They chose “Daddy.” 

DeVito, the headliner, opened by saying how good it was to be back following the pandemic.

“I learned a lot about myself during the pandemic,” he said. “I learned I didn’t have a book in me.”

It was interesting to hear about the relationships of the previous comics, he said, adding that he was single, 54 and ready to cut a deal.

“I did online dating,” he said. “There should be legislation for online photos. I saw one picture with the Hindenburg exploding in the background.” 

He does not like going out to dinner with women he meets online.

“I don’t know you,” he would tell the woman. “You think I’m Meals on Wheels?” 

Neither does he like getting old, because it often means reaching for a pen when a medical advertisement comes on TV. 

“After a certain age, all a doctor does is repeat what you tell him,” DeVito said.

He starts each morning by drinking apple cider vinegar.

“I know for the rest of the day, nothing will taste bad,” he said. “Who was the first guy to drink apple cider vinegar? ‘Oh, darling, are we all out of cat urine?’”

Italians do not eat like normal people, he said.

“They start dinner at 10 a.m. and talk about other meals,” he mused. “My grandmother gave me food to take home. I put it on the passenger’s seat and the seat belt light went on. She said, ‘Take it home, just in case.’ In case of what? I run into a famine on the Whitestone Bridge?” 

Photos by Daniel Jackovino