In 1987, I thought, “Oh Joe, what happened to you?” You sprung from my home state of New Jersey, full of promise and talent and then, I just don’t know what happened. Someone gave you a set of weights or something, you left SNL, the movies were a mixed bag. My friends all mocked, but I have to tell you I still stuck by you. People could deride, but I had your back. I even planned a little viewing party with my friends to watch your Halloween comedy special on HBO in 1987. Live comedy from the funny man from Passaic, this would be an interesting capper to the Halloween festivities and would certainly pull my friends back into the Joe-loving fold.
20 minutes into the special, I was alone. My friends found the special was confusing and at times embarrassing and they left, but I stuck it out. When it was over, I sadly retired the last inkling of my fandom for you Joe. Was I wrong to do so? Time would tell…
A decade later I was at a flea market and I spotted a hand labeled VHS tape with the words Joe Piscopo Halloween on it. I bought it for 75 cents, brought it home and rewatched this blast from the recent past. The whole thing was still a train wreck, but I have come to appreciate what an epic mess it is and from that point on, my friends tended to agree. It might not have been your intent, but this time capsule started to make new fans of Joe. Could it be you were ahead of your time? Was the world not mature to understand and appreciate this extravaganza?
It is time for you to break this title out of its VHS tomb and hit the road marketing it. Sell people on the “thinks I’m a rockstar” thing that was happening to comedians. Geniuses are never respected in their own time and yes your work on SNL bordered on genius, but his pop culture comedy musical mashup might be your Sgt. Peppers.
For people who have never seen it, you are in for a real treat, a segment of the special has been posted online.