Here's John Joseph's advice to aspiring comedians: Get a day job. But the New York comedian would never deny a young comic a chance to get his name in The Guinness Book of World Records.
To mark its second anniversary, Hilarities has recruited Joseph and 40 other comedians from Detroit to Philadelphia (including its own Oliver Twisted cast) for A Day and a Half of Laughter. Their mission: to break the 35-hour record for the longest-running comedy show, set last summer by 10 Italian comics. To Joseph, the record can't be broken in a better place than Hilarities. Owner Nick Kostis "is the best part of the club," gushes Joseph, the first comedian booked at the club in September 2002. "He's the last guy left in show business that's up-front and means what he says. He could work in a grocery store, and we'd still work for him."
Joseph will punch the time clock to start the yuckfest Sunday night with a 90-minute set featuring his keyboard-playing sidekick, Johnny B (pictured left, with Joseph). Afterward: other comics will take turns with 20- to 40-minute sets, until a new record is set Tuesday morning at 6:30. If the momentum holds up, they'll go to the 50-hour mark at the end of Brad Trackman's show that night at 9:30.
And the Guinness people will be watching. To get into the lists of mosts, bests, and firsts, the club has to fill out a pile of paperwork, enlist witnesses to watch the show, and send boxes of videotapes to prove its authenticity. "They really take this seriously, but I know it's going to get their attention, because this is different than the Biggest Hot Dog [and] the Longest Dance -- the typical crap." says John Lorince, the club's marketing director, who came up with the idea. "People are excited about it, because they'll go into the history books."