Comedian Jim Florentine Slated for Four-Night Stand at the Improv


Inspired by loud mouth comics like Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Kinison, comedian Jim Florentine, who starts a four-night stand at the Improv tonight, began doing standup comedy in the early ’90s. When he first began performing in Cleveland, downtown was still in the midst of its Renaissance. “I started coming to Cleveland in 2002 and 2003,” he says in a recent phone interview. “I remember staying downtown and there was hardly anything open. The Subway sandwich shop was the only thing open. It would close at 5. I was like, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’ It’s a cool downtown now.”

Florentine’s career took off after just after he released an album of crank phone calls. That led to an appearance on The Howard Stern Show and he became a regular. He says that was just a lucky break. “This was when Jackie the Jokeman left and they were having unknown comics come in,” he says. “It was perfect timing. My manager convinced them to have me in. that would have never happened if he was still there because they only had major guys come in. He started playing me constantly. And then Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla were looking for guys to do prank calls and called me up. I didn’t even know who those guys were.”

Now Florentine keeps plenty busy. He’s the co-host of That Metal Show on VH1 Classic and has had appearances on Girls, Californication and Inside Amy Schumer. He just taped a comedy special. Don Jamieson, his co-host on That Metal Show will be performing with him as well. Expect to see at least a few fans of That Metal Show at his comedy gigs.

That Metal Show has been great,” he says. “I don’t have to do any research. I know all about these bands. There are questions I wanted to ask them for years. As a kid, I would go to see Ozzy or Judas Priest. It’s a whole other audience for me too. People didn’t know that I did standup. You have 40-year-olds doing that show. Some of them aren’t into comedy, which is great. So now we have dudes sitting in our audience wearing Iron Maiden shirts.”

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