In the driveway of Syd Mandelbam’s Cedarhurst, Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling made it seem like The Comedy Store as the comedian performed for nearly 20 people, mostly military veterans, who take part in the free veterans farmers market that Mandelbaum runs through his Rock and Wrap It Up! organization.
The April 22 “performance” by Martling, a Rock and Wrap It Up! board member for roughly 20 years, was a toned down version of his typical risqué routines.
A comedian’s comedian who rose to fame as a writer and in-studio comedian for The Howard Stern Show for 18 years, he knows his audience and using references to musical bands and television shows that are recognizable to a specific demographic Martling generated much laughter.
Speaking about getting cleared by the U.S. government to entertain American troops in the Mideast, the native Long Islander who was born in Mineola noted that the soldiers put up with the threat of death and severe injury and “my act is too naughty.”
Martling’s humor underscored the seriousness of why Mandelbaum established the farmers market. To help ensure that veterans had a safe place to “shop” for food during the coronavirus pandemic.
Began last summer, Mandelbaum opened his driveway to be a one-stop shop where the veterans can pick up bread, canned goods, fruits, household items, meats, including fish and vegetables. It is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
It feeds upwards of 60 veterans on a weekly basis and has distributed between 2,500 to 3,500 pounds of food since its inception, Mandelbaum said. Rock and Wrap It Up! is an anti-poverty think tank famous for picking up the remaining food from musical concerts and sporting events distributing it to food pantries and other organizations nationwide.
After he performed Martling traded jokes and stories with the veterans. It was hard to tell who enjoyed the exchanges more.