Comedian Mike Marino can’t help but look back and laugh when reminiscing about the first time he played the Paramount Theatre.
“Back in 2006, the theater was pretty much condemned,” Marino said while calling from Bermuda. “When you parked in Asbury Park back then it was free. All those meters were busted. The hotels were in bad shape. But so much has changed since then in Asbury Park. The hotels are beautiful. It’s $25 to park and they did a great job rehabbing the Paramount. Asbury Park has had a nice makeover.”
Marino’s career has changed considerably since then as well. The Jersey City native, who grew up in Scotch Plains, had a web series “Marino 2016,” which chronicled the humorist’s amusing “run” for President of the United States.
“Can you imagine what it would be like if an Italian-American ran for President last year?” Marino said. “At one of the debates, you wouldn’t have been able to find Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. ‘They’re gone now and there is nothing you can do about it.'"
Marino, 50, is approximating a line from “Goodfellas.” The Los Angeles resident also has a pilot, “Reconstructing New Jersey,” which he is shopping. Imagine an Italian-American version of “All in the Family.” The content is edgy and amusing.
“Reconstructing New Jersey” takes place when superstorm Sandy hit the Garden State. “I think the show proves that normal people are more fun to watch,” Marino said. “It’s relatable.”
When Marino isn’t writing scripts or filming his projects, he’s on tour.
“I love to get up on stage and talk about what it’s like being in my early 50s,” Marino said. “I talk about how I can’t sneeze without blowing out a muscle. I talk about constipation issues. I can’t help it but I’m of a certain age.”
Marino isn’t a household name but comedy has enabled him to host some events for “Light of Day,” which hopes to fund possible cures, improved treatments and support for patients to battle Parkinson’s disease.
“I’ve done it on occasion,” Marino said. “I had a great time doing it two years ago. I got to meet all of the New Jersey rock and rollers except Bruce Springsteen. I’ve become good friends with (music artist manager) Bob Benjamin (who co-founded the Light of Day Foundation) and (former E Street Band drummer) Vini Lopez, who comes to all of my shows. Asbury Park is like a home away from home for me.”
Belmar used to be Marino’s summer home. A generation ago Marino owned a beach house.
“My brother and I picked up a house at the Shore that had 11 bedrooms,” Marino said. “We bought it for $150,000 in 1986. Back then Belmar had 16 bars. The funny thing is that I taped everything we ever did. We had a reality show before there was such a thing. I recently decided to make a documentary from the footage. When I look back at that, you can say how good of a time we had. What stopped all of the fun was marriage and children.”
The most fun Marino has these days is delivering stand-up.
“I love it just like I always did,” Marino said. “Every show is different and the shows I have the most fun with are the ones back home in New Jersey.”
WHEN: 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: The Paramount Theatre, 1300 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park
INFO: 732-897-6500 or www.apboardwalk.com