Jackie Martling is an extremely funny comedian. His impressive career includes hundreds of sold out appearances, 17 years spent writing the Penthouse Joke Page and a long tenure as a member of Howard Stern Show Show. His dial-a-dirty joke phone line, a brilliant tool for promoting his gigs, received over 8,000 calls a day.
Jackie is a relentless promoter. Many people, myself included, question his decision to leave the Stern Show many years ago. It was a perfect venue for his comedic talents. But people have to do what they think is right for their life.
Before he left Howard Stern, I had an idea. As a long-time fan of the show, I fielded more calls from fans of the Howard than other QVC hosts. Instead of ending the call when they said, “Babba Booey” or some other quote from the show, I would tell them I really liked the show. Although management wanted me to just cut the caller, I continued to engage them. Hey, their money was as good as anyone’s.
I was always bird dogging for new products. I found a few real winners for the Q over the years along with some that never saw the light of day. I decided to reach out to Jackie with a proposal.
I wanted him to do a 45 to 60 minute performance for a live audience in our 150 seat theater. He would use his “TV safe” (aka clean) material. We would record his performance, cutting to brief segments on the live show. We would then sell the DVD on future shows. I thought it might open up a new business where comedy and music artists would do exclusive live shows that we would record and sell.
Jackie often appeared almost naked on his comedy album and video covers. I suggested that for our DVD cover he would be photographed coming out of a washing machine with the soap suds covering enough to make it “G” rated. I suggested the title, “Jackie Comes Clean.”
I was able to contact Jackie, letting him know I wasn’t the decision maker, but could get him to the people at the Q. He was excited about the project. He sent me several of his Jokeland products, including the mug in the photo. It’s the only one that survived the 2 major moves I made since then.
The QVC buyers were enthusiastic about the project. Sadly, it was eventually rejected due to the family-oriented nature of the company. They rejected my proposed South Park and Aqua Teen Hunger Force shows for the same reason. (Cartman and Meatwad would have been great guests.)
I understand their reasons for canning the project. It was the 1990’s and America was still pretty uptight. Today, it might be different. I still think about “Jackie Comes Clean” some days and smile.
© 2021 Steve Bryant