January 30th, 2012 15:24 EST
Gay Comedian Bobby Haha Discusses Life Being Gay and Comedy on The American Perspective
A lot of people have this view that all gay people are like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy` " soft, flowery interior decorator types. That`s not the case. There are also real men out here like me " hardcore funny men that happen to be gay. " " Bobby HaHa
With a name like Bobby Haha, a man better be funny "but Robert Hanley does that one better: he`s funny ha ha " AND funny that way! " Bronx-born/Brooklyn reared Bobby Haha has the perfect resume to be the world`s first hardcore tough guy gay comic. He served his country in the United States Marines, was a money runner for the mob, a dealer and player in the underground poker world, did 5 years in prison, and even dated women. It all makes for the most unique comedy experience on the circuit today. There`s only one Bobby Haha and after you`ve caught his act, your ribs, bladder and keester will be thankful that there aren`t two or more.
Bobby HaHa has performed to standing ovations (of varying types) all over New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and other hot spots for comedy. He rocked in a coup podcast of The Comedy Speakeasy. " Top comics such as Mike Vecchione, Rob Shapiro and Dustin Chafin have gladly shared stages him because he`s funny and in no way a threat or competition. So stuff your pink Cadillac. Bobby Haha is a souped-up Hummer barreling down the byways in an off color/off road lane all his own. One of the greatest compliments I ever got was from an Orthodox Jewish woman at the Spy Club on 19th Street in Manhattan, " Bobby mistily recalls. After my show she came over and said, "Tonight, I heard the most vile disgusting things ever in all my life "but out of your mouth it wasn`t so bad!` "
I knew I wanted to be a stand-up comedian from the time I was 12 years-old, " Bobby confesses. My first hero was Henny Youngman " Mr. "Take my wife, please` - the king of the one liners! He was also known for the joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice!` Henny used to eat at the Carnegie Deli every day. I went in one time just to meet him. I got an autograph then started talking to him. I had so much fun, two weeks later I decided to go "meet` him again. He gave me that look like, "Not this kid again!` I walk up and say, "Hey Henny, how do I get to Carnegie Hall?` He goes, "You walk out the door, make a left and keep walkin` " and don`t come back!` From the time I was born in 1958, I`ve always been a clown. I had such a hyper/manic personality that I was on 90% of the time. "
When Bobby came of age, he served in the U.S. Marines. Following an honorable discharge, he worked for The Mob as an enforcer. " He wound up doing a 5-year bid in the New York State Department of Corrections for armed robbery and unlawful imprisonment. After he was released, he went out on a date that changed his life. When I first got out of prison, I was gonna go back to dating women, " he states. I showed up about 5 minutes behind schedule for my first date with this girl. She shot me a look and sniffed, "You`re late!` I said, "I`m sorry, there was traffic.` With her girlfriend sitting on the porch watching, the girl told me, "Well, it better not happen again!` I looked at her like, "Are you kidding me?!` I drove off and went to a gay bar instead " and that was the end of girls for me. "
On his first gay experience, Haha dishes, I was dating this Chinese girl. She had a brother and whenever I was at her house, he would always come over and bother me saying, "I wanna give you a blow job.` I`d always say, "Get away from me ya sick bastard` " but in a nice way. It never really bothered me but one day I went over " this is before cell phones " and the girl wasn`t home. He said I could come in and wait for her but she wouldn`t be back for 5 hours. Then he comes with the blow job business again and for some reason my dick started getting hard. He said, "Ooo look, it`s hard "lemme suck it.` I thought, "What the fu*#, why not?` I enjoyed it! I didn`t do it again for years until that incident with the girl on the porch. I just didn`t want to be aggravated any more. Some people are born gay. I`m gay by choice. "
It was during his time in the underground poker world that Bobby felt his childhood yearning to be a comic return stronger than ever. I got into poker as a player and a dealer in illegal card rooms in New York. I did very well in a couple of tournaments. I started thinking about how I`d always wanted to do stand-up. Most of the comics I saw on TV sucked. I figured it was now or never for me to give it a shot. I`d been getting laughs all my life. "
Bobby`s first step: Comedy School. I took a 1-week night class from 7 to 9 P.M. with 12 others. Our "final` was 5 minutes on-stage by Saturday night. I was already funny but I learned the rules of comedy " how to handle a stage and deal with an audience. I did my 5 minutes at Caroline`s on Broadway in Manhattan and got a standing ovation. Everyone else in the class bombed. I said, "This is for me!` Then I enrolled in a 1-year program but got kicked out by the third month. I kinda harshly critiqued this woman for telling a bad joke about (rock star) Ted Nugent as a bald, fat guy. When she said, "Shut up, you don`t know what you`re talking about,` I told her, "F#$k you, you disgusting, unfunny fat ugly bitch!` It was no secret I had been in prison, so because I came off threatening they threw me out. I got my tuition back, though. I told `em, "If you don`t give me back all of my money, I`ll revert back to my old ways!` "
While independently making the rounds to local New York comedy houses trying to catch some bookings, Bobby met veteran comic Al Martin, owner of the Broadway Comedy Club, the New York Improv and the New York Comedy Club, among others. When the subject turned to poker and Martin found out Bobby was an ace, in exchange for lessons Martin booked Bobby in all of his nightclubs " jackpot! The Bobby Haha persona began to take shape. My brother John gave me the name. It`s real catchy. People see me on the street and yell, "A-yo Haha!` No other comic was doing what I do so naturally. And I can do it clean with no cursing or filthy as they come. "
Along with Henny Youngman, Bobby`s comic heroes are Rodney Dangerfield (for his rapid fire barrage of jokes) and Richard Pryor. I respected Pryor for having the guts to tell stories about himself that weren`t always in the best of lights. The bit where he has a conversation with his own heart attack is pure genius. " Fusing the essence of those inspirations with his own highly personalized perspectives on s[e]x acts and street life, Bobby Haha has been knocking folks flat on their asses since 2005. Andy Ruther of the radio show The Sports Zoo " once assessed, Half the audience is scared to death of ya while the other half is falling out of their chairs dying from laughter. " Al Martin himself once boasted, I`ve known Bobby Haha for years. He has a unique outlook on comedy like none I`ve ever seen. "
Two of Bobby`s greatest performances ever could not be more different. One night during a snow storm at 2 in the morning, I performed at New York Comedy Club for an audience of two nasty bitter drunks " one on one side, the other on the other " and made them both laugh. Getting those two miserable fu#$s to laugh was a major achievement! " The second greatest performance for Bobby " whose regular audience, surprisingly, is primarily straight " was at 28th Street`s notorious The Eagle: a hardcore gay S&M leather bar. The owner, who swears he never laughed at a comedian ever, hired me after seeing my act, " Bobby beams. He booked me for The Eagle`s 40th Anniversary Bash and the place was jammed from wall-to-wall. When I took the stage, the guy directly in front of me was wearing nothing but a pair of combat boots, a cock ring and a condom on his dick - so it could hang out legally. I actually killed there " stopped a packed place full of fudge packers in their tracks and just slayed `em! I tell ya, to kill in a place where people have come in search of s[e]x, not comedy, is really saying something! "
Bobby Haha hopes to have his own sitcom, movie and stand-up cable comedy special very soon. Until then, as his old neighborhood buddy and author Peter Alson wrote of Bobby in the chapter A Senior Moment " from his book Take Me to The River, " I found (Bobby) to be the most entertaining of his brothers "particularly after he decided to become "The World`s Toughest Card Playing Ex-Con Gay Stand-Up Comedian! "
On his favorite method of sticking it to people right in the keester, Bobby Haha concludes, I like to mess around with my audience but without really hurting anybody`s feelings. Like, if there`s a fat person in the audience, I won`t make fun of them because they`re fat. I`ll find some other way to insult them - just to screw with `em! I look at it like a challenge. "
For More Information: http://bobbyhaha.com/