This isn’t about politics; this is about New Jersey. I just watched one of the episodes of The States, a documentary that discusses the role and renown of each of the United States and is akin to the fine documentary named The Presidents. This episode was about my former home, the state in which I was born and where I resided for the first fifty years of my life: New Jersey. I’m still reeling from the humiliation.
I wasn’t humiliated because New Jersey’s role in American history has been minor or that it lacked contributions to the culture. The show talked a good deal about the role New Jersey played in the Revolutionary War, Washington’s crossing of the Delaware, Boardman’s Walk in Atlantic City (now known as “the Boardwalk”), and various other fine examples of New Jersey’s greatness. The humiliation wasn’t in what was said, but in who was saying it. You see, to my embarrassment, Joe Piscopo appeared a as kind of spokesperson for the state. Frequently, when someone does a show about New Jersey, somehow the immensely untalented Joe Piscopo’s fatuous mug winds up in front of a camera. Joe Frickin’ Piscopo.
New Jersey is the birthplace of some exceptionally talented and interesting people. Joe Piscopo isn’t one of them. Why is he always the one chosen to discuss New Jersey? Here’s a partial list of famous living New Jerseyans, each of whom has more talent in his or her laundry hamper than Joe Piscopo has displayed in his entire career:
Jon Bon Jovi, Sayreville
David Copperfield, Metuchen
Savion Glover, Newark
Lauryn Hill, South Orange
Whitney Houston, Newark
Jerry Lewis, Newark
Norman Mailer, Long Branch
Patricia McBride ballerina, Teanick
Jack Nicholson (Jack Nicholson, people…Nicholson), Neptune City
Philip Milton Roth author, Newark
Norman Schwarzkopf, Trenton
Kevin Spacey (Kevin Spacey, are you listening to me people?), South Orange
Bruce Springsteen, Freehold
Meryl Streep (Meryl Stre…oh I give up), Summit
Dionne Warwick, East Orange
Ray Liotta, Newark
I just hope that, the next time they need someone to act as a spokesperson for New Jersey, they get someone from that list and not haul out Joe Frickin’ Piscopo. I mean, c’mon, seriously? Frickin” Piscopo?
Oh, the humiliation.