Each week we embark upon our scheduled lineup of interviews, and if you’ve been reading ShoreBread for a while than you know that those interviews can range from an inside look at the Maryland State Police EMT helicopters to a glutinous sampling of fresh out of the oven pizza at Sello’s. We never know what we’re going to learn about a local business or event, but we were pretty sure we had seen it all until we sat down with comedian/magician/ventriloquist/illusionist John Lombardi last week and were treated to one of the more entertaining lunches in ShoreBread history. Between the impromptu magic displays and the constant flow of comic relief, we quickly realized why Lombardi has made a successful career out of entertaining the masses.
Let’s back up a few paces and bring you up to speed. One of our readers tipped us off to the nightly comedy show that The Blue Ox has been featuring this summer, putting us in contact with the mastermind behind the show. It’s not often that we get asked to lunch by the subjects of our articles so we gladly obliged, interested to see how an interview with a comedian would play out. Lombardi, whose stage name is Gemini, can be found on-stage at The Blue Ox, seven nights a week, for his Looney Bin Comedy Show. In addition to the adult-content comedy shows that are held nightly at 9pm, Lombardi also puts on a G-rated show geared towards family and kids, which is held on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7pm. If he sounds like a jack of all trades, well he is, and mere minutes into our conversation it became abundantly clear that not only was Lombardi overflowing with natural talent, but he genuinely loves every second of it.
“He puts on a great show and he has fun with the group which is what really separates him from other comics,” said his assistant Maggie, who joined Lombardi’s show this summer along with her boyfriend, Bobby. In addition to serving as Lombardi’s assistants on stage, they also provide live music throughout the act. “It’s live music to magic and you leave laughing,” said Lombardi, hitting the proverbial nail precisely on the head. Live music, magic, laughter…sounds like a recipe for a perfect evening out.
Lombardi has traveled all over the country performing for a wide range of audiences, focusing primarily on casino comedy clubs over the past few years. His career got its first start when he was just a young boy living in Brooklyn hanging out on street corners. Fast forward a few years later and Lomabardi is laboring through a union strike at ABC, halfheartedly waving a picket sign when a grander idea struck him. Lombardi quickly grabbed a sound guy and a light guy and started putting on shows in Central Park. “I just started winging it and thought, what a blast,” said Lombardi as he regaled us with memories from his early days as a street performer. It wasn’t long before ABC caught wind of his park act and decided to capitalize on their hidden gem.
Over the years Lombardi’s show has grown from a comedy show to include ventriloquism (which Lombardi learned as a child), magic, illusion, and now music. “There is no better thing then to laugh,” said Lombardi…and we couldn’t agree more.
It was that same notion that drove local businessman and The Blue Ox owner Steve Pappas to bring Lombardi to Ocean City this summer. Pappas was looking for a unique draw that would offer locals and visitors a fun option for a night out in Ocean City. After seeing Lombardi’s show at the Borgata in Atlantic City, he knew he had found what he was looking for. And so far, the idea has been gold, with both the family and adult show gaining popularity with each passing week. What’s more, it’s a great deal. Adult shows are $20, while the cost for kids is $10. Or opt for the dinner and a show ticket for $24.99.
Enjoy the show! And tell Johnny ShoreBread sent you!