THE LIGHTER SIDE — Comedians Marc Price and Mike Bova are bringing laughter and raising money for Rome Catholic School when they perform at Rome Capitol Theater, 220 W. Dominick St., on Friday Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. Price gained fame in the 1980’s for playing Irwin “Skippy” Handelman on the popular TV sitcom “Family Ties.” (Photo submitted)

Comedians to make stop in city to aid Rome Catholic School

Published Oct 16, 2017 at 4:00pm

Comedians Marc Price and Mike Bova are teaming up to lighten the mood, and lighten the financial burden of Rome Catholic School, when they perform at Rome Capitol Theater, 220 W. Dominick St., on Friday Oct. 27 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for VIP meet-and-greet. They include reserved prime seating and a photograph and autograph meeting with Price and Bova. Tickets are also $20 for Artist Circle seating with select seating ranging in the first 13 rows; and $15 reserved admission. There is an additional $2 box office/theater restoration fee at the time of purchase.

The Capitol Theatre may be reached at 315-337-6453 or www.romecapitol.com.

Rome Catholic School, 400 Floyd Ave., is a private, co-education school that provides education, based on Roman Catholic values, to students from pre-school through sixth grade. 

“There are two things I can say about the show that night,” Price, who became famous for portraying Irwin “Skippy” Handelman on the popular TV sitcom “Family Ties” in the 1980’s, said. “The first is it will feature funny awkward moments from my teenage years. The second is that if you don’t like the show there will be no refund.”

Bova is a local comedian who is gaining national exposure. He organized the 17-city “Awkward Adult Years Tour” which includes the stop in Rome, and Price is confident their chemistry will have their audience in stitches.

“This was all Mike’s idea,” Price said. “He is a good comedian, he is high-energy and is very funny.”

The tour will also help one of Price’s old friends; all of the proceeds from merchandise sales will go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Fox is an accomplished actor who was Price’s co-star on “Family Ties.” He has struggled with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects the body’s motor system, since 1991. The foundation helps research and advocate for a cure for the disease.

Despite their good intentions Price joked he is worried about what may happen during the tour.

“The tour begins on Friday the 13th and ends on Halloween. Very spooky,” he said.

Comedy heritage

Price moved from stand-up to films playing spooky characters. He starred in the horror comedies “Trick-R-Treat” in 1986 and “Killer Tomatoes Eat France” in 1991. His “Trick-R-Treat” co-stars included Gene Simmons of KISS and heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne.

“During filming people didn’t know what to expect from Ozzy, but he is a good-hearted individual,” Price said. “A friend of mine asked me to get merchandise for a teenager who could not attend a concert in Michigan for medical reasons. I called Ozzy’s wife Sharon in England, and they showed up at the kid’s house in a limo.”

New Jersey-native Price had done stand-up for several years before “Family Ties.” His biggest influence was his father, comedian Al Bernie. “My father started in mimicry. He could do impressions, he could tell jokes, he was good-looking,” Price said.

Price accompanied his father among resorts in the Catskills region.

“In the early 1970’s homes in New York City had no air conditioning so they went to the Catskills,” Price said.

“All these resorts had volleyball, tennis courts, buffets and shows. They were like cruise ships on land,” he said.

Bernie introduced Price to Ed Sullivan, Jerry Lewis and Milton Berle. Price once sold a joke to Berle before a performance.

“They had decorated one resort with carpet on the walls. I told Berle he should say they decorated using wall-to-wall carpeting,” Price said. “He ended up using another line. He said Stevie Wonder had decorated the place.”

Price said he misses the atmosphere of the Catskills resorts. “It’s a bygone era. All these places are torn down,” he said. “I tried a few years ago to perform in some of those old resorts. I called up one resort and they had converted it into a religious retreat. They were surprised I called, to say the least.”

Serious commitment to a funny business

During his stand-up days Price opened up for a younger generation of comedians. “I opened up for Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld,” he said. “It was interesting I had a sitcom and wanted more stand-up. and they were stand-up comedians who wanted more TV exposure. It was an interesting dynamic. Seinfeld was very professional. He wore this expensive watch that went off when it was time to write jokes. Even if they were bad jokes he would write. He stayed committed to his craft.”

Price has shown similar commitment to his work. He has appeared in comedy tours including Comic Relief with Billy Crystal and Whoop Goldberg and the Green Collar Comedy Tour, which uses comedy to promote environmental awareness.

Price said he is concerned about the hard times facing the country, citing the recent Las Vegas mass shooting as an example. “They are moving us one step closer to Armageddon on the Apocalypse Clock,” he said. “We should have a good news network. The stories would be normal ones like “Man Catches Fish” or “Man Gets Up and Goes to Work.”