The mysteries, history, urban myths and local legends of Long Island get explored in two comedians' new podcast "Long Island Explained With Chris Roach and Steve Belanger."
"Everybody knows Long Island. The whole country knows Long Island," says stand-up comic and actor Belanger, 53, of Wantagh. "We're so well-known in popular culture that I think Chris and I will have plenty of stuff to talk about."
The first two weekly podcasts have covered Roach himself — a recurring player on fellow Long Island native Kevin James' defunct series "Kevin Can Wait," and the creator of the song-parody video "Ronkokomo" — and the Amityville Horror. "People I know knew the DeFeos," the real-life family from the haunted house that inspired a book and several horror movies, says Roach, 50, who was born in Queens but has lived in Lake Ronkonkoma and Ronkonkoma since age 5. "I remember being a kid and going past the house. A lot of these things are all very personal to me.”
"How I know Long Island as someone from New York and Massachusetts is different from how Chris knows it," says Belanger, a Fall River, Massachusetts, native who later lived in Manhattan. "Chris has been here his whole life. I'm a transplant. I've been here 20 years. Married a girl from Wantagh, so now I'm out here forever," he riffs. "Her whole family lives within a 15-minute radius of me. It's my own little Bermuda Triangle that I'll never get out of." The former magazine-publishing executive and his wife, Kelly, an office manager in Melville, have 8- and 11-year-old sons.
Roach graduated from Sachem High School North in 1986 before attending Suffolk County Community College for a time. Coming from a family of police officers, he became one himself "for about two years," he recalls. "I always had a problem writing someone a ticket for an amount I knew I couldn't afford." He was also was a softie. "One time, this guy, I had handcuffs on him — DUI — and he was hungry and wasn't feeling too good, so we took him to Wendy's. I remember feeding him chicken nuggets and French fries — because he's in handcuffs!" laughs Roach, who with his hairdresser wife, Diane, has a son, Andrew, 26.
The two comics paired for the podcast after mutual acquaintances from "Kevin Can Wait" suggested they'd be funny together. "In true Long Island fashion," says Roach, "we met at a diner," specifically the Forum in Bay Shore. "We kept meeting and getting along, so it seemed a natural fit."