Jackie Martling's "Joke Man" documentary will screen at Stony Brook's Long...

Jackie Martling's "Joke Man" documentary will screen at Stony Brook's Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame on Saturday. Credit: WireImage/Paul Zimmerman

Comedian Jackie Martling will host a screening of the documentary about his life, “Joke Man,” Saturday at 7 p.m. at Stony Brook's Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.

“My college roommate, he's out in Michigan, and he saw the documentary,” which had debuted on digital platforms on July 18, “and he said, ‘I love it and it's so honest, but aren't you a little concerned about your life being so exposed?’ I said, ‘For 18 years I was cut open and dissected in front of the entire country on the [Howard] Stern [radio] show’” — where Martling wrote and performed from 1983 until a falling out in 2001 — “’So there's very little that people don't know.’” And anything else can be found in his 2017 autobiography, “The Joke Man: Bow to Stern.”

The Mineola-born and East Norwich-raised Martling, 75, who lives in Bayville in a house he’s aptly dubbed Jokeland, will introduce the movie and do a Q&A afterward, moderated by Tom Needham of WUSB/90.1 FM’s “The Sounds of Film.” The $35 ticket includes both this event and admission to the Hall of Fame and its recently installed Billy Joel exhibit.

Also, a Martling meet-and-greet. “Yeah,” he says, “once you pay your money, you're in, you've got the screening and you're stuck with me and I'll probably tackle you if you try to leave.”

LIMEHOF’s ticketing page for the event cautions, “For mature audiences.” It’s safe to assume anyone familiar with longtime comic Martling, who continues to do stand-up gigs, is aware that he, in the parlance of the profession, works blue. Sometimes in his act he challenges audience members to try to stump him with a topic for which he has no joke. Almost invariably, he’ll have one — and almost invariably, it would make a hardened pirate blush.

Directed by Martling’s former radio partner Ian Karr, “Joke Man” can be rented on Vimeo or bought on DVD after no longer being available via iTunes, Vudu and other online stores. “It went away, and I don't want to discuss it,” the normally upbeat Martling says resignedly. “I don't want to give the people that were involved any credence.”

The people interviewed for the documentary, however, are another story — they include such names as Mark Cuban, Willie Nelson, Penn Jillette and Sean Young. Asking Martling how they came to be involved sets off delightful anecdotes at greater length than can fit in a short article, but which audience members at LIMEHOF can surely squeeze out of him.

Cuban, for instance, speaks in the documentary of his debt to Martling, which the comedian says is from a helping hand lent gratis to Cuban’s 1995 internet startup Audionet.com — what CNBC has described as “the company that made him a billionaire.” At the end of Martling’s wonderfully winding story comes a poignant punch line: “And he was just like Howard: He's very thankful, but there was no check in the mail.”

Martling’s sanguine. “I make plenty of money performing,” he says. But, “People say, 'Where would you be if you hadn't met Howard Stern?’ And I say, ‘Where would Howard Stern be if he hadn't have met me?’ Which sounds so pompous, but I put his show on another level. … Someone once told me, ‘I listened to Howard every day, and then [later] I heard him with you on the show. Before you, Howard was outrageous and funny, but since you, he's funny and outrageous.’ And if you lead with the funny,” Martling says, “the outrageous is so much easier for people to swallow.”

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