'Blue Bloods' shoots season finale at Jackie Martling's Bayville home
Wherever he hangs his hat, that’s his Jokeland.
“I always say the first Jokeland was my mother's attic in East Norwich because that's where I started the whole comedy thing,” says former Howard Stern head writer Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling, now of Bayville, whose house appears in the season finale of CBS’ “Blue Bloods,” airing Friday at 10 p.m. “And then wherever I lived, it kind of moved with me. And now I call my property here Jokeland. I guess it's got more jokes than any other place,” he says of his metaphorical miles of files.
The current Jokeland, where the police family drama “Blue Bloods” shot part of “Forgive Us Our Trespasses,” is a roughly 2,800-square-foot, three-bedroom house on a nearly 1/3-acre lot between Long Island Sound and Mill Neck Creek. Martling, 75, lives there with his girlfriend, Barbara Klein. His ex-wife, Nancy Sirianni, from whom he was separated in 2001 and divorced several years later, “lives two doors away,” he says. “And she and her boyfriend are our best friends, which people can't believe.”
The season 13 closer of “Blue Bloods” finds NYPD Det. Danny Reagan (Donny Wahlberg) — the elder son of second-generation Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) — and his detective partner, Maria Baez (Marisa Ramirez), seeking help on a murder investigation from Danny’s former partner, Jackie Curatola (Jennifer Esposito, who was forced off the show in 2012 after three seasons when the network would not accommodate a reduced schedule for her due to her celiac disease).
Part of the story finds Danny and Jackie in chairs on the beach — not prop chairs, as it turned out, but actually Martling’s own. A scene had been scheduled to shoot on his deck, where, he explains, “I have an old teak table and chairs that I’ve had since long before I was married [in the 1980s], and they said, ‘Jackie, I don't think we can use them, they're kind of shot.’ Next thing I know, they’ve got their own tables and two Adirondack chairs, quality stuff — and they wound up shooting on the beach what they were going to shoot on the deck, and so [the actors] wound up sitting in the old teak chairs!”
It gets better — Martling got to keep the prop tables and chairs. “They said, ‘You know what? It's the last show of the season. We're not going to put this in storage. You guys just keep it.’ So they give us all this beautiful furniture.”
In addition to the home’s exterior, the production also shot inside. The episode included “a huge confrontation in the kitchen,” Martling says. “I don't want to give anything away, but they filled in the back story of exactly why they wound up at the location.” They also shot a scene in one of his second-floor bedrooms, but in the episode that scene does not take place in Martling’s house.
“Blue Bloods” isn't the only production to have filmed at the house, which property records say was built in 1923 and bought by Martling in August 2000. Jokeland has also been used for episodes of Showtime’s 2014-19 drama series “The Affair,” the current HBO Max sitcom “The Other Two” and the 2018-19 CBS drama “Instinct,” starring Alan Cumming as a former CIA operative helping the NYPD.
“ ‘The Affair’ shot almost a whole episode here,” the Mineola-born and East Norwich-raised Martling recalls. “It’s a birthday party for the 5-year-old girl at the center of ‘The Affair,’ and so they had pony rides, a million people and a huge birthday cake. An entire party at Jokeland. And so I have a TV show about an entire party at my home — but there's nobody I know at the party!”