“Stuttering John” Melendez is returning to Long Island this weekend, but he won’t be asking celebrities outrageous questions as he did on “The Howard Stern Show” — he’ll be delivering razor-sharp punchlines. The North Massapequa native will be doing stand-up at The Brokerage in Bellmore on Friday and Saturday.
“I always wanted to do stand-up comedy but I’d stutter on every joke. Then I had an epiphany,” says Melendez, 52. “I figured if I could ask a celebrity about their bowel movements, I should certainly be able to go up on stage and tell some jokes.”
Melendez calls his comedy “R-rated, not X-rated,” discussing everything from being a stutterer, to his infamous interviews on the Stern show, to being married then divorced, to having kids. His humor is self-deprecating, but he also goofs on celebrities.
“I stay away from politics because the country is so divided,” says Melendez, who now resides in Calabasas, California. “I don’t want to alienate people.”
His encore after serving as the announcer and staff writer for Jay Leno’s “Tonight” show for 10 years is to run for U.S. senator of California in an effort to unseat Dianne Feinstein, 84.
“I think we need some new blood in there,” says Melendez, who recently landed a book deal for his memoir. “The middle class is what holds this country together. I want to represent them and change people’s lives for the better. I think we have enough Republicans representing the top 1 percent.”
Melendez acknowledges that he’s a long shot, but that doesn’t deter him.
“People laughed at Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono, Clint Eastwood, Al Franken and Jesse Ventura,” he says. “If anybody knows how to win it’s me. I’m looking forward to the fight.”
But this weekend Melendez is looking forward to grabbing a slice at Pappalardo’s Pizza Cove in Massapequa or maybe even swinging by La Bussola in Glen Cove for a stuffed artichoke.
“I love Long Island. It’s my home and very special to me,” he says. “I hope to move back someday.”