Bay Street Theatre’s Forth of July weekend lineup (July 2) includes the comedic genius of Richard Belzer, as well as the musical talents of Joe Delia & the Thieves, and his band whose song “Under the Montauk Moon” is getting serious play on local radio stations. Belzer is known to many as John Munch, a role he plays as a regular cast member on the NBC police drama series “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” However, Belzer has been a successful stand-up comedian since the ‘70s, and he has just returned from vacationing in France to prepare himself for the lively crowd that Bay Street always provides.
Belzer was born in Bridgeport, CT, and graduated from nearby Andrew Warde High School in Fairfield. He attended Dean Jr. College in Massachusetts for a few years and was extremely active in the student protests of that era—so active, it is reported, he was asked to leave. However, after leaving college and losing his college deferment he did indeed spend a short time in the U.S. Army. Afterward, he was a newspaper reporter for the Bridgeport Press, studied and taught Yoga for a while, and then found his calling in show business.
A newbie on the rugged stand-up comedy scene of the ‘70s, Belzer won over audiences with his dry-witted deadpan delivery that incorporated an understanding of the intelligence and vulnerability of the audience. Today he attracts sold-out crowds and is so worth the price of admission wherever he performs!
The second part of the Baystreet show will feature the music of Joe Delia & Thieves. In an interview about the upcoming booking, Delia took time off from recording upstate to say that he has had a great working relationship/friendship with Belzer since the ‘70s. Delia lauds his wife P.J. for being instrumental “in getting the band once again off the ground on so many levels.” The couple took some time off from touring to raise their teenage son, with Delia doing movie scores to pay the bills. He enjoys that his work is “a family affair” due to P.J.’s “invaluable” attention.
P.J. says that Delia looks like Mick Jagger but doesn’t use the likeness to his advantage. Delia was told this by Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits way back in the ‘60s, at a time when Delia actually played with Keith Richards. After touring all over the world, Delia married a woman (P.J.) who grew up in Montauk and went to East Hampton High School. They spend half their time in Montauk, having owned property there for decades, but, interestingly, Delia only attempted to take up surfing this year.
Some of Delia’s film scores have been featured in films in the Hamptons International Film Festival, and he is one of NOVA/PBS’s favorite composers. P.J. also mentioned that her husband has been on stage with Bruce Springsteen a few times, including one time with Bon Jovi, as well as another time when The Boss showed up as a surprise at one of Delia’s shows. Recently he did a benefit with Paul Shaffer, Nathan Lane, Martin Short and Jimmy Fallon that raised over $5 million for children’s charities. And for trivia freaks, Delia and his brothers shared a manager for a time with the Beatles—Sid Bernstein—who introduced Delia before the Beatles went on at Shea Stadium.
Belzer and Delia will provide a wonderful evening during the Fourth of July weekend: they are a couple of pros that have been down many interesting roads, alone and together. So get to the Bay Street Theatre on Saturday, July 2, at 7 p.m., for an evening of indoor fireworks in the form of stand-up comedy by Richard Belzer and music by Joe Delia & Thieves. [/expand]