Bobby Collins is making his way back to Bay Street this summer to perform as part of the Sag Harbor-based Theater’s Comedy Club.
We caught up with the hysterical California and New York-based comedian mere minutes after he arrived home from a show in the South. “I just got in. I was just in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,” Collins told us. “It was fun. Those Southern people… you know they’re for Donald Trump? I had to tell them the truth. I go, ‘I’d rather vote for El Chapo than Donald Trump. There’s a reason why they let John Hinckley Jr. out early.’ They almost died.”
So do you address the election in your performances normally?
BC: Oh, yes. You have to. Your job is to entertain and make them laugh, but it’s also to educate. People don’t know. You know, I’ve worked for Donald Trump five times. This guy is the biggest con artist you can ever imagine. I was brought up in Manhattan – I live in California and Manhattan – but I see it clear. You have to look into other people. People don’t look into other people, which freaks me out.
What do you mean by work for?
BC: I’ve performed at his hotels, and I’ve done shows where he’s introduced me. You know how you can look someone in the eyes and go, “Oh my God.” This is a guy you see on 42nd Street playing three card monte? “Keep your eye on the red card. Keep your eye on the black card,” Collins says in a heavy New York accent.
Did you ever, in your wildest dreams, think he would run for President?
BC: No, never. But it’s a sad commentary on us, as people.
What’s your opinion about Hillary Clinton?
BC: I wouldn’t let her hold my wallet. And why she wears those Captain Kangaroo outfits, I don’t get it.
Then what do you think the country should do?
BC: I’m from New York so we don’t believe in government. Government is you go to your post office. There’s an example of your government. “Stamps, who wants stamps?” Collins says in an exaggerated New York accent. Pay your taxes, wear a helmet, stay low. If I had in my druthers of either one of them, I guess I’d go, I don’t know, I’m not a voter, but I’d go for Hillary because you like Bill for the economy. I’ve performed at the White House. I’ve met many politicians. After you shake their hand you want to clean yourself with a chicken.
What other topics will you cover?
BC: Do people not have mirrors in their homes anymore? And we gotta go and talk about that. Everything from the guy on the subway – sitting real close to me – and I look at him real close and he’s got wheels in his ears! And he looks at me and goes, “What?” So I said, “Sir, you got wheels in your ears.” He goes, “You like them?” I go, “Sir, you’ve got little stagecoach wheels in your ears.” He had a sports jacket on, so I go, “Where are you going?” He said, “I’m going on a job interview.” So I said, “Look at my lips, you’re not going to get the job!” And he said to me, “Why not?” I said, “You’ve got fucking wheels in your ears!” But, they don’t care. And the women, nowadays, with the fashion – they think that big butt is something. When I was a kid we called that fat ass. So, we have a lot to talk about. The average two-year-old can unlock an iPhone and go to the apps they play with. When I was two, I got my tongue caught on an ice tray. “Moooommmmmmm, mom,” Collins shouts in a child-like voice. See what I mean?
And you started off in the fashion industry. What made you decide to risk your career for a try at comedy?
BC: I always wanted to do comedy, but it provided me with a good life because Calvin Klein, they picked out people – like an actor or comic – that they saw in the person, that personality for sales. You know, they didn’t particularly go for sales people, and I did it for a year-and-a-half, became Executive Vice President, and then that was it. If I stuck with it, I’d change my name to Murray, move down to Florida, have a white belt and white shoes and referee shuffle board tournaments.
What made you want to become a comedian?
BC: I grew up really poor in New York and my father worked long hours. My mother was a waitress, and the only thing I saw them laugh at or saw bring them joy was watching Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights. I would turn around and see them laughing and I was like, “I can do this.” I was the funny guy anyways, so that’s what I wanted to do and I never looked back.
Did you use your parents as an audience when you were first starting out?
BC: No. They came to see me once – I do about 45 theaters a year – before my father passed away he came and saw me in a big theater. I got a standing ovation so he was so proud, and he would send me stories that he thought I could use for comedy.
So this will be your third time at Bay Street. Why do you like performing there?
BC: I do the whole year out in different places, so when you come back to the Northeast, especially Long Island – we moved when we were young to New Hyde Park – so we have the same sensibilities. When I go back to Long Island, I just get to talk about everywhere I’ve been. Lancaster, Pennsylvania – I walked out on the stage and some lady hollered, “Hey Bobby, how come you never come here?” “Electricity,” I said. They’re all Amish. Birmingham, Alabama – not that high up on brain mountain. When you talk to them, you want to say, “Why don’t you roll your head around so I can hear that marble going around and around.” Then they hide behind religion. “Bless your heart,” Collins sweetly mimics. “Fuck you,” he not so sweetly responds. See what I mean? We have a lot to talk about and I can air it all out on Long Island, because we all have the same sensibility.
Since you’re a New York native, does that add more pressure when you perform out here?
BC: Not at all because everybody out there wants to hear that they’re intelligent, educated people. We have the same sensibilities. I’m an author, I have six CDs, three DVDs. I toured with Cher, Julio [Iglesias], Dolly [Parton], [Frank] Sinatra, so when I come out there, my audience is like “just tell us what’s going on out there” and we go off. It’s my job to come back and report, and we have fun reporting.
Besides your comedy tour, do you have any other projects you’re working on?
BC: I have a book tour coming up. They want to combine that eventually with the theaters that I work at.
You can see Bobby Collins at Bay Street Theater on Monday, August 29th at 8 p.m. Tickets are $72.
Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.