This Is Interesting: Topical Jokes for Different Locales

Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO); 2/3/2004; Parker, Penny
Byline: Penny Parker, Rocky Mountain News

The laugh-line phone call threw me for a loop.

“Hi, this is Eric Kornfeld,” the caller said. “I’m a writer for Bette Midler, and Susan Stiff (JW Marriott’s PR pro) suggested I call you. She says you know everything that’s going on in town.”

Well, I try.

“When Bette comes into a town, she likes to tell jokes that are relevant to that city. Do you have time to help me?”

Did I ever.

For about 30 minutes on Friday, the day before Bette’s Pepsi Center concert, I fed Kornfeld Denver’s topical topics. We talked about where the rich “kids” live: Cherry Hills Village. We talked about the Jewish neighborhood where Midler’s “peeps” live: Hilltop. Where gays hang out: JR’s on 17th Avenue. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s quirky name and his parking-meter promises. John Elway’s imminent journey to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and his new restaurant.

I supplied the facts, Kornfeld added the funny.

“I go online and read about a city,” said Kornfeld, who’s been writing jokes for Midler for 3 1/2 years.

“I read the paper for a couple of days, but you can’t always find out what people are talking about from reading the newspaper. These arena jokes really have to be gotten by everyone.

They can’t be filled with subtleties.”

I know from reading Mike Pearson’s Monday review in the Rocky that Midler used some of our material. If you see me out and about, ask me about the JR’s joke that didn’t make the cut. It has to do with the Nuggets before Carmelo Anthony. Too bawdy for this space.

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