Before Hulk Hogan and The Rock made it cool to transition from professional wrestling to show business, there was Johnny Valiant. Johnny’s wrestling career is highlighted by his two stints as WWF Tag Team champion (Hall of Famer at that) and his highly successful managerial career leading such greats as Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and the newly single “Hulkster. ” More recently, Johnny has made a name for himself as Carmine Lupertazzi’s bodyguard on The Sopranos, and as a stand-up comedian with a popular one-man show titled, “An Evening With Johnny Valiant” which he performs around New York and New Jersey. Johnny gave the pop a good chunk of his time recently to discuss his career, Paulie Walnuts, and the best mustaches in the history of wrestling (see sidebar from the other day).
Tell me a little about the stand up career and how it came to be.
I didn’t answer an add in the phone book and I didn’t have anybody teach me. I got my start at the east side comedy club out on long island. A guy I was commentating with in the WWF was bringing me to the airport after they let me go and he asked me what I was gonna do. He had me get in touch with his brother who worked at the east side comedy club and it went from there. Continue reading