ROCHESTER - Comedian Lenny Clarke's humor is eclectic and unpredictable, self-deprecating and in-your-face, tender and edgy.
In other words, with Lenny Clarke, you know you're going to laugh; you just don't know what you'll be laughing about.
"I'm a lunatic," he said on Friday during a phone conversation with The Lebanon Voice. "I say what's on my mind, that's how I feel."
Over the years he's used controversial subjects like immigration, even terrorism, politics and global warming for comedic fodder, but he's just as comfortable dealing with relationships between men and women or growing up Catholic for a laugh or two, he said.
He said he might be doing some stuff with those relationships, maybe even diving into the connection between relationships and Facebook when he comes to the Rochester Opera House this coming Friday.
"I've heard from a lot of old friends on Facebook recently," he said. "From friends I haven't seen in years. It was very funny. One girl who contacted me looked great; another I was like 'what happened to you.'"?
Clarke said he got his first big break when he was discovered by superstar comic Rodney Dangerfield, who cast him in his Nothing Goes Right TV movie in 1988 along with another famous comedian, Andrew Dice Clay.
Clarke said when Clay began touring some larger venues, his opening act comic was having a rough go, so Clay called him.
"Andrew's opening guy was getting booed, so I took over," Clarke said. "We did Arizona and packed in 3,200, then St. Louis for 5,000, then 7,000 in Chicago and 28,000 in New York. "I'd still be opening for him, but he was too cheap.
"Yeah, you can quote me on that," he adds.
Clarke has appeared in many films like There's Something About Mary, where he plays the firefighter who finds Ted in serious trouble in the bathroom early in the film, as well as Fever Pitch, Me, Myself and Irene; and Southie. He's also starred on TV shows like "The Job," "The John Larroquette Show" and in the recurring role as Uncle Teddy on the FX comedy drama "Rescue Me."
Clarke's humor draws much on life experience like growing up going to parochial school and his Boston roots.
In the 1980s he was known as one of the top Boston saloon comics, often collaborating with other Boston funny men like Steven Wright and Denis Leary.
Other comics he's inspired by include Dangerfield, Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Sam Kennison.
Comedian Tumbling Jack Walsh will open for Clarke Friday at the Rochester Opera House, which will be hosting Clarke for the first time.
The show, which is Rated R, begins at 8 p.m. For tickets, click here.