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Joe Conklin bringing band to shore shows

Joe Conklin will be in Ocean City on July 15 and North Wildwood on July 22. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Few will have a better summer trip down the shore than the Conklins.

But it is a working holiday.

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Joe Conklin, the longtime Philly sports comedian, is taking his show on the road down the shore.

Conklin will bring the City Rhythm Orchestra to Ocean City this weekend, North Wildwood next. 

On Saturday, they’ll perform at the Ocean City Music Pier. The following week, Wildwood Catholic High School at 15th and Central avenues will be the site of the show.

And it’s a show everyone can enjoy.

You’ll get the normal jokes and voices that Conklin performs on stage during standup acts or each week when he performs on the WIP Morning Show, a station he’s been on since the early 1990s when he would do a segment for each week on the Jody McDonald Show.

But you’ll also get a story of the Philly sports fan, and great music from a talented orchestra.

“The show continues to evolve, I was trying to capture the experience of the Philadelphia sports fan through the years with my family,” said Conklin, who grew up in Olney and graduated from Cardinal Dougherty. “It’s special because I got my daughter singing, my brothers are singing, my niece is singing. It was an opportunity to put my family in the band. 

“We have assembled the finest musicians and singers in the country and the fact that some of them have the last name Conklin is purely coincidental. You can accuse me of nepotism.”

Even when Conklin does a show alone, you’re sure to hear from everyone out there, including Donald Trump, Charles Barkley, Charlie Manuel, Andy Reid, Bernie Sanders and anyone else in pop culture or Philly sports. And since Conklin will be there, they’ll all be there as well.

But it’s a much different show because he’s out there with an orchestra that includes a host of great musicians. The Ocean City show will include appearances by Flyers Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent and former Phillies pitcher Tommy Greene.

You’ll know the music, you’ll know the voices, but unless you’ve attended one of his shows with the orchestra, you’ve probably never seen a show like this.

“It’s like a variety show almost,” said Conklin, who has been featured all over the Philadelphia sports scene, including credits on NBA on TNT, NBC Sports, NFL Films and  ESPN. “The people seem to love it, it’s something different. It’s rah rah. It combines a lot of things that are important to people. 

“It’s about the fan experience. We got some older stuff, so you have the nostalgia we all love. I even pop in some hymns. Some of the songs we sang in church, my family grew up singing in the church choir, so we featured a couple of church hymns. It’s different, but it has something for everyone.”

Conklin has been doing the show for about two years, but it’s constantly changing, and constantly evolving. He stays busy working on that, while also continuing to do shots on the WIP Morning Show.

While many radio hosts try to be the voice of the fan, or try to pack as much sports information at you as possible to show how much they know, that wasn’t Conklin’s role.

Whether he was calling in on the Jody Mac show, a regular on the Morning Show when it was hosted by Angelo Cataldi and his sidekicks, or now with the new show, Conklin’s role was to entertain, make people laugh and have fun.

No different than what he plans to do in Ocean City and North Wildwood. 

“It’s summer, people are going on vacation and they want to have a good time, so I thought that would be perfect,” Conklin said. “We’re getting bigger, the show is pretty big, the band is big. It’s a big sound. It’s amazingly rewarding. It’s unbelievably rewarding because I’m doing it with family and friends. It’s brand new, as a comedian, you’re out there by yourself most of the time. I’m working with others and that’s been a fun experience.

“I come from a family of hams, both my parents sang. But to do it with my daughter (Casey), who is very talented, my brother John can kill it, my brother Jim was performing all the time so I wrote him into it. And my niece Jackie is very good, she’s in it, too. It’s blatant nepotism!” 

If you’re not shore bound, but love Conklin’s comedy, you can see him closer to home.

Every other Thursday, Conklin hosts Joe Conklin Comedy Night at Parx Casino.

“Parx is straight up stand up,” Conklin said. “And I’m the host there, so you’ll see me do standup and introduce the headliners. That’s every other Thursday. 

“We’ve been doing that for 10 years, we have some great comedians. It’s been very successful, Mike Baldini books the acts, that’s his baby and he does a great job getting great comedians.”

It’s a great job. And luckily he’s hitting the shore for a great vacation.

“It’s much different than people would expect from standup,” Conklin said. “First of all, standup has changed a lot. But this is a different animal, it’s more like a throwback. Who wouldn’t want to have a band behind them when they’re doing their act? 

“It’s just fun. I enjoy doing it, and the people have given good reviews. They’re down the shore, having fun and sharing a few laughs.”

For more information on his shows in Ocean City and Wildwood, as well as his shows at Parx, or to buy tickets to the shows, visit joeconklin.com.

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