When the Pizza Delivery Guy is Joe Mantegna!
During my thirteen years producing the Mark and Brian Show I got to meet a lot of actors, rock stars and sports heroes, many of whom became good friends of the show. One of them was Joe Mantegna.
It all started one morning in October of 1999 when we were trying to cast the Jimmy Stewart role for the radio theater production of It’s a Wonderful Life. Mark and Brian were talking about it on the show when they got a call from a listener named Dan claiming he knew Joe Mantegna and that he probably could get him to come into the studio as a guest and that he might be interested in being a part of the radio theater play.
We would get a lot of calls – some legitimate and some not so much, so the boys asked Dan to hold on the line so I could speak to him and see how real this was. After talking for a few minutes with Dan, who sounded like a genuine person, I took a leap of faith and we decided to book a date in early November.
The morning of the appearance Mark and Brian asked me if Joe Mantegna was really coming into the studio. Despite a few lingering doubts, I said yes and was genuinely relieved when Officer Quarterman at the guard desk called at 8:45 am to let me know that Mr. Mantegna had arrived.
The rest is history. Mark and Brian threw out a big welcome mat that turned into a great interview with lots of laughs and the beginning of a long friendship with both Joe and Dan Ramm who had made this happen.
Joe came back many times whether it was to promote his TV series, Joan of Arcadia and Criminal Minds or to bring attention to our men and women in the military or any of his many projects. He never missed a Mark and Brian Celebrity Golf tournament and one year brought along his buddy Joe Pesci.
In 2007 we spent two weeks celebrating Mark and Brian’s twentieth year on KLOS and I arranged for surprise guests to just pop in all week long. I called Dan, who was now working with Joe, and asked if Joe could stop by.
Mark and Brian always liked to do the show with the studio door open so they could hear what was going on in the halls and the listeners could expect the unexpected to happen. So it wasn’t that surprising when they heard a voice shouting, “Pizza Delivery, Pizza Delivery” or that the pizza delivery guy was a regular guy carrying boxes of pizzas from Joe Mantegna’s Burbank restaurant, ‘Taste Chicago. What was surprising was that the pizza guy was our good friend, Joe Mantegna – a friendship that began years earlier when we took a leap of faith from who was then a random listener calling in and would continue for years to come.
Click for Joe at House of Blues
Click for “It’s A Wonderful Life”