ZUMBROTA — Not many days before Jay Leno brings his stand-up act to Mayo Civic Center, another comic of a certain vintage has his show coming to Crossings at Carnegie.
Jimmie Walker, who portrayed “J.J.” in the 1970s sitcom “Good Times,” performs Saturday night starting at 8. (Doors open at 7.) Opening act is Brad Reeder, a comedian, magician and juggler.
Walker, 68, is best known — and, let’s be frank, to many of us only known — for his “Good Times” catchphrase, “Dyn-o-mite!”
He deserves better. Walker’s 1975 comedy album went Gold and he was dubbed “comedian of the decade” in Time magazine; he appeared on “The Tonight Show,” “Match Game” and dozens of shows in the 1970s and ’80s; and he had roles in a handful of films including the cult classic “Airplane!”
The kicker: Though Walker this weekend is playing smaller area venue than Leno will next week, he in fact helped give Leno his start, as a joke writer for Walker’s own stage act in the 1970s, Walker wrote in his 2012 autobiography. (Walker similarly “discovered” Leno’s late-night rival David Letterman, he says in the book.)
“Leno was the absolute best punch-up comic,” Walker wrote. “Many times a joke would be close but not quite there. Something would be missing or needed to be tweaked for it to work. Jay was a master at that. He could save a joke like no one else.”
Walker could have used some saving two years ago, when his show, planned for the Rochester Eagles Club, had low ticket sales and was canceled. His Saturday show at Crossings is still on, though, and plenty of seats remain.
— Jeff Pieters