Dennis Wolfberg

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Dennis Wolfberg was born on March 29th, 1946 in New York. For twelve years, Dennis was a New York City school teacher and taught sixth-grade students in the South Bronx before pursuing his dream of becoming a performer and starting his career as a comic. This was also the year he met comedienne, Jeannie McBride. The two married in 1985 and soon became the only husband and wife stand-up act working the American comedy circuit.

As he honed his skills on the road and steadily built a strong following over the next several years, Wolfberg's popularity soon exploded. In fact, Dennis rose to the very top of the heap when he was twice named America's top male comic in votes by club-goers and owners nationwide and even won an "American Comedy Award" as best male stand-up in 1990.

In 1992, Dennis became a fixture on "The Tonight Show" and starred in his own HBO special. In April of 1993, "Entertainment Tonight" aired "A Day in the Life of Dennis Wolfberg," focusing on his relentless touring schedule.

Style isn't everything in comedy, but it helps. In the case of the erudite ex-school teacher Dennis Wolfberg, it wasn't just the manner in which his vivid descriptions emerge, it's the punctuation. The punch lines explode from his lips like the words of a TV wrestler with a microphone in hand.

Dennis Wolfberg was what many comics who came after him wanted to be: an all-around great stand-up comic. Wolfberg used vocal contortions, bulging eyes and short bursts of energy to frame some of the best-crafted material in the world. He was a consummate comic who, even after he became famous, frequently returned to the stage to work out new material.

More often than not the stage he returned to, and the stage that comics wanted to see him on, was The Comic Strip. It was more than a club for Wolfberg, it was a gym. He seemed to be putting new material through its paces every time he hit the stage. Comics would crowd into the sound booth or flood the balcony to watch him. Some nights there would be more comics than audience members.

Wolfberg was fresh every time you saw him. He kept himself interested by constantly bringing new material and new life into his act; you could watch him dozens of times and never see the same set twice. His love for stand up was evident every time he stepped on stage.

Dennis became well-known for many of his original quotes and comedy routines. Here are but a few of them:

"After ten years in therapy, my psychologist told me something very touching, he said, 'no hablo ingles.'”

"If we had a girl, my wife wanted to call her Sue -- a lovely name, but which for Jews is generally a verb..."

"I didn't practice abstinence, I perfected it."

"She was 102. She didn't have wrinkles, she had pleats ... There's one advantage to being 102. There's no peer pressure."

"We delivered our child via natural childbirth, the procedure invented by a man named Lamaze--the Marquis de Lamaze, a disciple of Dr. Josef Mengele, who concluded that women could counteract the incredible pain of childbirth through breathing. I think we can all agree that breathing is a reasonable substitute for anesthesia. That's like asking a man to tolerate a vasectomy by hyperventilating. Lamaze expects the husband--me--to be there, so that I can witness this festivity. I did not want to be there. This was remarkably painful for my wife. There was nothing my presence could really do to relieve her pain. In other words, I didn't see why my evening should be ruined too."

"I had to go to analysis. They told me I had an unresolved Oedipus complex, which, according to them, meant I want to sleep with my mother. Which is preposterous. My father doesn’t even want to sleep with my mother."

"What they put women through today when they're having a baby! They don't want to medicate them, as compared to previous generations. When my mom had me, she had so much medication, she didn't wake up till I was 7."

"When talking about what doctors mean when they say 'You might experience some discomfort,' his response was 'Saying that I might experience discomfort is some what akin to telling someone in the path of a tidal wave they might experience moisture.'"

Dennis Wolfberg also brought to life the character of Gooshie (who used to refer to Gooshie as "the Gooshmeister") in the TV series, "Quantum Leap." From the pilot episod "Genesis" to the series finale "Mirror Image," Wolfberg became one of the most well-loved characters from the series. Dennis' credits also include appearances on both "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and "Late Night With David Letterman" along with two short television spots during the late 1980's.


·  Best of the Improv Voulme 4 (2002)

·  Comic Strip Live!

·  The Clairvoyant  - Comedian (1982)

   ... aka The Killing Hour (1985) (USA: video title)

·  Late Night With David Letterman - Guest - (1986)

·  Quantum Leap - Gooshie - Genesis - (1989)

·  Quantum Leap - Gooshie - The Leap Back (1991)

·  Quantum Leap - Gooshie - Killin' Time (1992)

·  Quantum Leap - Gooshie - Lee Harvey Oswald (1992)

·  Quantum Leap - Gooshie - Mirror Image (1993)

·  The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson - Guest - (1992)

·  Teacher Teacher (1990) (TV)

   Directed by: Frank Chindamo
   Writing credits: Frank Chindamo, Dennis Wolfberg
   Genre: Comedy / Short
   Tagline: Yous 2 kin lern good thinks in skool.
   Plot Outline: Dennis Wolfberg relives some of his finest moments as a teacher, and proves that in a
   tough classroom, a good sense of humor is the most essential weapon.
   Runtime: USA: 4 min

·  Frank Chindamo's Shorts

   A collection of Frank Chindamo's comic short subjects, which explore modern mishaps related to
   such subjects as phone sex, radio psychology, jelly donuts, styling mousse, angry cats, blind
   dates, bondage, and Gilbert Gottfried with x-ray vision.

   Starring: Bill Rutkowski, Phoebe Legere, Gilbert Gottfried, Richard Belzer, Davis Rules, Tommy
   Koenig, Ken Dashow, Angela Scott, Maxine Lapiduss, Dennis Wolfberg, Margaret Whitton,
   Larry Amoros, Joe Franklin, Bob Nelson, Sue Kolinsky, and Howard Feller

   Director: Frank Chindamo 

Obituary for Dennis Wolfberg

Dennis Wolfberg, the stand-up comedian who played the "little guy with bad breath" Gooshie, died of cancer on Monday, October 3, 1994. The following is his obituary as it appeared in Daily Variety.

Daily Variety

October 4, 1994
by Thomas Walsh

Dennis Wolfberg, 48, whose facial contortions and slice-of-life standup style brought him wide recognition on the national comedy ciruit, died of cancer Monday at his home in Culver City.

Wolfberg became a fixture on "The Tonight Show" and starred in an HBO special in early 1992. He also had a recurring role as a strange scientist on NBC's "Quantum Leap," and in April 1993 "Entertainment Tonight" aired "A Day in the Life of Dennis Wolfberg," focusing on his relentless touring schedule.

He appeared at clubs in Washington, Denver, Chicago, Boston, Florida and New York, and a representative said he was twice named America's top male comic in votes by clubgoers and owners nationwide. In 1990 he won an American Comedy Award as best male standup.

Born in Long Island, N.Y., Wolfberg taught sixth-grade students for 12 years in the South Bronx before leaving for a full-time comedy career in 1979. Though he battled cancer for at least two years, he continued to work through the end of August. At the time of his death, he was negotiating a deal for his own TV show.

Wolfberg is survived by his wife, Jeannie, who's also a comic, and three sons.

In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations to Dennis Wolfberg's Melanoma Gene Therapy Fund, c/o UCLA Johnson Cancer Center Foundation, 9-667 Louis Factor Building, 10833 Le Conte, Los Angeles CA 90024-1781; or the Wolfberg Children's Educational Trust, 15456 Ventura Blvd., Suite 300, Sherman Oaks CA 91403.

A service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Hillside Memorial Cememtary.

Here you go!

A very funny comedian who passed away far too soon!

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