Stewie stone is living proof you can take the kid outa Brooklyn, but you can't take Brooklyn outa the kid. Even his name, Stewie, comes direct from Flatbush. "In Brooklyn," he explains, "we're very big on vowels. We put 'E's at the end of everything -- Hermie, Frankie,
Before Stewie got to be a big man in Vegas, he was a little kid in Brooklyn and comedy was his protector. "I was a terrible introvert, and real small for my age. I found if I could make the rest of the kids laugh, they wouldn't beat me up." But he certainly didn1t have dreams of becoming a comic -- not yet, at least. "Let's face it," he says, "You don't say 'When I group up I want to be Henny Youngman.
Stone's introduction to the world of entertainment was through his father, an ex-vaudeville hoofer, who ran the neighborhood dancing school. While Stewie wasn't enthralled with the lessons, he did enjoy the recitals, not to mention the applause, and he most appreciated his dad's line of work every Thursday when Stone Sr. would bring home the costumes. Each week he'd have a different outfit in hand. One week Stewie was a matador; the next, a Russian Cossack.
But it was neither as a comic nor as a dancer that stone made his show biz bow. It was as a drummer, in plain clothes, playing with pick-up bands in and around New York. He started his professional career while attending Brooklyn College, the only school in the country where English is considered a foreign language. He soon decided he'd rather play drums for a living than cram for finals, and gave up school.
The job had its drawbacks. The money wasn't great...and it certainly wasn't steady. But Stewie soon discovered that if he could do something extra, he would earn extra bucks. Extras included singing and talking. "Since I couldn't sing, 'I decided to talk, and I was elected to make announcements. -- 'There's a black Ford blocking the driveway." It wasn't much, but it was a step in the direction of stand-up comedy.
One summer Stewie was working with bands in New York on weekends, when he was offered a mid-week job at the famed Concord Hotel in the Catskills. They needed someone to entertain the guests when it rained. For $35 and gas money, Stewie opened his act at the Concord...no lights; just lightning, and the accompaniment of thunder. "I kept praying for rain, 'cause I only got the job if it rained. I tell people I did all the morning shows there.
This pace continued -- comedian by rainy weekday in the mountains, drummer in the big city on weekends -- until one day Stewie was offered a full-time job as social director of the hotel. He packed in his drums, packed up his umbrella, and headed north to make his fame and fortune.
The Catskills have always been a great spawning ground for new talent, and Stewie's case was no exception. One day a stranger walked up to him, said, "You're funny. Can you talk on stage?" and proceeded to hire him for the Playboy Clubs nation-wide. For the next three years, Stewie spent 30 to 40 weeks each year performing at Playboy Clubs across the country and in London.
The turning point came when Stewie opened for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at Bachelors III in Fort Lauderdale. He then spent four years touring with the group, and played virtually every major nightclub in the States, including the Copa in New York, Mr. Kelly's in Chicago and Pittsburgh's Holiday House.
Stewie really hit the jackpot, when he arrived in Las Vegas. He has opened for Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Dionne Warwick, Ben Vereen, Bobby Vinton, Sonny & Cher, to name just a few; and has earned himself the reputation of being one of the best in business. More recently, he has been the opening act for Engelbert Humperdinck and the two played to sell-out crowds whereever they appeared.
A comic's job is never easy. "When you go out there, you're all alone he explains. "It's like slaying a dragon without armor. You think in your head that you're a knight, but when you get out there it's just you. And if you die, it's total rejection."
Talking seriously does not come easy to Stewie, who’s much more comfortable with one-liners than self-analysis. But he allows that a comic's biggest fear is exposing the fact that he's not funny all the time. Then, suddenly fearful that he's said too much, he reverts back to routine to discuss his hopes and aspirations. "The future? Actually I'd like to be President, if I had my choice. I'd go right for the power seat. I mean, if you're gonna dream, why not dream to be a .220 hitter?"