It’s hard to forget how things were in ‘90’s, everything was quite weird, Imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger being pregnant, yes that happened in a film named “Junior”. Boys and girls following weird trends, it’s hard to imagine unless you were there, right there in that strange time to fully grasp the liveliness of that era. It would be unfair If talk about those times and we don’t mention the “Jerky Boys”.
That’s “ridiculous” would be the response if you tell someone now that someone uses his free time to prank call mechanics and annoy them to the bones by asking stupid silly questions, but it was not the case in the 70’s when young Johnny Brennan started doing prank calls. Who would have known back then that the Jerky Boys would make him a superstar in comedy?
It was in the early 90’s when two pranksters teamed up, Ahmed Kamal and Johnny Brennan. Brennan already had perfected characters like Frank Rizzo and Sol Rosenberg, and Kamal spiced things up with a taxi driver from the Middle East. That’s how they started the legendary work as the Jerky Boys in comedy duo. The original pranks calls were rude, offensive but at the same time rib-tickling and laugh out loud funny. The Jerky Boys started taping their work and got initial fame by distributing the mixed tapes by hand until one of the masterpieces reached Howard Stern, the radio giant. That’s where things got crazy. Stern made the Jerky Boys viral, after a few weeks, “The Jerky Boys” signed a record deal with Atlantic records, producing a self-titled CD which contained 21- best recoded calls. Over 2 million copies were sold.
The Jerky Boys did not stop there. In fact they were just getting started. Their notorious calls were compiled again in 1984 as the “The Jerky Boys 2” album and this time it was nominated for the best comedy awards at the Grammy’s. It went further and the Jerky Boys even made it to the big screen. Yes, they produced a self-scripted movie and this was the first time when their diehard fans got to see the real faces of the “the Jerky Boys”.
The Jerky Boys went on to produce sequels of their tapes up to “The Jerky Boys 4” album. But the fighting between Brennan and Kamal did not let their success last, by 2000 Ahmed left the team and released a solo album, while Brennan continued with the Jerky Boys name. Just as the cassette tape became obscure so did the Jerky Boys – lost to history; to the point where younger generations would not know who they are.
But the Jerky Boys legacy undoubtedly lives on; even comedians of today, like Amy Schumer, consider them as a source of inspiration. Brennan’s voice lives on in the popular TV show the Family Guy. As he lends his voice to the famous characters of Mort Goldman and Horace, the bartender. People come and go but the mark the Jerky Boys made lives on. All of their humorous work is still available online, or is accessible on www.jerkyboysstore.com.
Few people think of making a prank call nowadays, and why bother, if there are so many new venues to ruin someone’s day, thanks to social media. But still there is this charm to the good old days of the Jerky Boys that we all certainly miss. They were truly out of the world.