(What’s more fun that burning your buddies with an immature phone prank? Nothing, that’s what. Crank calling has been part of both mine and Dan’s life since we were old enough to use the phone. For me, being the broke-ass bastard that I am, boredom set in at an early age. Yeah, I loved my records, but even then I got bored. The rush from pissing someone off to the point of rage from the safe distance of a phone call might sound cowardice, and you would be right, but we would roar with laughter every time the local pizza place would scream at us on the phone. When the Jerky Boys came around, it was like we had found our brothers in arms. Some of you may think it’s stupid and childish, but go fuck yourself, you laughed your ass off every time you heard these guys rip up the phone lines. Here’s what we found on the interweb about this hilarious duo of phone carnage. – FATS)
The Jerky Boys are made up of childhood friends Johnny Brennan and Kamal Ahmed. Brennan began making and recording prank telephone calls in the 1970s, and teamed up with the younger Kamal, in the late 1980s/early 1990s in their Queens neighborhood. The duo made a number of bootleg tapes of their recorded phone calls that eventually found their way to New York-based radio personality Howard Stern, who played the duo’s tracks on the air.
“Characters. It’s always been about the characters, from day one,” Johnny insists. “It was never about the phone. That was merely the medium which gave the characters their form.” This wacky group of different personalities is the bedrock of “The Jerky Boys” project and now, hundreds of characters later, “The Jerky Boys” project still thrives, as albums continue to sell and Johnny enjoys a solid voice-over career.
TENNIS BALL MACHINE by THE JERKY BOYS
Johnny received a speaker phone as a gift and one day, while searching want ads for a pickup truck, an idea popped into his head. Before long, he was playing tapes of his uproarious phone calls for family and friends. A “900” line soon followed and a number of the comedy routines were then compiled into an album and released on an independent label. Each new character started to come alive as a lead player in each of the hilarious comedy sketches. And that’s how the characters were first introduced to the legions of Jerky Boys’ fans. Since the release of the first bootleg tapes and debut CD, The Jerky Boys characters have surely inspired imitators. “I remember sitting in a box at Shea Stadium one day, just sitting there, not for an event or anything,” Johnny explains. “And I heard two fans jeering one another. ‘Hey sit down there sizzlechest!! What are you some kinda toughguy? I’ll wrap your f@$#* head in with a ratchet if you don’t want your step!!’ That kind of thing. I’d hear it all the time, in all kinds of places. What a feeling. Incredible. Who knew?”
Johnny’s biggest inspirations came from New York City’s ethnically mixed neighborhoods – full of wacko-crazy oddballs. “I pick up on everything around me,” explains Johnny, born into a big Irish-American family. The “Jerky Boys” audience, as well as the victims themselves, incidentally, cross all demographic barriers.