Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wayno Draino, artist/actor/stand-up comic

I had a late lunch today today with Wayno Draino at a diner in Manhattan. We spoke for a long time and there is much to write so this interview will be put up in parts.

Wayno was born in Bayonne, NJ. He declares: "I was born under the smokestacks of Bayonne, and that is why most people think I have brain damage now. At the hospital, the birthing room is underneath the smokestacks and when the babies are born they get that toxic injection of smoke to prepare them for living in Bayonne. If they don't, they can die within a month." Wayno says the air in Bayonne is 60% nicotine. He grew up on a cul-de-sac, 75 feet from a chemical container. When he was a kid, he used to play "hide and go seek" and hide on top of the tank. But, "it is really tough to hide when you are glowing."

Wayno was an illustrator who did not really play with other kids because he was very introverted. He says in Bayonne everybody was beating each other up all day long. He learned to play hockey and football not because he wanted to be a great sports man. He liked tackling and punching the other kids.

He always was looking for friends... so when he was a teenager he was sitting around on the docks at his Long Beach Island summer home and everybody was real quiet. You could hear the crickets. He was introverted, but he started talking. The more he talked, the more the girls liked him. He would tell stories about his life; his wild and crazy days. He was overly animated and added punchlines and would "crack everybody up." It was an amazing feeling getting everybody in the group to laugh. He felt "connected to humanity" which is a feeling he almost never had. He was truly happy when he saw people around him laughing and that is why he began doing stand-up. And comedy is also a defense mechanism that helps him get through miserable days. It was very dark and industrial in the part of town in which he grew up and Bayonne was "not a very happy place."

Wayno said his whole family was in the TV business. His father was a film editor for CBS and at the end of his career he had his own film editing company that edited TV commercials. Early in his career, Wayno was a "shock" comic to get the attention of the audience. I met Wayno in about 1988 at the Eagle Tavern, which was located on West 14th Street in NYC. The pub had great comedy open mic nights for beginners, and this is Wayno from 20 years ago doing stand-up. We got along and became friends, and Wayne cast me as his mother in his film, which he said I could call "Challenged Superheroes." It actually had another name.... and Wayne laughed when I told him I was changing the name of the film for this blog. Anthony Ribustello was also in the film. Wayno told me the film in which I appear will soon be up on YouTube. I still can remember my first line: "Hey everybody, Wayne's here." And Wayno reminded me that I was in the illustration of the film for his "New Underground Magazine."

We went on to discuss Dan Aykroyd's "Out There" show. Wayno Draino worked for the show as a graphics and animation producer for 6 weeks. After 60 shows were recorded, the show was cancelled.

Wayno is indeed outrageous and he went on to tell me how his "doodling" got him into some recent trouble on a plane. I was really laughing. He certainly has a way of telling a great story.

Wayno Draino has given written permission for all of his art work (posted below) to appear at this blog.

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