They call themselves the Killers of Comedy, but Cowboys of Comedy is a more fitting title for the raunchy humor of Reverend Bob Levy and Shuli the pot-smoking Jew gone wild. And when they perform with celebrity boxing's answer to Kimbo Slice, Danny Bonaduce — as they are this weekend — well, you better warn the townsfolk. Loved by some, hated by many, unheard of by the rest, the three are all outlaws in one way or another.
Bonaduce's struggles with the law, homelessness and substance abuse as he fell from the spotlight decades ago are the stuff of legend. You can't read an article on the 49-year-old smoking/exercise fiend without coming across the phrase "Hollywood bad boy."
"The dark times I've lived through are like the story of a gunslinger that you never hear about living to a ripe old age," says Bonaduce. "I haven't even had a parking ticket in five years. These stories are all very old."
Reverend Bob Levy, a sort of rapist version of Don Rickles, can most often be heard on Howard Stern's show on Sirius Satellite Radio. So he's a kind of pioneer in the wild west of the digital age.
"You're taking a show that's been handcuffed and censored throughout [Stern's] entire career and now it is uncensored," says Shuli. "It is at such a higher level, so good, so real. Never have the fans had more say."
Shuli should know. He relocated from New York to Las Vegas and to perform brutal comedy shows in casinos where the average turnout was a dozen 70-year-olds with little appreciation for his penis-laced pot jokes.
He would phone in to the Stern show at 3 every morning, sometimes waiting on hold all night without getting through. His persistence impressed Stern enough to eventually secure a spot with Levy on the Howard 100 News Team.
Traveling and performing with the Reverend, Shuli says, is like dating a bipolar girl. Dysfunction is a recurring theme among the Killers of Comedy. Bonaduce and Levy may share the stage at the Coliseum on Friday, but they don't necessarily play nice together. The 49-year-old Bonaduce knocked out the Reverend with a looping right hand to the temple in a September celebrity boxing match.
"He looks like an orange gremlin coming out at you. It's almost like a fat chick driving you home at 9 in the morning, where you know its just not going to turn out well," says the 46-year-old Levy. "He may be able to kick my ass, but at least I can tan, so fuck him."
Bonaduce is scheduled to fight a bigger, stronger and longer-armed opponent in Jose Canseco, ex-MLB All-Star and self-proclaimed Godfather of Steroids, on Jan. 24.
At 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, Bonaduce trains without a coach, a car or a boxing gym, squeezing time between the morning drive slot on WYSP and broadcasting another show in the evening. Balancing hyper-masculinity with self-deprecation, his role as the recurring villain of celebrity boxing and has raised more than $3 million for different charities.
In an industry littered with has-beens, the Broomall-born Bonaduce credits his natural talent and persistence for keeping him afloat despite so many well-publicized personal battles.
"People are honest here," he says of the Philly area. "In Los Angeles when you tell people you want something and they say 'yeah', they mean 'yeah, I understand you want something,' not 'yeah, I'm getting it for you.'"
His neurotic performances on reality shows like Breaking Bonaduce and Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling were admittedly over-the-top, but radio is a whole different animal, one Bonaduce is familiar with — he's been on he air for 20 years.
"What I'm like on the radio is what I'm like all the time," he says.
Killers of Comedy with Danny Bonaduce, Reverend Bob Levy, Beetle Juice, Sal Governale, Shuli, Yucko the Clown and Devin & Louis Twichels | Fri., Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m., $25-$40, The Coliseum, 333 Preston Ave., Voorhees, N.J., killersofcomedy.com.