By MIKE CHAIKEN
In the course of his conversation, Lenny Clarke calls himself more lunatic than comedian.
But his history shows that he may be a lunatic, but he’s one with a lot of heart.
The Boston-based comedian is coming to Comix at Mohegan Sun Oct. 26 and 27.
Clarke has been a long-time standup comic and has appeared on television (“Rescue Me”) and movies.
But Clarke also has not only lent his name to different charitable events over the years, he also has rolled up his sleeves and put some sweat on his brow to help out.
Clarke said lending a helping hand to those in need was something he learned from his parents. And he never forgot their lessons.
Perusing the internet, you will find that Clarke recently helped out the three communities in Massachusetts that were severely damaged following huge gas explosions. He has helped out veterans groups. His daughter has autism and he has lent a hand to Autism Speaks. And he has helped Cape Cod for MS Cure.
In some cases, Clarke will perform his stand-up routine as a contribution to the cause.
However, in the case of Cape Cod for MS Cure, he took it a step further.
The cause itself, Clarke said, is personal one. He has two sisters with MS. Although he could have written a check to help the organization he said he opted to take part in the event— which was a considerable undertaking.
Cape Cod for MS Cure is a bike ride done in stages over a couple of days where riders take on marathon distances to help raise money.
Clarke said the ride was tough. And it got tougher as the finish neared. But Clarke said he kept pushing. He was thinking, “Oh my God, I can’t let people down.”
The ride was set to finish at Provincetown’s Pilgrim Tower. He said you can see the tower for miles before you reach it. He used it as his landmark to tell him his charitable effort was nearly over. But Clarke said that as he reached his final 15 miles, the tower never seemed to get any closer.
What are they doing, moving it? he said he thought.
Eventually, Clarke did make the finish— and was able to raise $37,000 for Cape Cod for MS Cure.
Clarke’s charitable efforts also have earned him a place in a book by Denis Leary (his co-star in “Rescue Me”), “Why We Don’t Suck.” Clarke said Leary dedicated an entire chapter in the book to Clarke’s giving nature.
Clarke said he doesn’t help out to get his name in the headlines. He said he does it because “it’s the right thing to do.”
Young comedians often approach Clarke to ask for his advice on how they can get their names in the newspaper and in the media like he has done. He has told them, “Volunteer, help out an organization.” He said the younger comedians then would tell him that was too much work.
Clarke said if you’re going to help others, you need to do it for more than the publicity. “You have to do it for the right reasons.”
“I do it out of the goodness of my heart.”
Although it’s not his intent when he lends a helping hand, Clarke said his giving nature has paid him back a thousand times over. Not only do people thank him all the time for helping out, corporations note his efforts and will hire him for private standup gigs.
New England has long been Clarke’s home. And he appreciates the personality of the area.
He lived in Los Angeles for 11 years. But, all people in L.A. are concerned about is their next project.
In New England, people don’t care if you’re on TV. They know you as a person they grew up with. They will tell it like it is. If a routine sucks, he said, they’ll tell him. His friends and family in New England keep him grounded.
Although Clarke is making the rounds now as a standup, he said, “I would like one more bite at the apple of TV sitcoms.”
Clarke had a sitcom “Lenny!” that eventually was cancelled.
Standup, these days, is difficult because of the proliferation of political correctness. You have to be careful what you say, he said, in case you might offend someone
So rather than deal with that boondoggle, Clarke said, “I would love to finish my career as an actor.”
When audiences come to Comix at Foxwoods, Clarke said, “It’s going to be like nothing you have ever seen.”
“I’m a lunatic… going under the guise of a comedian,” said Clarke.
“I have a lot of energy,” said Clarke. “And I have a lot of things to say.”
Lenny Clarke performs at Comix at Mohegan Sun, Uncasville on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7 and 9:30 p.m.