Back in 2011, Reeves Wiedeman, a reporter for The New Yorker, accompanied me on a “Knishes” interview with Joe Franklin. It sounded fantastic, though between seeing Joe for the first time, manning the camera while doing the interview, and performing it all under the watchful eye of a New Yorker reporter, I can safely tell you I was terrified. However, it all turned out great! Joe was the quick-witted charmer we all knew from TV; I had no tech glitches; and Reeves seemed very pleased. I couldn’t wait for the moment to sound the alarms and let everyone know The Staten Island Kid was going to be in The New Yorker!
And then–for various timing reasons the article never ran. We’d have some close calls–I’d get an email from Reeves saying, “I think it might run next week,” I’d sound those alarms, but then get the follow-up, “Sorry, they decided to go with something else.” It happened a few times–I became the girl who cried New Yorker. “So what, The New Yorker,” I said to myself, “I don’t get their cartoons anyway.”
Interesting (ironic?) that Joe’s passing is what led to the article finally running, because it seemed like he would live forever. Maybe not forever young, as he was the King of Nostalgia, but forever as the man of a thousand puns, offbeat guests, and non-stop name-dropping. Usually about Eddie Cantor.
So though I am sad that Joe is no longer with us, I think this is a fitting obituary–it’s as colorful as he was, and as sweet, with more than a dash of New York. I hope you enjoy.