Jackie Martling (born John Coger Martling, Jr. on February 14, 1948) is an American comedian, comedy writer, musician, composer and actor. He is best known as "Jackie The Joke Man," a former cast member and later head writer for the The Howard Stern Show, a syndicated morning radio show.
Jackie Martling was born in Mineola, New York on Long Island. He attended Oyster Bay High School, in Oyster Bay, New York, and earned a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan State University in 1971. Martling is of English French and Dutch ancestry.
Martling began his show business career as a musician on Long Island, New York, playing with an original music and comedy trio, "The Off Hour Rockers," until the late 1970s, when he began telling jokes on stage, solo. He eventually segued into performing full time as a stand-up comedian.
Jackie's initial breakthrough into major radio came in 1981, when longtime writer/producer of the Rick Dees Morning Show on KIIS-FM, Los Angeles, Dave Lipson, discovered Jackie's "976-JOKE" telephone service. Each day's offerings were recorded and aired daily on the Dees morning show, eventually leading into live call-ins where Jackie would reel off, joke after joke. This turned out to be one of the most popular "bits" of the legendary morning show. Lipson always spoke quite fondly of Martling, who in late 1981, invited him to his home in Long Island for a BBQ dinner and an evening of laughs. The most memorable part of the evening however were the many books, shown to him, of the hundreds and hundreds of jokes, written by Martling for the late Rodney Dangerfield.
In the late 70's and early 80's, he recorded several joke LP records that he mailed to Howard Stern at WNBC-AM when Stern first arrived in New York City in 1982. The LP records led to his being asked to make a guest appearance on Stern's radio show, and eventually being hired as a cast member.
When Howard Stern and his crew obtained their own TV show, Martling was named head writer of both shows, a position he held for fifteen years. He is famous for pioneering joke writing "on the fly," a technique of instant scripting where he wrote jokes and funny lines for Stern while the show was in progress.
Martling and other cast member and writer Fred Norris wrote most of the material for the infamous "Jackie puppet," which was usually voiced by Billy West. West has said how surreal it was to sit behind Martling, viciously attacking him as the puppet, with lines that Jackie had just written himself. It was often obvious to listeners when a joke was written by Martling, because when it was read on air, he could be heard in the background laughing hysterically at it.
After several earlier disagreements over compensation, Martling left The Stern Show in March 2001, over a salary disagreement with the show's employer, WXRK.
Martling's chair on The Howard Stern Show was eventually filled by former MADtv cast member Artie Lange; however, Lange did not take over Martling's job as head writer. Martling appears with his successor Artie Lange in the 2003 straight-to-video film Mail Order Bride, although the two have no scenes together.
After leaving the show, Martling pursued other interests, including acting, music, and stand-up comedy. He also continued to expand his questionably successful line of electronic joke products that he has co-created with Excalibur Electronics of Miami, Florida.
On September 25, 2006, Howard Stern announced that Martling would be returning to radio by joining the Howard 100/101 Sirius Radio channels. Stern elaborated further on the September 26, 2006 broadcast, saying that Martling's new show on Howard 101 would be called "Jackie's Joke Hunt". The show, co-hosted by fellow friar Ian Karr, premiered on October 3, 2006 at 7pm EST. It continues to air, live, every Tuesday at 7pm EST on Sirius Howard 101, with re-airings scheduled for Thursday mornings at 12AM EST and Saturday afternoons at 2pm EST. Martling can also be heard on Howard 100 on Sundays when Sirius airs "Master Tape Theatre," and on XM Satellite Radio's uncensored Comedy Channel 150.
In addition to his standup career, Martling has released five joke CDs, three videos, five joke books, and released his first musical CD, "Happy Endings," in late April, 2007. He is also featured in the hit comedy documentary, The Aristocrats and has appeared in over a dozen other independent films.
In May, 2007, The Stern Show aired a two day salute to Jackie Martling on Sirius Satellite Radio's Stern 100. The show contained dozens of classic Jackie moments intercut with new interviews with Jackie and others.
Over the years, in his standup act and on the air, Martling recounted wild tales of his partying days on the road and spoke publicly of his fondness for smoking Marijuana and drinking beer. In December 2005, he announced that he was sober and had not had a drink in five years.
His sobriety, however, does not include marijuana. He recently shot and posted two videos on YouTube that show him smoking the drug, and he is often a guest at events for the Marijuana Policy Project.
Martling is legally separated from wife Nancy Sirianni and currently resides in Manhattan and in Bayville, New York. He appears to be cultivating a new image as an eligible, single man, and was recently interviewed for a divorced women's website where he and the middle-aged hostess claimed the interview was actually their first blind date.
He is a longtime member of the New York Friars Club and is actively involved with the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, Inc.