Comedy legend and New Jersey institution “Uncle” Floyd Vivino is coming to Springfield this weekend.
Since 1974, Vivino has been a fixture on local radio and television airwaves. He's currently celebrating 25 plus years of his radio show, “The Italian-American Serenade airing on WVIP FM 93.5 in New Rochelle, New York. But he’s best known for his work in television. “The Uncle Floyd Show” began airing in 1974 on a variety of stations and ended in 1998. The comic variety show sported an anarchic spirit and old time sensibilities. Its handmade charm captured the attention of musicians like David Bowie, John Lennon and the Ramones.
Bowie reportedly heard about the show from John Lennon, who found Vivino’s television show while staying at home raising his youngest son, Sean. Bowie would go on to write the song “Slip Away” on his 2002 album “Heathen” as a tribute to Vivino and his show.
Floyd's brother, Jimmy, is currently the bandleader for Conan O'Brien's late night talk show on TBS. Their other brother, Jerry, is also a member of Conan's Basic Cable Band. Jimmy is a guitarist and Jerry plays the saxophone. The Jersey native credits his Bergen County teachers for getting him interested in the limelight.
“I lived on the stage and the teachers realized that and they encouraged me,” Floyd told Patch. “We would perform the works of Moliere, Chekov or Ibsen. We would also do musicals like ‘Brigadoon. And we did them without microphones.”
It was during one of these performances, Vivino said, that his course in life was set.
“I remember that evening very well. It was on Jan. 28, 1968, and I did a show in the auditorium and the orchestra was playing ‘Everything Is Coming Up Roses’ and I felt the rush of 600 people clapping for me. It was then and there that I knew I was going to be an entertainer,” said Vivino. “I did not belong on the basketball court or in the science lab.”
Vivino also helped introduce fellow New Jersey icons, Bon Jovi, to music fans by giving the band their first television appearance.
“Bon Jovi will still give me credit for that,” Vivino said.
In 1986, Vivino began the “Italian American Serenade” for WRTN FM (now WVIP) and played the music of Dean Martin, Bucky Pizzarelli, Connie Francis and Luciano Pavarotti along with performers like Bruno Martino, Giulietta Sacco, Michele Zito and Tito Schipa.
“Do for a living what you love in life,” said Vivino. “If you want to be a baker, be a baker, just make sure you love doing it.”
Vivino appears tonight for a one-night special engagement at