I met Ollie Joe backstage at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas before it was torn down to make room for the Bellagio. He was sucking air like he had run a marathon. I asked him if he wanted to make a comedy album and he said he did, and by the way where was the nearest chair.
Ollie Joe was the second comedian we ever recorded. But he did not take care of himself. He got up over 500 pounds to the point he could not stand anymore. It was like putting a 400 pound barbell on your back. He would sit on a stool and wave his arms along to his comedy. Then he would take a long walk to the end of the stage and sit in a sturdy chair. He later went home in a van with a hydraulic lift.
One night back at the hotel after the recording session we pushed the elevator button and when the door opened there was Ollie Joe naked in a laundry cart with a half empty bottle of Jim Beam in one hand. Everyone he met has an Ollie Joe story. You can hear some of them as well as his act on our DVD “Get Outta My Way”.
Ollie Joe whose real name was Gilbert Hartzog died in 1991 at the age of 44. If you want to laugh as hard as you have laughed in a long, long time try Ollie Joe’s CD “Triple Trouble – The Best of Ollie Joe Prater”.
Chuck Miller of Timesunion.com says this is one of the albums he wants to be buried with.