Introducing Jay Hickman, the downhome comedian with a natural talent for telling raunchy jokes that spoke to a southern, grassroots crowd. Jay Hickman has been the best selling and most radio-played comedian of all the Laughing Hyena Records’ artists. If you want to know why, buy Boat Ride, his signature bit about a deprived sex maniac who could not talk very plain. At its peak there were advertising planes trailing a banner that said Boat Ride along Florida’s Atlantic coast. Now you can see an animation of Boat Ride on our website. https://laughinghyenarecords.com/product/boat-ride/
Jay’s career took off at the tender age of 15 when he won a talent show, and things went uphill. He caught the eye of none other than comedy legend Jackie Gleason, who hired him to perform on cruise ships all over the world. After spending some time on the high seas, Jay found his calling in the Southeastern United States strip clubs, where he gained a devoted following of fans who couldn’t get enough of his self-produced cassette tapes.
Jay had a steady gig at Thee Doll House, a topless strip club in Myrtle Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Atlanta, the latter using the name the Cheetah 3. He never played comedy clubs, but he was busier than a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest! Hickman also appeared on HBO, Showtime, and The Playboy Channel; performed on the Hee Haw television show; opened shows for comedians Jackie Gleason and Sammy Davis Jr.; and opened concerts for musical artists Tom Jones, Liza Minnelli, Tanya Tucker, Aretha Franklin, Mel Torme, Anita Baker, Lee Greenwood Barbara Eden and George Jones. Jay played at Bill Clintons’s inauguration. Performed on cruise ships, thanks to Jackie Gleason. And he played the Las Vegas strip.
Jay Hickman’s Boat Ride was more than just a comedy bit; it was a cultural phenomenon. This signature piece of Jay’s became one of the best-selling and most radio-played tracks of all the Laughing Hyena Records’ artists, and it’s not hard to see why. The bit featured Jay’s unique brand of downhome humor as he told the story of a deprived sex maniac with poor speaking skills. At its peak, the popularity of Jay Hickman’s Boat Ride was so great that there were even advertising planes trailing banners with the words “Boat Ride” along the Atlantic coast of Florida.
Unfortunately, Jay’s time on earth was cut short when he was diagnosed with liver disease in the 1980s and eventually passed away at the age of 37. However, his legacy has been kept alive by the commitment of Laughing Hyena Records to honor Jay’s last request and continue marketing his CDs for future generations to enjoy. His series of seven albums was almost never made. Arnie had been friends with Jay for years. He called Jay on Tuesday to let him know we would be in Myrtle Beach to record him that weekend. When we got there we found out that Jay, a substance abuser, was in critical condition and not expected to make it. Fortunately, he did and over the next few years, we recorded this classic comedy series before Jay died at age 37 from liver failure. He felt it was his time as he refused to allow his name to be put on the liver transplant list. Jay threw himself a big ‘fair well’ party. Telling his friends this is my funeral, we will have a great time! Flying his friends in from around the country to Myrtle Beach for a weekend of golf, drinking, eating, and partying.
Unsurprisingly, he’s been among the best-selling and most radio-played comedians in the Laughing Hyena Records lineup. We’ve got his legions of fans to thank for that one. From “The Duke of Dirt” to “Comedy’s Bad Boy,” Laughing Hyena Records has helped new and old fans alike listen to Jay’s comedy through streaming services. Though Jay Hickman didn’t get mainstream fame while he was alive, our hope is that future generations will continue to discover and love Jay’s work. It’ll have you laughing so hard you cry!
Arnie promised Jay during his last weeks we would keep his comedy and his memory alive. His legions of fans, old and new, have helped us keep that promise.
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