Skip to main content

User login

Comic And Ventriloquist Otto Petersen Of 'Otto And George' Dies At 53

April 29, 2014 by admin

A Column

By Joe Malanaphy
     “Anytime I get on an airplane I’m never sitting next to a cute girl, I’m always sitting next to some old f@*! that wants to talk to me, ya know? Where ya from, where you going? Hey, I don’t know you, die!... Where am I going? Look at your ticket, THAT’S where we’re all going!” said George Dudley, the dummy voiced by ventriloquist and comic Otto Petersen of the “Otto and George” comedy act, in one of the duo’s many bits from over the years. 
     Petersen, 53, died April 13 while taking a nap at his home in Keyport.
     In 2013 Petersen was hospitalized with bacterial meningitis and was in a coma for eight days. It is unknown whether this previous illness played a factor in his death.
     Petersen was well respected amongst his peers of fellow comedians for the brutality of his set and fearlessness to say anything. 
     Nothing was off limits, though George was often the vehicle used to convey these thoughts, while Otto would often fall victim to his dummy’s verbal attacks.
     Petersen was born in Brooklyn, NY and lived in Staten Island before eventually moving to Keyport
     Petersen’s career spanned over almost four decades after having started as a street performer in NYC before moving up to clubs and theaters. Petersen was even given a tip once by John Lennon who happened to catch him as he was performing on the street.
     “In Central Park one Sunday, I had John Lennon in my audience. He waited until the crowd dispersed to say to me ‘the puppet is funnier, here’s two dollars. Give George $1.50…you keep the rest.’ What a thrill, making a Beatle laugh!” said Petersen during an interview once on Opie and Anthony, a show he was a regular guest on since the 1990’s.
     Otto, who frquented the O&A show every few months, would often be able to showcase some of his funniest and most vulgar material amongst other fellow comedians such as Jim Norton, Bill Burr, Louis CK, Jim Florentine, and Patrice O’Neal, (who passed away in 2011 due complications from a stroke brought on by diabetes.)
     In a world of political correctness and hacky, safe, sterilized comedy, Petersen’s act was legendary, and a breath of fresh air for anyone lucky enough to have heard it.  
Premium Drupal Themes by Adaptivethemes