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UNICO Dinner/Comedy Show Benefits Operation Shoebox New Jersey

Johnny "Gemini" Lombardi is one of 3 comics that will perform at the Hillsborough UNICO fund raiser to benefit Operation Shoebox New Jersey on Nov. 11 at the Somerville Elks.
Rich Minervini is one of 3 comics that will perform at the Hillsborough UNICO fund raiser to benefit Operation Shoebox New Jersey on Nov. 11 at the Somerville Elks.
Jeff Pirrami is one of 3 comics that will perform at the Hillsborough UNICO fund raiser to benefit Operation Shoebox New Jersey on Nov. 11 at the Somerville Elks.


Three top-flight New Jersey comedians will team up for laughs and a good cause Saturday, Nov. 11 at the Somerville Elks Club, 375 Union Ave. (Route 28), Bridgewater.

The Veterans Day dinner show is a fund raiser presented by the Hillsborough chapter of UNICO, an Italian-American social organization. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Operation Shoebox New Jersey, a non-profit organization based in Hillsborough that packs and ships personal care packages to United States troops deployed around the world.

All three comics tour nationally, and are fixtures at Las Vegas and New Jersey casinos; they each have made several television and movie appearances and most recently have been headliners at Atlantic City’s Borgota Casino.

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Johnny “Gemini” Lombardi, Rich Minervini and Jeff Pirrami will take turns poking fun at themselves, the crowd and life in general.

Brooklyn native Lombardi, the “Maestro of Magic & Laughter,” is well known locally, performing at fund raisers for non-profits. A resident of Hillsborough and a member of the local UNICO chapter, his performances are a smorgasbord of stage illusion, dance, comedy, romance, audience participation and ventriloquism. Close up table magic and at hand performances are just a few more of his talents.

He made a recent appearance on “Fox and Friends“ and is a regular at Caroline’s on Broadway.

“I do a little bit of comedy and a little bit of magic,” he explains. What you laugh at, that’s the comedy. What you don’t, well, that’s the magic.”

Performing at major casinos, comedy clubs, corporate events, theatres and cruise ships, Minervini is well known for his rapid-fire style delivery of good clean comedy.

He’s been dubbed “The Chameleon of Comedy” by his comedy peers, easily adaptable to any audience or venue.

The seasoned comic is a veteran of standup comedy and the former owner of Long Island’s premier comedy club, The East Side Comedy Club, where Rosie O’Donnell, Jay Leno, Eddie Murphy, Kevin James and Ray Romano started their standup careers.

Minervini’s television and movie credits include “The King of Queens,” “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” “Under New Management,” “Grown Ups,” “Here Comes the Boom” and “Grown Ups 2.” He is also the voice of Ostrich in “Zookeeper.” 

Pirrami is also a regular on the New Jersey comedy club circuit, and for the past 5 years, has seved as the emcee for “The Burlesque Show” revue at the Borgota.

Chuck Darrow, who writes for “Philly Voice,” reviewed the Atlantic City show and had this to say about Pirrami:

“The rather corpulent Pirrami, who cheerfully refers to himself as a “fat rat -------,” is proudly lewd, crude and often rude: He distributes his biting, but all-in-fun, barbs equally between audience members and himself. And he is a hoot, even when not saying a word, as his physical presence alone is enough to ignite belly laughs.”

Gemini Entertainment, a company owned by Lombardi, is producing the comedy show.

Hillsborough resident Kimberly Ann Santaromita, reigning Miss UNICO, a graduate of Hillsborough High School now attending graduate school at Rutgers University, will be in attendance.

The fund raiser will also include a Silent Auction, featuring gift baskets and other items donated by local merchants.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. The show begins after dinner.

Hors d'oeuvres will be served before dinner. Admission is $50 per person.

Tickets can be ordered in advance by calling (908) 296-4345 or by sending an e-mail to:

UNICO is one of the largest Italian-American organizations in the US. Its objectives including promoting, supporting and assisting local charitable organizations and projects, whil enhancing the image of Italian Americans.

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