Joe Recca, was a social worker, a black belt, and according to his website, “The Funniest Man in Clean Comedy!” Recca died last week in Baltimore. No further details were released.
Born in Chicago and raised in Virginia Beach, Recca graduated from Norfolk State University in 1986 with a degree in sociology. He moved to Washington, D.C., working at a halfway house, later as a probation counselor, and started performing stand-up comedy at nights. He started about the same time as then teenager Dave Chappelle.
“Dave and I would sit in the back of the club waiting to do our five minutes. Sometimes I would give Dave a ride home and we would talk about how our shows went,” Recca recalled.
Recca pursued his comedy dreams to New York City. His first big break came with Showtime at the Apollo. He was a hit, which propelled him to BET’s Comic View, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, The Mo’Nique Show and more. Here’s his set cracking up judges Paul Mooney, Kim Coles and Kevin Hart on BET’s Coming to the Stage.
“Jo Recca was the real deal,” Erin Jackson wrote. “Such a lovely man with so much wisdom about the game and he gladly shared it. I’d of course seen him a decade earlier on Def Jam, but I met Joe on my very first day in comedy. I went to a 1-day comedy seminar and he taught the joke-writing portion. And throughout the years we’ve worked together and shared stories and I just loved him. One of the very best people in this business. What a sad, sad day. Rest in peace, friend.”