Chris Rush

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Chris Rush
Birth nameChristopher John Mistretta
BornFebruary 11, 1946
Brooklyn, New York, United States
DiedJanuary 28, 2018(2018-01-28) (aged 71)
Forest Hills, Queens, New York, United States
Medium Stand-up, television, radio, literature
Years active1970 – 2018
Genres Observational humor, satire, black comedy
Subject(s) Drug use, religion, everyday life, politics, quantum physics, outer space
Michele Shoshanna April
(m. 1968;div. 1978)
Partner(s)Megan De Caro

Chris Rush (born Christopher John Mistretta February 11, 1946 - January 28, 2018) was an American comedian, writer, actor, radio personality and author. He is best known for his stand-up routines and albums, along with having been a writer and editor on the satirical publication National Lampoon magazine. [1]

<i>National Lampoon</i> (magazine) magazine

National Lampoon was an American humor magazine which ran from 1970 to 1998. The magazine started out as a spinoff from the Harvard Lampoon. National Lampoon magazine reached its height of popularity and critical acclaim during the 1970s, when it had a far-reaching effect on American humor and comedy. The magazine spawned films, radio, live theatre, various sound recordings, and print products including books. Many members of the creative staff from the magazine subsequently went on to contribute creatively to successful media of all types.



Early life

Rush was born in Brooklyn, New York. [2] Rush was of Italian descent and was raised in the Roman Catholic faith. [2] [3] He attended Brooklyn Technical High School [ citation needed ] and graduated from City College of New York in 1968 with a degree in Organic chemistry. [4] Before becoming a comedian Rush was a molecular biologist, working at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital for two years. [4] He embarked on a professional stand-up comedy career following the first time he ever performed on stage, which was an open mic night at The Gaslight Cafe, where he received a standing ovation after his performance. [5]

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects it with Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Brooklyn Technical High School Specialized high school in New York City

Brooklyn Technical High School, commonly referred to as Brooklyn Tech and administratively designated as High School 430, is an elite New York City public high school that specializes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is one of three original specialized high schools operated by the New York City Department of Education, the other two being Stuyvesant High School and Bronx High School of Science. Brooklyn Tech is considered one of the most prestigious and selective high schools in the United States.


Comedians who influenced Rush: George Carlin, Bob Newhart, Shelley Berman and Myron Cohen

George Carlin American stand-up comedian

George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and social critic. He was known for his black comedy and reflections on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. He and his "seven dirty words" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a 5–4 decision affirmed the government's power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves. Widely regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comics of all time, Carlin was dubbed by one newspaper to be "the dean of counterculture comedians".

Bob Newhart American stand-up comedian and actor

George Robert Newhart is an American stand-up comedian and actor, noted for his deadpan and slightly stammering delivery. Newhart came to prominence in 1960 when his album of comedic monologues, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, became a worldwide bestseller and reached number one on the Billboard pop album chart; it remains the 20th-best selling comedy album in history. The follow-up album, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back!, was also a success, and the two albums held the Billboard number one and number two spots simultaneously.

Shelley Berman American comedian, writer, teacher, and actor

Sheldon Leonard Berman was an American comedian, actor, writer, teacher, lecturer and poet.

Comedians who consider Rush an influence: Adam Ferrara

Adam Ferrara is an American actor and comedian known for playing the role of Chief "Needles" Nelson on the FX series Rescue Me. He was a co-host on the U.S. version of Top Gear and played NYPD Sgt. Frank Verelli opposite Edie Falco on Showtime series Nurse Jackie. He also played Detective Tommy Manetti on the television series The Job.

Personal life

Rush was a conservationist and supporter of Greenpeace. [6] Though raised in the Catholic faith he left the church around age 12. [2] He considered himself to be a Taoist and wore the Yin and yang symbol on his shirt during his performances. [7]

Greenpeace non-governmental environmental organization

Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over 39 countries and an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Greenpeace was founded in 1971 by Irving Stowe, and Dorothy Stowe, Canadian and US ex-pat environmental activists. Greenpeace states its goal is to "ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity" and focuses its campaigning on worldwide issues such as climate change, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering, and anti-nuclear issues. It uses direct action, lobbying, research, and ecotage to achieve its goals. The global organization does not accept funding from governments, corporations, or political parties, relying on three million individual supporters and foundation grants. Greenpeace has a general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and is a founding member of the INGO Accountability Charter, an international non-governmental organization that intends to foster accountability and transparency of non-governmental organizations.

Taoism Religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin

Taoism, or Daoism, is a philosophical or religious tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. The Tao is a fundamental idea in most Chinese philosophical schools; in Taoism, however, it denotes the principle that is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. Taoism differs from Confucianism by not emphasizing rigid rituals and social order, but is similar in the sense that it is a teaching about the various disciplines for achieving "perfection" by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the universe called "the way" or "dao". Taoist ethics vary depending on the particular school, but in general tend to emphasize wu wei, "naturalness", simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: 慈 "compassion", 儉 "frugality", and 不敢為天下先 "humility".

Yin and yang philosophical concept

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang is a concept of dualism in ancient Chinese philosophy, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. In Chinese cosmology, the universe creates itself out of a primary chaos of material energy, organized into the cycles of Yin and Yang and formed into objects and lives. Yin is the receptive and Yang the active principle, seen in all forms of change and difference such as the annual cycle, the landscape, sexual coupling, the formation of both men and women as characters, and sociopolitical history.

Chris Rush died January 28th, 2018 of complications from surgery and cancer. [8] [9]


1970s and 1980s

Chris Rush wrote for National Lampoon Magazine in the early 1970s, [6] making his first appearance in the August, 1970 issue. [10] During his time at the Lampoon he was involved in another comedy magazine titled Drool, which came out with just one issue in 1972. [11] He left the magazine when he was signed to Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegun to release his first comedy album, First Rush in 1973. [12] In 1974 he once again contributed to a comedy magazine titled Harpoon. [13] Towards the later years of the 1970s; Rush, was involved with Head Magazine. [14]

Rush opened for musicians and bands including B.B. King, Meat Loaf, Talking Heads, Twisted Sister and Electric Light Orchestra while becoming a frequent performer at comedy clubs, theaters and colleges throughout the United States and Canada. He performed at such venues as The Bottom Line, [15] Caroline's, The Improv and The Comedy Store. [16] In 1979 he was awarded "Best Male Comic" by the Association of Comedy Artists. [17] He released his second album Beaming In in 1981. His performances landed him on national television with appearances on Comedy Tonight, Night Flight and Apt. 2C, a pilot for HBO starring his mentor and friend George Carlin [18]

1990s and 2000s

In the early to mid-1990s, Rush was involved in a series of shorts made for Comedy Central's show Small Doses, titled Food for Thought. It starred Patton Oswalt and Blaine Capatch as two bumbling store clerks and Chris as the manager. [19] He was asked to contribute to Tim Allen's book I'm Not Really Here, which was released in 1996. [20] He released an additional comedy album in 1997. During this time, he made sporadic stand-up comedy appearances. He worked on Bob "Wolf" Wohlfeld's show in the late 1990s on PYX 106 with The Wakin' Up with the Wolf Show, where he was a co-host. Some of his bits were put onto an album released by the show, titled Chris's Head. [21] The relationship ended though when the station decided to fire Rush on December 21, 1998, after apparently speaking to management about Wohlfeld's behavior towards him and others. [22]

On October 1, 2007, Rush released his first book, Milking the Rhino (Dangerously Funny Lists).

In April, 2009 Chris launched a one-man show titled, Bliss: An Evening of Laughter with Chris Rush, which was financed by George Carlin. [23] [24]


1973 First Rush Atlantic Records
1981 Beaming In City Sounds
1997 There's No Bones in Ice Cream Sundazed Music



In addition to being a co-host on PYX 106, Rush was a frequent guest on The Joey Reynolds Show, [30] [31] The Morning Zoo on WMMR, Esoterica with Johnny Rizzo on WPKN, where he contributed a monthly call-in segment discussing recent events, [32] Dr. Demento, who will sometimes play Chris' comedy routines [33] and he's also appeared on Opie and Anthony. [34]

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  31. Archived May 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
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