Home>Articles>Bramnick confident he’s still funniest senator ever, even after hearing about Chee-Chee Sciro

State Sen. Jon Bramnick. (Photo: Vinnie Brand's Stress Factory Comedy Club).

Bramnick confident he’s still funniest senator ever, even after hearing about Chee-Chee Sciro

N.J. lawmaker still

By David Wildstein, August 15 2022 12:02 pm

Until today, State Sen. Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) has never heard of Chee-Chee Sciro.

Bramnick is an acclaimed standup comedian who has been named New Jersey’s Funniest Lawyer, but he’ll never get to go up against Frank J. Sciro,  a Paterson Republican who served in the New Jersey Senate from 1968 to 1972.

In the 1920s, Sciro performed as a comedian on vaudeville in New York, Boston and Cleveland before trading in his job as a stand-up comic — and  barber — and going to law school.

One night, he found himself in a stand-up comedy competition at the Majestic Theater in Paterson against another local comic, Lou Costello.  Sciro won.

But Bramnick refused to accept that his Sciro might have been funnier, instead channeling his inner Muhammad Ali.

“In my judgment, I’m the greatest of all time,” Bramnick said.  “He might have been funny in his time, but he’s not funnier than me.”

Bramnick cited his own win against another humorous senator, former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Roseland).

“I went up against Codey and I destroyed him at the Stress Factory,” Bramnick said.  “He never came back.”

During his one term in the Senate, Sciro had been named “Mr. Congeniality” by his colleagues.  A former municipal court judge and longtime Paterson city clerk, Sciro used to say that he could have made more money as a comedian than as a lawyer and politician.

And he remained a lifelong Costello fan.

“Lou was the best salesman Paterson ever had,” Sciro said a few years before his death in 1991.  “Every chance he got, he’d mention Paterson in one of his movies or routines.”

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