User:Lvirili/Scott Baker (entertainer)
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Scott Baker (entertainer)
Scott Baker (born 3/22/1967) is an American comedian/entertainer, author, former boxer, and former NYPD officer. He is best known for working with Al Isaacs as the comedy team Isaacs & Baker winning best comedy act on Long Island in 2012 (currently nominated for best comedy act for “The Best of Long Island 2014”). He is also known for creating, producing and acting in the unscripted comedy[link to “Improvised sitcoms] series “Midtown”.
Baker was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Gerry Katzen, a secretary, and George Baker, a camera store owner and World War 2 vet who changed his name from James Vincent Sabatino to distance himself from the stigma of his father’s mob past. Baker has credited both parents for influencing him with their “wonderful sense of humor and quick wit”, as well as the annual family summer vacations at a the former The Aladdin Hotel in the Catskills (the Borscht Belt) where he would first be introduced to live comedy. Baker graduated from Commack South High School in 1985 and Hofstra University in 1990. He has two older siblings, Wayne Baker, and the late Marc Baker who passed away at age seven from Wilms’ Tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer. His father, George, was diagnosed with cancer about 8 months later and passed away from lymphoma in 1977 when Scott was 10. Prior to his father’s death, his family moved to Commack, NY (on Long Island).
After Baker’s father’s passing, the Aladdin Hotel owner, Carrie Komito, would give Baker’s mother a discounted rate because of their financial situation. Baker and his brother Wayne would work various jobs at the hotel (waiting tables, bell hopping, working the switch board).
At the hotel’s night club, the emcee was an old Borscht Belt comic named Murray Waxman, Baker’s first introduction to joke telling. Baker quickly learned that when he combined joke telling, timing, voice inflection with his father’s incredible story telling he was able to make people laugh and have fun with them without making fun of them.
Back home as a teenager, Baker worked for the Parks and Highway Departments for the underprivileged kids program (cleaning toilets, picking up garbage, trimming trees, painting fences). In response to the financial instability and depression his family experienced by the loss of his brother and father, Baker was motivated to lift the spirits of his mother and brother by breaking into comedy routines, imitating all the people they knew, using the old Catskills jokes he learned working at the Aladdin hotel. Having to deliver comedy under such conditions required an ability to do so quickly. Baker has stated, “To this day people ask me if I ever get nervous before a show. I tell them, ‘Never.’ Because I know what I used to have to do, so in my mind, if I can turn it on in such a tragic state of mind, no crowd can throw me ever.”
Baker is the first in his family to enter the entertaining profession. He has been entertaining since he was a young child and his first open mic night was in 1983 at 16 years old. He took 3rd place twice in a talent contest at a local restaurant lounge.
At 18, he was given 5 minutes at midnight to work at the legendary East Side Comedy Club in Huntington, Long Island. At the club, he was captivated by an improv troupe made up of Vinnie Mark, Joan St Onge, Bob Nelson, and Dave Hawthorn and realized when they performed that the laughter was at a noticeably higher decibel than any other great comic. It fit his Catskill/Brooklyn background and personality far more than writing jokes. He signed up for a class taught by one of the troupe’s members, Joan St Onge, and learned all the nuances of not just comedy improv, but how to do it in front of an audience as a night club act.
Baker would split his time between comedy and boxing for Howard Davis Sr., father of 1976 Olympic Gold Medal boxer Howard Davis Jr. Baker had 21 amateur fights for Davis with 15 wins, 6 losses, and Davis was more than a boxing trainer for Baker. He had a work ethic in boxing and values that stressed the idea of not taking shortcuts. These values were the same values and beliefs Baker’s father tried to show him years earlier before he passed away. But to Bakers own admission he was too young to grasp the concept and didn’t follow those values until later in life. Baker sometimes uses a character in his shows based on Davis’ sense of humor.
After finishing college and helping his mother fight and survive breast cancer, Baker felt it was time to quit boxing and put comedy on hold. He focused on earning money to pay college loans and help his mother keep her house, and earned a position within a pharmaceutical company.
Baker then followed a childhood dream and became an NYPD Officer. Surprisingly, it became the most rewarding, frustrating, and funniest job he ever had. He quickly realized he needed to leverage his improv skills for real, finding the thrill in solving problems, but the consequences were far greater if he failed. Once again, he reported to people who taught him similar values as his father and boxing coach. In 1998 Baker was forced to retire early from the NYPD after injuring his gun hand and his neck in separate job related incidents.
After retiring from the NYPD, Baker took much of the humor he observed in the NYPD and wrote two successful books published by Andrews McMeel, “Funniest Cop Stories Ever” (2006) and “A Lighter Shade of Blue” (2011). He also has a Quill & Badge Award winning eBook, “A Warmer Shade of Blue: Stories about Good Things Cops Do” (2013). Baker also became a personal trainer implementing his boxing training and techniques to help people lose weight and stay fit, which led to the creation of H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) at Home Fat Burning DVD (www.hiitathome.com).
He also became a member of SAG (Screen Actors Guild ) and did several featured background roles in movies, primarily as a police officer, because many filmmakers prefer to use real police officers for police roles so that they can consult with them about procedure, and their ability to more accurately portray an officer. While on the set of the movie Anger Management starring Adam Sandler, Baker met comedian/actor Tom Malloy which led to a collaboration that resulted in the unscripted comedy series Midtown.
While caring for his mother until she passed away April 21st 2012, Baker worked in private security which included working high profile events (MTV fashion awards, 2004 Republican Convention, Governor Rudy Giuliani’s events, President George W. Bush inauguration 2nd term, 9/11 Memorial, Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie while filming “The Simple Life” in NY). After his mother’s passing, Baker decided to return to comedy and met Al Isaacs. Realizing each other’s appreciation for improv the way it was done back in the Joan St Onge days, they believed that there was a great opportunity to bring it back, since there were no comics left performing comedy like that. Playing to their strengths, Isaacs and Baker decided to go with the old night club style – edgy, 100% off the cuff, where the audience IS the show making it so that no two shows would be identical. From this, Isaacs & Baker was formed.
In recent years Isaacs and Baker have been gaining momentum and notoriety performing in casinos, resorts, comedy clubs, fundraisers and charity events. In 2010, Isaacs & Baker rented a theater to perform a show to raise money for the wounded 9/11 first responders of the “FealGood Foundation” and donated 100% of the proceeds. Over the years Isaacs & Baker have raised close to one-million dollars for charities that they we were asked to perform at.