Only in Jersey: 3/21/12

Happy Hump Day, everyone! Time for another edition of Only in Jersey!

If it’s filming in Jersey, takes place in Jersey, or is about celebs from Jersey, you will find it here.

Sayreville’s native son Jon Bon Jovi gets the Oprah treatment when the rock singer is featured in “Oprah’s Master Class,” airing at 10 p.m. Sunday on OWN. In an exclusive clip to “Entertainment Tonight,” Jon gives credit for his success in the music business to his hometown mentor. “And a man by the name of Al Parinello moved in across the street from my childhood home, and he was in a club band,” Jon reveals. “He was like, a hip guy, and he showed us how to play songs – and he showed me how to play ‘House of the Rising Sun.’ … When you learn a song, you start to think about songs, when you think about songs you want to write songs. When you write songs, you get to be here… Thanks to his encouragement, I stayed with it.”

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“Celebrity Fit Club”: Sebastian’s Bach is worse than his bite

While Jon Bon Jovi is busy making television appearances as part of his “artist in residence” responsibilities for NBC, his fellow Central Jersey rocker Sebastian Bach is struggling to shed pounds on VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp.”

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The Lincroft resident has become somewhat of a reality show regular in recent years, participating in “Celebrity Rap Superstar,” “Supergroup” and “Gone Country 2” (which he won) prior to joining “Celebrity Fit Club.” And I must say, he’s a lot of fun to watch.

I can reassure you that the former Skid Row frontman is not putting on an act.  What you see on TV is definitely what you get in person – or at least on the phone, as I did during an interview with him in 2008.

Sebastian is another star who proudly embraces his home state of New Jersey, and you gotta love that.

“30 Rock”: Jon is c’est bon

Sayreville, N.J., son Jon Bon Jovi recently rocked “30 Rock” – and managed to give a shout-out to a state university, too.

“I have an honorary degree from Monmouth University,” he assured Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) in the above clip.

And it’s not just any honorary degree – it’s an honorary doctorate, which he was awarded back in 2001. According to this article written by my former colleague, Chris Jordan, Jon’s speech was very inspiring for graduates of the West Long Branch college.

“At this very moment, all across the country, thousands of graduates are receiving diplomas, some from schools like Yale, Georgetown and Dartmouth, who may think their piece of paper is more valuable — or their commencement speaker more impressive,” Jon told them during his commencement speech.

“Remember, we’re from Jersey. We’ve been underdogs all of our lives.”

I knew there was a reason I’ve always liked Jon Bon.

Nothing says New Jersey like a little Bon Jovi

One of the things I like most about Jon Bon Jovi is that he always gives a shout-out to his home state – the Garden State.

Heck, he even named one of his albums after Jersey.

And the love just keeps on coming. In the opening minutes of his recent appearance on “Inside the Actors Studio” (along with band mates David Bryan, Tico Torres and Richie Sambora), he gave us props once again.

“Where were you born?” asked host James Lipton.

“In the great state of New Jersey,” Jon proudly replied. “Perth Amboy, New Jersey.”

“And here’s a little-known fact,” he continued. “Richie, David and I were all born in the same hospital – delivered by the same baby doctor.”

I believe he’s referring to Raritan Bay Medical Center. Wonder if Dr. Greenberg is still practicing or if he’s retired?

On a side note, I’ve known Bon Jovi (not personally, of course) for most of my life. But what else would you expect of someone who was a teenager in the ’80s in New Jersey?

My association with the band goes a little farther, though: I was present for the filming of the band’s “7800° Fahrenheit” single “Only Lonely” in 1985 at a club called Modern Times in Jon’s hometown of Sayreville. (The club is now very well-known as Starland Ballroom.) If you squint really hard while watching the video, you might see me. Or not. Hey, I was only 15 and 5’7″!

I don’t remember much else, except there was a lot of standing around in a large crowd of people. Not surprisingly I didn’t get anywhere near Jon or any of the other band members. But I was there.

In the meantime, if you get the opportunity definitely check out David’s “The Toxic Avenger Musical.” I saw it last year at New Brunswick’s George Street Playhouse and it was a lot of fun. It’s got a lot of Jersey jokes in it, so you’ll enjoy it that much more if you’re a Garden Stater.

And Richie was just in his hometown of Woodbridge this week, where a street leading into the high school was named in his honor. You can read my former Home News Tribune colleague Chris Jordan’s story about Richie’s time in Middlesex County right here, and there’s a whole online gallery of photos here.

Who says you can’t go home?

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