New York.- By Vicki J. Yiannias
Astoria-born Jimmy Santis, “Super Greek”, a professional singer whose songs have made the Top 10 several times, has a huge following in the Greek American world, including friends who donʼt even speak Greek but who have tuned into the ineffable humor he projects in his musical comedy acts.
Santisʼs original concept of setting Greek/English/Gringlish parodies about the collision of two worlds — America and the old country — to well-known songs has taken off on a scale that perhaps he had never imagined.
Super Greek has been performing his musical comedy act around the country from Greek Nights at comedy clubs, GOYA events, Philoptohos, AHEPA, and Leadership 100 to the Montreal International Comedy Festival. And along with Super Greekʼs phenomenally popular collection of CDʼs there is appropriate attire available for that listening experience on the Super Greek website. “Super Greek In Love” T-shirts are flying out along with “got horta?” “got koulouri?”, “got bamies?” and “got pethera?” T-shirts.
Santis is a born comedian; when he walks onto the stage the audience starts laughing before he even begins his hilarious, and many times risqué takes on the funnier aspects of the Greek American experience, such as, Santis told The Greek News, the “inappropriate imported Greek bride and other typical stories based on what all Greek Americans seem to go through, universally frustrating themes like food, relatives… the immigrant experience.”
His 6th comedy CD titled Hey Little Mitso, his bestseller over all so far with its crack-up funny songs Donʼt Yaʼ and Tzeemeeʼs Dirlanda, and the CD Hey Yia Yia, a collaboration with Greek American comedian Basile. His recently released debut DVD, Jimmy Super Greek Santis Rocks Montreal Live was filmed live in Montreal when he and Greek American comedian Basile played to an audience of over 2,000 people and brought the house down. A prior CD, Hey Yia Yia, was also a Santis and Basile collaboration.
His Super Greek Fun Pack! includes CD classics that stay fresh no matter how many times you see and hear them. “I love when people come up to me after a show to tell me their favorite songs…that they’ve worn out the CD’s from always playing them in their cars,” says Santis.
In May 2008 Santis teamed up with Greek-Australian comedian Jim Dailakis for a show in Montreal filmed live; two DVDʼs, one for each artist’s show, will be released this fall. Santis and Dailakis are also putting together a string of shows titled The Vlaka Plaka Tour opening at the Tribeca Theater in New York on October 11th and continuing to other cities.
Santisʼs Super Greek show, which began at the annual Talent Show (directed by Santis) at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan, made a London debut in January 2008 with three sold out shows at The Millfield Theater. Super Greek shows are also slated for Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York as well as follow up shows in Binghamton, England.
You can also see Santis in a powerhouse comedy show titled Greek Gods of Comedy with Basile, Ellen Karis, and Jim Mendrinos.
Will changes in EU Greece limit Super Greekʼs material parodies on the Greek American experience, that collision of two worlds? No, says Super Greek, “There is still plenty of ʽold countryʼ material to draw from, but the show has also evolved in that “Super Greek has a lot more tales to tell about his constant mishaps and misunderstandings with women, making money, and getting into trouble every time he puts his foot in his mouth”.
Santisʼs early musical journey began when he worked as a recording engineer at one of N.Y.C. top studios, Sigma Sound, where he worked with such legendary recording artists as Madonna, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, James Brown and Frank Sinatra.
In addition to his parodies Santis writes songs for film, contemporary Christian music and mainstream pop. As a songwriter he has enjoyed success both in the U.S. and overseas with several Top 10 hits. One of his songs, “A Girl Can Dream”, has been recorded by 5 different artists around the world and recently became a Top 10 hit in the Philippines. He also had the title track for the album “Heart Of A Champion” recorded by CARMAN (Sparrow/EMI Records), which went to # 1 on Billboardʼs Christian charts and has had several hits in Spain and Denmark with their regional recording artists.
Super Greekʼs food pantheon, which includes koulouria, horta, and much-dreaded bamies (okra), among others, ranks high as a theme, and is inspired by his own life and the people in it. “My Yiayia was a horta addict,” says Super Greek, about his grandmotherʼs influence one of his famous early songs, Itʼs the Horta U Love. “Did your grandmother wander around the countryside with a knife and a plastic bag scouting for dandelion greens, too? Well, see… I just think thatʼs crazy!”
Super Greek has performed his musical comedy around the country from Greek Nights at comedy clubs, GOYA events, Philoptohos, AHEPA, Leadership 100, to the Montreal International Comedy Festival.