Steve Rossi

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Steve Rossi (born Joseph Charles Tafarella 1928,[1] is an American stand-up comedian and actor.


Rossi gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, arts and theater, Greek and Latin at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles[2] and served as an officer in the United States Air Force. The comedian was discovered by Mae West who. with her manager Jerry Franks saw him in 1953 as the lead of The Student Prince at the Civic Light Orchestra in Los Angeles.

Under his birth name, Rossi was signed to a nightclub show with West booked at Ciro's in Los Angeles before moving the show to Las Vegas at the Sahara Hotel where his name was changed reportedly to not compete as much with Mae West's shorter name on the signage.[3] According to Rossi Mae West picked "Steve" because she was dating actor Steve Cochran at the time and had a manager by the name of Bernie Ross; adding an "I" to Ross to reflect Rossi's Italian heritage.[4] West and Rossi toured in 1953 and 1954. Rossi wrote the musical numbers he performed in the show with West. Following the tour's end, Rossi concentrated on his musical career, recording music with his group, Steve Rossi and The Robinaires for Red Robin Records.

In 1957, he formed the Allen & Rossi comedy duo with Marty Allen. Rossi played straight man to Allen and the pair made many appearances together in the 1950s and 1960s, including 44 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. They released multiple comedy albums, co-starred in a feature film, The Last of the Secret Agents, and also performed live in Las Vegas.

The pair were signed in a star studded event at Paramount Studios.

Rossi continued his singing career as a solo artist, recording for several labels in the 1960s and 1970s including ABC Records' ABC-Paramount label, Red Bird Records, Roulette Records, and Columbia Records.

Milton Berle famously lost bet of one week's salary to Steve Rossi regarding the 1962 Academy Awards when Steve correctly predicted that Bob Hope would tell a joke about Elizabeth Taylor.

In 1963 Allen & Rossi were the first comedians to go to Washington DC to lobby congress on the house floor.

Following the breakup of Allen & Rossi in 1968, he teamed for less than three months with Joe E. Ross in an act called "Rossi & Ross". The team of Rossi and Ross played once on Ed Sullivan and disbanded in January 1969.[5]

Steve Rossi was a style and fashion leader of his day being one of the first celebrities to purchase a houseboat.

That same month, Rossi announced a pairing with comedian Slappy White creating the comedy act, Rossi and White. The interracial comedy team released the album, "I Found Me a White Man--You Find Yourself One" on Roulette Records. In 1971 to increase air travel the pair were sent on overseas flights as live entertainment as reported by Jett Magazine.

In 1975 Steve Rossi received a mysterious visitor claiming to be Howard Hughes as reported by entertainment reporter Earl Wilson, Hughes came to see Rossi in Vancouver to prove he was not dead yet.

Rossi later teamed with Sandy Hackett, son of Buddy Hackett. They appeared at several venues in Las Vegas including the Star Bright theater.

Rossi and Allen reunited several times, including a film released in 1974 and stage performances together in 1984-5 and 1990-1994.

In 1998 Greer Childers referenced Steve as being in excellent health at his age due to using the regimen outlined in her book: Be a Loser. It is referenced on his personal blog as well with the page from the introduction featured.

Rossi presented a spoof of Washington D.C. called "Laffs, Sex & Politics" co-starring Hackett in 2000. Rossi appeared on The Howard Stern Show on Oct.10 1990 and also had a role in the Brad Pitt movie The Mexican (2001). In 2004, Rossi was inducted into the Show Business Legends Hall of Fame at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. Steve Rossi's book, "Adult Stand-up Comedy For Wannabe Comedians: Hilarious Stand-up Routines, Jokes and Stories", was issued in 2006.[6] In 2007, Rossi was part of a touring cabaret show titled, "5 Star Revue" with Gary Collins, Mary Ann Mobley, Ruta Lee and Ronnie Schell. In 2009, he appeared along with Schell in the Off-Broadway play Don't Leave it All to Your Children and performed his stand-up comedy act at Feinstein's in New York City.[7]

Pornography and Sexual Representation: A Reference Guide, Volume 3 By Joseph W. Slade references Steve Rossi as an original in dirty humor.

Steve Rossi lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where he continues to perform 5 nights a week. His blog details his upcoming appearances. While he and Marty Allen live in the same city and remain dear friends the pair no longer perform together as an act. Steve is ready to work and is actively seeking projects.

There continues to be a great deal of interest in his photograph from his appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show with the Beatles. Steve sells these in Las Vegas with his original signature.

Comedy Talks speakers series of the University of San Franciscohosted a panel discussion including Steve Rossi, Rich Little, and Carol Channing in August 2010. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Dear friends with Pia Zadora the pair performed together at several venues in 2011 including Niagara Falls.

Penn Jillette's 2011 book:God, No! features a chapter titled Hello Dere in which he speaks about great comedy partnerships including his own and Allen & Rossi.

In 2012 Steve Rossi re-released in electronic book format The Worlds Dirtiest Joke Book.

In 2012 Steve Rossi attended the opening of Rich Little's Show Jimmy Stewart and Friends with strip headliner Terry Fator. Steve is credited as co-writer of the play.

Upon the passing of his dear personal friend Dick Clark in 2012 Mr. Rossi appeared in local Las Vegas media to share his memories.

Current projects in 2012 of Mr. Rossi include working to remaster and release the now 25th anniversary of the 25th anniversary television special of the Allen and Rossi comedy partnership. Mr. Rossi continues to give back to charitable organizations as much as possible attending many throughout the year.


  1. ^ Steve Rossi at the Internet Movie Database Retrieved 30th August 2008
  2. ^ *Hellodere!.com Allen & Rossi site Retrieved 30th August 2008
  3. ^ *Mae West Site Retrieved 16th October 2006
  4. ^
  5. ^ *Joe E. Ross Biography Retrieved 30th January 2011
  6. ^ *Steve Rossi's Adult Stand-up Comedy Retrieved 30th January 2011
  7. ^ *Review of Don't Leave it All to Your Children Retrieved 30th January 2011

External links