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John O'Hurley at the Café Carlyle

John O'Hurley Cafe Carlyle(Photo: David Andrako)

"The definition of a Celebrity is that you're allowed to do what you otherwise have no business doing." - John O'Hurley

Anyone fan of Seinfeld remembers Peterman, Elaine's pompous, larger-than-life boss who appeared on the sitcom from 1995-98. And what they probably remember the most about Peterman is his distinctive voice, which apparently was modeled after "'40s radio drama, combined with a bit of a bad Charles Kuralt."

Turns out the real Peterman, John O'Hurley, sounds a lot like the character in real life, which I discovered when I saw O'Hurley make his Café Carlyle debut last week. O'Hurley calls his show "A Man With Standards," referring to both songs by Henry Mancini, Hugo Peretti, Anthony Newley and others, and the gentlemanly manners that have been all-but-forgotten. Like Peterman, O'Hurley's show is peppered with anecdotes from his own colorful life, like the time he found himself in Frank Sinatra's Palm Beach home and, when asked to sing, performed one of Sinatra's own songs: Joe Raposo's "You Will Be My Music." (After an awkward silence, Sinatra told O'Hurley: "You sounded good.")

O'Hurley was long-winded at times, and he's not going to win any accolades for his singing voice, which was powerful but uneven. (Backing O'Hurley were Steve Rawlins on piano, Ron Vincent on drums, and Rusty Holloway on bass.) But, it's still an impressive, entertaining show, filled with unique stories from O'Hurley's New England upbringing, his years on The Young and the Restless and Seinfeld, and his more recent forays into reality TV with Dancing with the Stars and the National Dog Show. And, just when you thought you couldn't take any more of his pomposity, O'Hurley remind you of how he's fought and scraped for his success, with his perseverance eventually landing him on the biggest cabaret stage in New York. I guess I'd feel pretty good about myself, too. 

O'Hurley appears at the Café Carlyle through Saturday April 8, which is currently offering a special 2 for 1 deal without food and beverage minimums Tuesday-Thursday. Reservations and info on the Carlyle's website, or call +1 212 744-1600.

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