When John Sellitti walked into the nonverbal communication class at West Chester University seven years ago, guided by his seeing-eye dog, he told classmates that he wanted to be a comedian.
Then he introduced his dog, a German shepherd named Herpes.
"I just can't seem to get rid of him," he said.
There was a pub in the student union called "Cheers" where students would go to play video games, munch on pizza and procrastinate. This is where Sellitti broke into the business, doing a stand-up routine, with Herpes ever faithfully by his side.
One time he entered a comedy contest at a Philadelphia Main Line nightclub called the 23 East Cabaret -- the home of such bands as the Hooters and Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers. Sellitti placed in the competition and won a bottle of champagne. It was the talk of the nonverbal communication class.
"As a sighted John Sellitti," he says, he told his third-grade teacher that he wanted to be a comedian. And even losing his eyesight at 10, due to complications in surgery, didn't stop him.
He's performed at Dangerfield's and Caroline's in New York and the Improv in Los Angeles. He's been on Howard Stern's radio program a couple of times and is going to be featured on Stern's special television program on WWOR on Saturday night.
His material, he says, is "everyday stuff from a blind person's point of view."
On college: "My roommate at college would take my Braille homework and walk on it with cleats and change all the answers."
On driving: "My car has two gears, P and C -- Park and collision."
And of course, he never goes anywhere without Herpes: "He fetches my car keys!"
John Sellitti performs Friday night at 9 and Saturday night at 8:30 and 10:30 at Garvin's at the Ramada Inn in Alexandria. Tickets are $10, with a two-drink minimum. For reservations, call 726-6337.