Policeman-comedian finds laughs at work CHICAGO (AP> — Phil bleeding. H was the melting Centracchio laughed when roast leaking down his face, be met the kid who tried to swipe a pot roast by tucking it under his hat. Then he arrested him. And he chuckled when a police officer confused a can of mace with hairspray and knocked himself out. Then he look the cop to a hospital. Police work and crime, Centracchio says, are often good for a laugh. So when Centracchio leaves his daytime job as a cop and heads to his occasional nighttime job as a comedian, he always has plenty of material. One day, Centracchio recalls, a guy robbed a couple of gas stations and barricaded himself in an apartment building. "We must have had 200 police around the building," he said. A lieutenant, using a directory that traces phone numbers through addresses, called the apartment, and said, "This is it. I want you to come out in two minutes with your hands up..." Sure enough, Centraechio said, a man came out screaming, "I didn't do it. I didn't do it." The lieutenant had the wrong number. An officer for 22 years, Centracchio — who has spent mosl of his career in Ihe juvenile division — has a lot of crime stories, including the one about the pot-roast thief who was stopped by a supermarket cashier who thought his head was Centracchio has no trouble poking fun at serious situations. "Human nature is funny," he said. "Humor can be found in anything." Centracchio was born 45 years ago in a gritly area of ihe city dotted with neigh- lx>rhood bars and bordered by steel mills, where he says, you get "a stain instead of a tan in the summer." During college, Centracchio Centracchio — whose stage name is Phil Rossi — began playing and singing with a band. He started doing comedy a few years ago and has performed in clubs from Hawaii to Florida. Bui home still is Chicago, where Centracchio remains loyal to his community, visiting schools as a cop and performing at local fundraisers, often accompanied accompanied by his wife, Diane. He also keeps in touch with some of the roughest kids he met on the job, who are now family men. "They call me up," he said, "and say, 'We've got some rough kids who are throwing rocks at our car,'" Cenlracchio says he chides them, saying "The things you did — and now you're calling me." And after facing drug abusers, thieves and runaways day after day, Centracchio — whose routine includes imitations of Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo—says his comedy appearances are therapy.