WANTAGE — At 8 p.m. on Saturday inside the empty Airport Pub and Package, Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” may or may not have been blasting from the tavern’s jukebox.


It’s much like taking literally the philosophical theory “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make sound,” but for Curtis Raye, a longtime Wantage resident now residing in Milford, Pa., not knowing if the songs he requests on his Touchtunes app are playing is all part of the fun. It’s also part of a unique initiative to raise funds for restaurant workers who have lost funds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Several days after the state’s March 23 closure of bars and restaurants went into effect, Raye said he had just about exhausted all forms of entertainment on his cell phone. He had played every game, read every news article and watched every video before he opened up his Touchtunes app.


While scrolling through the app, which connects to tens of thousands of digital jukeboxes across the nation inside bars and restaurants, Raye wasn’t surprised to see all the jukeboxes within a 10-mile radius were shut down. That is until he found a lone one still running inside the Airport Pub, and decided to play a song for $1.20.


“I like to pretend that it somehow self-regenerated,” Raye, who is a comedy writer, laughed as he spoke with the New Jersey Herald.


While he wasn’t sure if it actually played inside the pub, it gave him an idea: Take to social media to see if people would be willing to send him $1.20 to play a song that would be heard, literally, by nobody. To boost the donation, Raye said he donates an additional $2 to each song request, with the proceeds later donated.


“I think it’s just silly enough that it is catching people’s attention,” Raye said.


And attention it is surely getting: At 8 p.m. each Saturday, Raye takes to Instagram live to play the requested songs, that literally nobody can hear, and chats with various celebrities, including “Saturday Night Live’s” Cecily Strong and actor Richard Kind, of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”


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In addition to speaking about the song selections, Raye also talks about Sussex County with the celebrities. In fact, Kind’s children attended the Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp in Sandyston with Raye, who is a 2003 High Point Regional High School graduate.


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This past Saturday, Raye had guest Ian Karmel, the head writer of “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” who pondered if anyone could hear the songs at Airport Pub: “You think there is a janitor there that thinks it’s haunted?”


Raye, who lived in Washington, D.C. and New York City before moving back to the area two years ago, said as a comedian, he is a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City. He reassured that he isn’t “friends” with the celebrities, but rather, is able to reach out to them and get a positive response due, in part, to the positive association to the theater.


One of the founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre is Matt Walsh, of “Veep,” who appeared in an Instagram live with Raye on April 11. Raye has also had Justine Lupe, of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Succession,” on the show.


Raye said that since the start of the fundraiser, he has been able to donate hundreds of dollars to local workers, usually made to those most in need through word of mouth.


“I am asking around to servers and others to see who is most in need, whether they are having trouble filing unemployment or just need that jolt to tide them over,” Raye said. “I want to help out in any way because these are the people that have been there for you your whole life.”


Raye said that since each song request is just $1.20, many feel empowered to continue requesting songs over the weeks. While the requests were initially sad — such as Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” — there have also been some classic songs from Bruce Springsteen.


While the Airport Pub and Package is closed as are hundreds of others due to the pandemic, it recently reopened for to-go packaged beer and spirits. But by 7 p.m., the doors are closed.


Those who wish to donate $1.20 to play a song nobody can hear can visit Raye’s website: www.lonelyjukebox.com. The selections will be announced on Raye’s next livestreamed event, to be held on Saturday, May 9, at 8 p.m. Raye said he is unsure who the celebrity guest will be but future guests will include Betsy Sodaro from the Netflix show “Disjointed.”


Lori Comstock can also be reached on Twitter: @LoriComstockNJH, on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/LoriComstockNJH or by phone: 973-383-1194.