Some might say that Sebastian Maniscalco was given his break on the Wild West Comedy Show, but in reality, he's been in this game bringing the laughs for a while.
From stand-up on George Lopez to corresponding for Jay Leno and a Comedy Central special, you could say Sebastian has staying power, so it's time to get familiar with Sebastian and his opinionated hilarity. He brings his headline worthy show to the Irvine Improv this weekend; just do him one favor...don't wear your flip flops.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): So how was your vacation with your dad in Italy?
Sebastian Maniscalco: This trip to Italy has been long overdue. This was my first time there and my father hasn't been back for 50 years. Rome and Florence were a lot of sight-seeing and a lot of walking. The second half of the trip to Ravello and Sicily, have been a lot more relaxing and emotional. We went back to where my father grew up in a small fishing town outside Palermo called Cefalu and I saw the apartment where my father spent his first 15 years of his life. To watch my father relive his childhood right in front of me brought me to tears.
Was there any flip-flop wearing men driving you crazy?
As far as flip flops are concerned, Italians don't wear flip-flops. Everyone dresses up out there. The garbage men have uniforms designed by Prada.
Fancy pants! I know your folks are super supportive of you but, did your dad ever want you to follow in his footsteps?
My father comes from a family of barbers. He followed in his fathers footsteps and opened up hair salons in the "Chicago land area." He always let me choose my own path and interests. My father and mother are 110 percent supportive of my career and couldn't be happier.
So sweet, I love it! Do you still stay in touch with Vince Vaughn? Where the eff has he been lately?
I had dinner with Vince about a year and a half ago in NYC. We were attending the premiere Just Like Us at the Tribeca Film Festival. We don't really keep in touch. As a matter of fact, I don't think he even owns a cell phone. It's hard to believe it has been six years since we did the Wild West Comedy Show. When you find him, have him give me a call.
I saw the tour on HBO, excellent job! You travel around touring so much, where is (Irvine) your favorite place (Irvine) to perform?
Love performing in Irvine. The drive from LA sucks, but the crowds are awesome. I love coming home to Chicago. It's sort of a reunion. I get to see a lot of friends and family and the crowds are fantastic. I also enjoy Philly, NYC, Boston and Florida. The material in my act is very relatable to everyday life but those particular areas of the country seem to relate to my life and my point of view.
And being that you travel so frequently, do you find that there is endless material from being a keen observer at the airport?
I love and hate going to the airport. I love it because the things you see there are hysterical. However those same things bother the hell out of me. There needs to be a dress code. It looks like a slumber party.
Maybe you could start a website called "People of Airport." Just a thought...
I love the idea of starting a website to rival the People of Walmart. I have had contests asking people on Facebook to send in their worst airport sighting photos.
Speaking of, I saw you mentioned Al Sharpton on your Facebook. Being that he is on my "Most Hated List," let's bond. Have you thought of becoming a "Reverend" so you can get your own show too?
I had no idea I put that on my Facebook page. I might have to edit what I write. I think I might have to become a Reverend because this stand comedy thing is not opening any doors to a TV show. Let's see. Reverend Maniscalo. I think it has a nice ring to it.
I sense I'd believe you more. Do you think Jersey Shore is making a bad name for Italians or do you think Olive Garden already screwed that up?
The Jersey Shore is embarrassing, however it's a reflection of how debased this society has become. I urge people to come out to the show in Irvine and see how a real Italian behaves.
I read about some songs via Twitter that were on your "'80s fuck tape" like Cream and Push It, do tell...what other songs were on there? You're also quite the Ms. Cleo as "Cream" didn't come out until 1991. Just had to bust your balls...
Leave my balls out of this. To tell you the truth, I really never made it through one song on my fuck tape in the '80s.
It's OK, it's very typical. So do you feel comfortable on stage or is there some pre-show ritual you do to loosen yourself up?
I get a bit of anxiety before I go on stage however I am totally comfortable once I get up there. There is no pregame rituals. I see some comedians boxing or listening to an iPod and then they get up there and bomb. I think it's more for show than anything else. I used to get nervous about hecklers but now that I have been doing it for such a long time, I'm well prepared to handle any situation in the room.
Besides touring all over with your stand-up, what else are you working on?
I am working on developing a TV show like every other comedian in Hollywood and I'm taking some time off in November and December to concentrate on my acting. I have a Showtime special coming out in Feb 2012 and a DVD and national tour to follow. I have a video up on Funny or Die explaining how I love Jews and a new interactive website launching this month at www.sebastianlive.com. Also watch for the DVD release of Just Like Us, a documentary about comedy in the Middle East.
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So what's the scoop on what kind of material you're doing in Irvine?
Expect to see a lot of new material about my personal life. If you have seen a live show, you do not want to miss it. Comedy needs to be enjoyed live. Get off the computer and YouTube and come enjoy a fantastic night of comedy at the Irvine Improv. If not, stay home and watch the Jersey Shore.
For some more about Sebastian and to pick up some schwag, check out his website www.sebastianlive.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @S_Maniscalco. For tickets to his shows this weekend, call 949-854-5455 or log onto: www.improv.com. The Improv is located at 71 Fortune Drive #841 Irvine. (21+)