The packed room that came to see Sebastian Maniscalco last night at Gotham Comedy Club got an extra little treat, a surprise performance by Jim Gaffigan. After MC Buddy Fitzpatrick’s great warming up of the crowd, which is a rare talent as anyone who’s ever had to warm up a cold crowd can attest to, Jim came on and killed it for ten minutes.
I’ll never forget when I interviewed Jim for my book, he told me he suffered with severe stage fright for the first six years of his career. You’d certainly never know it and I think of that a lot before I go on stage when I’m feeling a little anxious! You never know what you say to someone that resonates with them and has an affect on their lives.
Jim’s favorite topic seems to revolve around food, and he did a lot of material about McDonalds. Like about how good McDonald’s fries are, but if you try and reheat them in the microwave they become packing peanuts! He even comments on that one loose fry it’s so exciting to find at the bottom of the bag. He calls it “the bonus fry!” It’s always long and you find yourself wondering, ” How did I miss you?”
He commented on hotels providing stationery, because like me, the moment he checks into a hotel the first thing he likes to do is write a letter!
Next up was Rajiv Satyal, an Indian comic from LA. Russell Peters gave a lot of Indian guys the courage to show they can be funny! (LOL) Rajiv talked about how different ethnicities mispronounce certain sounds in English, like the Asians with “R’s” and “L’s” and the Indians with “V’s” and “W’s”. He went into a Subway looking for a healthy sandwich and the Indian guy behind the counter offered him a “Weggie”, ( pronounced Wedgie!) I think I laughed out loud at that one! Great visual of a guy behind the counter grabbing a customer by the underwear!
Then Sebastian took the stage. The first time I met him was on the Kandy Kruise from LA to Mexico. Five hundred guys and 1500 girls all from Maxim, Playboy and Penthouse. It was sick. and he was one of the “Playboy comics”. Just to get people just to show up for the show at all was a big accomplishment when there’s that many gorgeous girls to look at!
I saw him again this past July in Montreal when he was on Russell Peters’ show “Best of the Fest”, which Russell described as just another night of comedy in LA! (LOL) We were hanging out backstage after the show, where I took the photo below.
The thing about Sebastian is that he makes comedy “hip”! Some comics play off their “lameness”, but Sebastian is cool. He slips into his Jersey Shore Italian voice, when he’s talking about the dancing and meeting girls on the club scene, and almost becomes Vinnie Barbarino, for those of you who remember John Travolta in those days. he’s so relaxed, and very physical which I never expect him to be. He dances around and often acts out his material, which is great! Most of the time, I stand there like I’m nailed to the stage! (LOL)
He started out talking about Customer Service at the airport, and how the people who work there look upset that you even showed up to fly. And what if your bag happens to be four pounds over the weight limit? They make you take four pounds of clothing out? And where are you supposed to put it? In your carry-on! It’s still going on the plane!!!
That actually happened to me, but it was about ten pounds I had to take out. Unlike most people, I don’t often travel with a clothing scale, so I’m guessing on the weight of each thing while people are walking by and I’m frantically grabbing things out of my bag and mentally weighing them! Trust me, it’s only funny afterwards!
He’s always busy, so he wonders about these people that have the time to demonstrate in the street, or to show up every day to follow a trial like the Michael Jackson trial. ” Whatta youse people do when there’s no trial? You got nothin’ else to do?
He even talks about “kids these days” without sounding like a comic from the Ed Sullivan days. If his father took him and his family out to eat there was no such thing as saying you didn’t like the food. “Chicken and broccoli? One look from his father and he’d be like, ” Don’t worry, I’ll get it down.” These days kids complain they don’t like the menu, and a Mom might say something like, “Timmy, is that a good choice?”
But when he talked about his Dad not being too tech savvy and he was trying to guide him onto the internet over the phone, that was hysterical! Especially when his Dad asked what to do with the foot pedal! He had put the mouse on the floor trying to work it with his foot! Sebastian had to tell him, ” It’s not a sewing machine Dad, it’s a computer!”
I hope I get to see him again soon! He was really great!