Posts Tagged “Rajiv Satyal”

Sebastian Rocks Gotham Comedy Club

I first met Sebastian on the Kandy Kruise, a special charity cruise from Cali to Mexico that had 500 guys and 1500 girls. All the girls were from Playboy, Penthouse, Maxim, … you get the idea. It was a very quiet, relaxing cruise! (LOL) He was performing with Cort McKown from Playboy Comedy.

Sebastian Maniscalco and Cort McKown on the Kandy Cruise back in 2007!

Then I saw him again with Russell Peters on Russell’s Best of the Fest show in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival, and ran into him again when I was out in Cali doing Nick Kroll’s upcoming show on Comedy Central.

This week, Sebastian has been having sold out shows at The Gotham Comedy Club as part of the NY Comedy Festival, and if you have to ask “Sebastian who” you’re not in “the know”! ( To use an expression from 1810! LOL) One name is all he needs like Cher, Lindsay, Brad, … very rare for a comedian!

Sebastian, killing it onstage at Gotham Comedy Club in one of his 6 sold-out shows for the NY Comedy Festival!

He’s lucky he’s so well known cause “Sebastian Maniscalco” is not fitting on a marquee that easily! I popped in to see him last night and not only was my usual table filled, but the entire place was so packed, I wound up standing, which is something I don’t do. When I see a show at Gotham I’m popping up every few minutes to shoot photos, so I cant be wedged into a seat where I have to disturb other customers every time I get up.

Gotham is built for filming and shooting photos as they have a private passageway in the back of the room where you can shoot through glass. Sebastian’s show was so good, I made the decision to stand. So I positioned myself back there and took all the shots I needed.

First the show was MC’ed by Angelo Lozada, who I think is one of the best hosts out there today. There’s a special thing about being a host. Besides having great material, you have to be able to warm up the audience with some crowd work, and get people in the mood for a show. Angelo is very strong when it comes to that, and he knows how to put people in their place very gently but effectively.

Angelo Lozada hosting Sebastian’s show at Gotham Comedy Club!

Mark Normand was also on the show. His lines are very clever, and the crowd really liked him.

The very funny Mark Normand onstage at Gotham opening for Sebastian!

But let me see if I can describe what makes Sebastian so special. First of all he had his crowd there. They were there for HIM, and to that there was no doubt! His strength is not only his material, but his physicality. He embodies whatever person it is he’s talking about whether it be male of female, and moves constantly around the stage.

Somehow he manages to create a visual image of what he’s telling you, and with his sculptured and manicured look, when he does his “Italian thing” you could almost see John Travolta in his Saturday Night Fever days, if he had been a stand-up comic. And I mean that with the greatest respect, not as a slam in any way, shape or form!

When Sebastian talks about how in the old days you’d pick up a girl at a club, not only by your approach, but with your dancing, he totally nails it, and his moves are great! I was standing with Chris Mazzilli, the owner of the club and he totally agreed with me.

Sebastian said his tough Italian father never bought him and his siblings things. Instead he told then what kids owned the things they wanted, and where they lived, and left the rest up to them. “You know that dog you want? A kid five blocks away has that dog. That’s your dog.”

And his father always wanted to haggle over a deal. The dentist told him he needed a crown that cost 800 bucks. The father jumped out of the dentist chair and said, ” I got a crown guy. If I pay you cash, how much???” and Sebastian makes the “paying cash hand moves” that we’ve all experienced, with guys like that!

He talks about how badly we’re treated by airline personnel when going through the airport and how the only time they’re happy is when your bag is over the weight limit. “You’re three pounds over” the woman told him. “You have to take out three pounds of clothing.” He said,”And where am I supposed to put it?” And she said, ” In your carry-on!” And he wanted to explode, ” It’s still going on the plane! What’s the difference if it’s inside my luggage or in the overhead compartment? It’s the same three pounds!”

That observation got him an extended applause break of which there were many. And that’s why I put up with standing through the entire show, with no food or drinks. It was that good. And what’s really nice is that he told the entire audience to come and meet him afterwards to take photos if they wanted to. That’s a guy who really appreciates his audience!

I may actually go back to see him again tonight at 8 P.M. I just hope I don’t have to stand again! (LOL)

He’s also doing a new podcast with the very funny Pete Correale, and I can’t wait to check that out as well!

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Sebastian Maniscalco With Sold Out Show at Gotham

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.

Sebastian Maniscalco destroying the audience on stage at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC!

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?”

(L-R) Sebastian Maniscalco, Jim Gaffigan and Gotham owner Chris Mazzilli at Gotham Comedy Club!

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!

Rajiv Satyal on stage at Gotham proving more than one Indian guy can be funny!

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.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Sebastian Maniscalco backstage with Russell Peters in Montreal!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with Russell Peters at his show in Montreal, “Best of the Fest”!

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!

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