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Jul, 2012

The Scene Interview

…You talking to me?

BY KEEGAN PROSSER

Compared to the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Johnny Carson, comedian Sebastian Maniscalco has made a career out of his hilarious commentary on human behavior. A native of Chicago – who now resides in LA – Maniscalco brings his unique brand of sarcasm and style to the Parlor Live Comedy Club August 2-4.

Recognized for his work on Vince Vaughn’s “Wild West Comedy Show,” Maniscalco’s track record also includes spots on Jay Leno, the award-winning series “The Savages,” “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” “Lopez Tonight,” “Tim Meadows’ The Very Funny Show,” – and a variety of Comedy Central and Showtime specials.

See what the funny guy had to say about his traditional upbringing, his confusion with reality TV and bad clothes:

SCENE: Describe your act in one word:

SM: Observational.

SCENE: What inspires your joke?

SM: My act is inspired by everyday life. I grew up in a very traditional Italian-American family with strong values – and I find that the way people behave today doesn’t really correspond with how I grew up.

SCENE: So what are your thoughts on “The Jersey Shore” phenomenon?

SM: I don’t typically watch the show; I’m still trying to figure out reality TV. Is it a reflection of our society – or what? But they’re making a hell of a lot of money doing what they’re doing.

SCENE: You’ve been compared to Jerry Seinfeld for your self-deprecating style. Is that something you aim to do?

SM: I grew up watching [Jerry] Seinfeld, [Johnny] Carson, Don Rickles – that observational type of comedy is the humor I enjoyed watching. And I saw similarities to my life and upbringing, and pulled from that.

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SCENE: You previously worked as a style correspondent on the Jay Leno show. What is your view on fashion?

SM: I pride myself on dressing nice, being presentable – and now you see guys in flip flops, girls wearing… I don’t even know. There seems to be no respect for anything.

SCENE: You worked with Vince Vaughn on his Wild West Comedy Show tour. How did that come about?

SM: I met Vince around 2003 at a comedy club. We shared some common interests being from Chicago, and we started talking. I was waiting tables at the time, and he called me up and asked me if I wanted to join him.

SCENE: Do you have any plans to work with him in the future?

SM: I’m still in touch with him. We talk every once in a blue moon. He is producing a show on TBS with a comedian friend of mine named Steve Burns, so he is getting into producing for television. So maybe down the road, who knows.

SCENE: Have you performed at the The Parlor before?

SM: Yes, this will be my third time. I love the clubs with Seattle-area audiences. They’re always hip and really receptive to the material. Lots of young people come out to the shows there.

SCENE: So what can we expect?

SM: A lot of new material.

SCENE: What other projects do you currently have in the works?

SM: Right now I am working on developing a TV show loosely based on my life. And [I] and another comedian are working on a new podcast that will be coming out in the next month.

Maniscalco performs at Parlor Live Comedy Club Aug. 2-4. $15-30. www.parlorlive.com.

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