New York comedian and Uniontown, Pennsylvania native Adam Lucidi to perform Oct. 17 at The Coach in Carbondale
CARBONDALE—With a population of 10,372, Uniontown, Pennsylvania is the largest city in Fayette county, as well as the county’s seat. Physically, Uniontown’s location in the rural Southwestern corner of the state puts it approximately nine hours by car from New York—realistically, the city is a different world compared to the Gotham metropolis. Uniontown native Adam Lucidi knew he’d have to take a nine-hour one-way trip if he wanted to live out his dream of being a comedian, so he took his vitamins, said his prayers and transplanted himself in Hoboken, New Jersey.
“It’s definitely a big difference,” Lucidi said. “When I first moved out here I still had that small town mentality about me; I would tell people hi, I would smile at them and make eye contact with them. They don’t do that kind of stuff out here. If you smile at somebody they’re like, ‘what are you trying to pull?’”
Lucidi has been a resident of New Jersey since his 2008 graduation from California University of Pennsylvania (disclaimer: the author of this article attended California University of Pennsylvania at the same time as Lucidi and the two volunteered at the college’s radio station, 91.9 FM WCAL). He has become a regular in the New York City comedy scene by performing as both a stand-up comedian and show host, and on Saturday, Oct. 17 he’ll utilize his skills with the former at The Coach in Carbondale.
“I’ve been to Carbondale a few times and it’s so much fun,” Lucidi said. “It’s just a nice, fun group of people and places like that are completely different than places in the city. Here in the city, they take comedy for granted; it’s on every corner at bars and clubs. In places like Carbondale, comedy is a fun night out. They enjoy it a lot more than audiences in New York because they don’t take it for granted.”
Stand-up comedy became part of Lucidi’s life at a young age. When every other act at his 5th grade talent show was a group of lip syncing Spice Girls (this was the ’90s, after all), Lucidi performed as a ventriloquist with a monkey puppet. That’s when he realized he wanted to entertain people for a living. Lucidi’s next comedic milestone came at the age of 16, when he took the stage at the Improv’s Pittsburgh location.
“My dad had to actually call the place and see if I could come down because I was 16,” Lucidi said. “The manager said I could, but my dad had to stay with me the whole time so I didn’t sneak any alcohol. So I was just sitting in the back of the Improv waiting to go on with a bunch of old comics and my dad. He was kind of hoping I would bomb and it would just be a phase.”
Lucidi didn’t bomb. After repeat appearances at the Improv and a handful of sets in Pittsburgh bars, the child ventriloquist-turned-teenage stand-up performer graduated high school and was ready to move to New York and pursue a future in comedy. His parents, however, were ready to send him somewhere else.
“If it was up to me I would’ve been out here in New York right after high school, but my parents said I needed something to fall back on,” Lucidi said. “I didn’t think college was supposed to be a fallback plan; I always felt like the fallback plan was supposed to be welfare or something like that, not college. So after I graduated I moved out here.”
Lucidi spent his time at Cal U honing his craft on the campus radio waves and sporadically performing at The Underground, a weekly open mic night held at the college. When he finally arrived in New York, Lucidi began performing and hosting at venues in the area, including Greenwich Village Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club and Gotham Comedy Club. Today, the comedian can add venues in Connecticut, Denver and Los Angeles to his resume, but he almost let one of his biggest claims to fame pass him by.
“The bookers for AXS TV’s ‘Gotham Comedy Live’ own Levity and Gotham Comedy Club,” Lucidi explained. “They decide who gets to go on the show and a friend of mine who runs a show at Levity thought I’d be a good fit, so I went up and did the audition. The guy sent me an email a couple weeks later and asked me to come do a spot on the show. In my head I’m thinking, ‘he means come back to Levity and do another spot,’ so I emailed him and said I was already booked for that day. Luckily, he emailed me back right away and said, ‘just so we’re clear I’m offering you a spot on the TV show, not a spot at the club.’ I canceled what I was doing.”
Television isn’t the only medium Lucidi uses to help grow his audience. The comedian currently has over 3,500 followers on Twitter, and that number keeps growing thanks to his weekly WWE Monday Night RAW commentary and references to ’90s nostalgia. Lucidi understands that if he continues to offer the content, sooner or later the audience will find him. He may not have made it to New York as quickly as he wanted to, but that might have been a blessing in disguise—Lucidi is taking advantage of today’s culture and climate to help grow his brand, one Daniel Bryan and/or Tamagotchi fan at a time.
Lucidi’s hometown isn’t without its highlights—Uniontown is within driving distance of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and the historic Fort Necessity National Battlefield. The city is also known as the birthplace of both Marshall Plan namesake George C. Marshall and McDonald’s Big Mac sandwich. Lucidi’s birthplace isn’t on any national registries, but the Uniontown native has pursued his dream from Pittsburgh to New York to national tours and television. New York performances may be the norm for Lucidi now, but on Oct. 17 he’ll bring a piece of Broadway back to Pennsylvania.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
Who: New York comedian and Pennsylvania native Adam Lucidi
Where: The Coach in Carbondale
When: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 9 p.m.
How Much: $14