Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco to make funny faces at F.M. Kirby Center
WILKES-BARRE — Jerry Seinfeld described comedian Sebastian Maniscalco as someone who “looks funny, moves funny and talks funny.” On Feb. 11, Maniscalco brings his unique brand of humor to the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
The stand-up comedian has gained popularity for his observational humor and over the top facial expressions. He starred in three Showtime specials, appeared with Seinfeld, his mentor, in “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and has his own popular podcast, “The Pete and Sebastian Show.”
Maniscalco always knew he wanted to be an entertainer.
“Ironically enough, I told my second-grade teacher that I wanted to be a stand-up comedian,” Maniscalco said. “I got looks of bewilderment. I mean, what second grader’s watching stand-up? I just always knew I was going to fall into this one way or another.”
Maniscalco grew up outside of Chicago, but moved to Los Angeles in 1998 to pursue his entertainment dreams. He worked as a waiter at the Four Seasons Hotel during the day and pursued stand-up in his free time.
“When I first started out, you were getting stage time wherever they had an open mic night, whether it be a laundromat (or a) bowling alley. Any place that gave us time and an area where we could practice, we went, no matter how much money they were giving us. It wasn’t about the money. It was just about how do we get better, where can we go to get better? Whatever place offered us a sandwich and stage time, we went.”
In 2005, actor Vince Vaughn hosted a touring road show called Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show. Maniscalco was one of four comedians chosen to tour. This opportunity led him to quit his day job and work full time as a comedian.
Maniscalco said he wasn’t always as likeable as he is today.
“When I first started doing comedy, I was very angry,” he said.
The more time he spent on stage, the more he realized what worked for his audience.
“I noticed when I started to feel a lot more comfortable on stage my body movements started to increase and my facial expressions were part of the storytelling,” he said. “I just noticed that people were gravitating towards the simple movements. I try and do a lot to make people laugh, not only delivering the jokes but kind of acting it out and facial expressions. That seems to be my recipe for what I do on stage to make people laugh.”
Maniscalco makes people laugh all over the world. The internet has afforded him more opportunities to perform in new places, like last year’s trip to Australia. However, he said, “You have to write more material than you would have if the internet wasn’t around because people now see everything you do. It’s sometimes hard to keep up with the demand.”
He isn’t worried about a lack of material.
“I’ve done pretty well coming up with new material as long as I’m living my life. I mean my wife’s having a baby on May 1. We’re going to have a lot of material to pick from with the baby.”
Maniscalco is looking forward to his first show in Wilkes-Barre.
“I always loved going to a city that I’ve never been to before because chances are a lot of those people haven’t seen me live yet and if you haven’t see a live comedy show, it’s very different than watching it on a small laptop or an iPhone or even on the TV,” he said. “There’s a lot of nuances when you go to a live comedy show that you just don’t pick up in a broadcast TV special so for those of you who haven’t seen the live show yet, it’s quite the experience.
Reach the arts and entertainment department at 570-991-6111 or at [email protected]
What: Sebastian Maniscalco stand-up show
When: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 11
Where: The F.M. Kirby Center, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets start at $39.75. Visit ticketmaster.com/event/02005130C7185DB9 to purchase.