Tammy Pescatelli to Appear at the Greenwich Odeum

Okee dokee folks… I first heard of comedian Tammy Pescatelli a couple years ago when I stumbled across her comedy special, Finding The Funny, on Netflix (originally on Netflix, now on Amazon Prime and iTunes). This stand-up comedy video featured Tammy’s sarcastic and witty way of finding humor in day-to-day life. She is also of Sicilian heritage and often pokes fun at being an Italian girl. Pescatelli has been making people laugh for more than 25 years, but her career took off in 2004 when she was a finalist on Season 5 of “Last Comic Standing.” She has since starred in comedy specials, countless TV and radio appearances, her own reality show, has released CDs and tours worldwide garnering legions of new fans with every performance. I had a very enjoyable phone conversation with Tammy about her comedy and her upcoming appearance at the Greenwich Oedum on Saturday, December 14.

My interview with Tammy was supposed to have taken place a week or so sooner but Pescatelli couldn’t make the call because of illness. Fortunately we were able to connect and the first thing I asked her about was the vomit status. She told me she was feeling better but Facebook was making her sick to her stomach because her advertising for shows was being messed with. Evidently other comedians, such as Jim Breuer, were suffering the same fate, “I guess we’re on the chopping block!” she exclaimed. I sympathized with her as I have had my own issues with the social site. Pescatelli tries to target advertise to Facebook folks in order to maximize the enjoyment at her shows. “I don’t want people to feel like they’ve wasted their money, there’s not a lot of disposable income these days … if we have some like interests in common we have a better chance of having a good time!”

We went on to discuss more about Facebook and how I felt that Mark Zuckerberg is not the kind of person to be running a billion dollar business and she replied, “Name one person that is running a billion dollar business that should be running one…that’s why I never talk about politics, by the time they get to that level they can’t relate, they don’t pump their own gas or have to run to the grocery store at nine o’clock at night because they didn’t have milk for the morning…I don’t know why people fight over it, those politicians don’t relate to us anyway.”


Tammy has an 11-year-old son and I asked her if she continued to perform while she was pregnant like another comedian, Ally Wong, had done recently in her own stand-up special. “Yes, ten years later, ten years later, ten years later, things have come a long way since!” She told me that she did NESN Comedy All Stars when she was 7 months pregnant and was on stage right up until the night she gave birth. When she told her agent about the pregnancy he told her, “I guess your career is over…I haven’t ever seen a pregnant woman on stage.” She replied to him, “I guess you’ve never been to a really bad strip club!”

Nevertheless she continued to perform. She likes to think she had a little something to do with comedians like Ally Wong being able to perform while pregnant. Back then comedian’s wives had the kids. Things were a lot different now than years ago. Pescatelli used to know all the working female comedians now she says that there are hundreds of them. Her desire wasn’t to be a female comic, she just wanted to be a comic. I told her that this all sounds like the little I know of the plot of the series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Her response was, “I love that show, I think it’s superb…but her parents watch her kids and within three months she was on “The Tonight Show” … that never happens!”

One thing that I have noticed as a fan of stand-up comedy is that the bigger the acts get the shorter the performances, the less intimate the show gets with a bigger venue. My girlfriend LOVES Sebastian Maniscalco and would love to see him live, but he is performing arenas and the ticket prices are crazy expensive! Tammy mentioned that Sebastian is a very good friend of hers and she says, “We came up together and to see his success has been one of the best things…I would feel like you do for MOST things like that but I watched him at Madison Square Garden and he made each of those people in there feel like it was an intimate performance!”

We talked about other comedians and expectations from the audience and she told me about an instance where a woman told her, “I think you’re really funny, but you look too much like my husband’s ex girlfriend so I can’t really like you!” Tammy remarked, “So she had a miserable night because she was thinking about her all night? You can’t take it personally.”

Pescatelli had made reference to having a master’s degree so I asked her about that. “That was a lot of work, it’s in business, that I got online… I had a really good time as an undergrad, I was in fashion design at Kent State, but I never used it because within three months I was working at a radio station, which I got because I did an open mic at a comedy club and they hired me to do the morning show! They hired me to be funny but then they tried to have me do business stuff like read the news… I had comics on every Friday and I would ask them questions about being a comedian and learn from that.”

I asked her what made her decide to get into comedy, fashion design to comedy being a bit of a leap. “I was always in all the plays, I wanted to be a theater major, but my parents wouldn’t pay for it…and I loved stand-up…I snuck an Eddie Murphy tape into the house, you have to understand I was such a good kid, I had Italian parents who were super strict, and I hid in my closet under a sleeping bag and listened to the tape never knowing that I could be a stand-up but I just loved it…I got a job as a waitress in a comedy club so I could watch stand-up, I was the world’s worst waitress but I got bit by the comedy bug…a female comic came through and back in those days the female comedians I saw on TV were talking about things I couldn’t relate to; though I can relate to them now — husbands, aging, sex life, etc…this female comedian at the club was young and I could relate to her and I was dumb enough to tell my brothers that I was as funny as she is so they bet me $50 to do it and being a college student $50 was a lot of money and I was broke!…some may think it was egotistical to have said that but it wasn’t, it was confidence that got me to try it…some of the best people at football, scientists, whatever, may have never done it unless they took a chance and tried, you have to try…you never know unless you try!”

As I mentioned earlier I was introduced to Pescatelli’s comedy from her Finding The Funny special on Netflix, I asked her about any upcoming specials in the works. “I had this idea, because when I was in high school I told my guidance counselor that I wanted to be an actress and she told me that you are from a small town in Ohio and no one from here has ever been on TV and if you want to be on TV you’re going to have to rob a bank…I wanted to go back to my old high school to do a show…I thought why go big when you can go home? I wanted to go perform for people who knew me before puberty… I wanted to use kids from the high school, they now have an AV department, so they could work alongside the professionals…I thought how great would it be for these kids to graduate with an IMDB credit! The people who were producing the special didn’t want to do it at the high school but I had already promised the kids…so I had to wait and I had to produce it myself…so this is called The Way After School Special….it’s really cool and has a lot of heart behind it…it kind of looks like Napoleon Dynamite if you ask me…there’s a podium, a marching band and at one point I am in my old cheer-leading uniform…I’m pretty proud of it!”

I mentioned to Tammy that RI has a high percentage of people with Italian heritage and remarked that she should do well because of her Italian/Sicilian humor references. She chimed in, “Italian or Sicilian, but if noone is around it’s all the same…when I did Last Comic Standing in 2004 that was the basis of my comedy because that is all I knew was my family but nowadays I do talk about other stuff but ultimately I am Italian so it does create some of my sensibilities…I just got back from a tour of Israel and I was very blessed the way the Jewish audiences received me, it was so amazing…it all just comes across from relating to family and ridiculousness…and who doesn’t have a brother who has brought a million broads to your table? Who doesn’t have a crazy mother-in-law? And parents who are lunatics?”

I brought up how she picks on her husband quite a bit and she calls him pretty but not smart. “He thinks it’s great, he feels like I’m advertising him…he loves that I talk about him…he knows he is a huge part of my act and he knows how much I love him, he knows how the dynamic works.”

I asked about her son and if she mentions him much. “No, I don’t, I tell one or two things that are generic about him but he didn’t make the choice to be in the act, everybody else benefits from it, my parents, my husband — he drives a nice car because of my act…well, there is one thing I do talk about my son, he solved the Rubik’s Cube, when I was a kid if you solved it NASA came and got you, my son said ‘Mom, you’ve never solved the Rubik’s Cube?’, not for real but I peeled and moved the stickers and told people that I did…it’s not really a joke about him it’s more of a commentary about the differences when I was a kid and he was a kid.”

We chatted a bit more and probably could have talked for much longer than we did. Pescatelli has lot more coming up that will keep her quite busy-Women of a Certain Age on Showtime, a new channel called Circle TV will launch in January and she will be one of the hosts on a comedy show there, and the new special coming out and touring! Tammy was friendly and accessible and it was a pleasure to talk with her. Eventually we had to wrap it up but I did ask her a bit about the Odeum Show on December 14. She told me that opening the show is comedian Collin Chamberlin. Pescatelli remarked that he is very funny and works with her often. He will also be part of her new show on Sirius XM.  She added, “I feel like my act has never been better and I think that people are catching on…people my age, 50, who come out for the show want to know that they are getting the bang for their buck…I deliver! I can’t wait for the show in RI and besides anyone that is related to ‘Pauly D’ I want to be friends with!”

For more about Tammy Pescatelli’s stand-up comedy show at the Greenwich Odeum on December 14, chuckle over to: 

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.