Sebastian Maniscalco on 'dad comedy' and becoming a 20-year overnight success

Sebastian Maniscalco

Sebastian Maniscalco Promotional image

When Sebastian Maniscalco came to town last year for a sold-out show at the State Theater, his wife had just had a baby.

At the time, he was exhausted, happy, and hell-bent on not becoming a “dad comic.” A little over a year later, he’s coming back for two sold-out shows, and his life is even better than before.

“My daughter sleeps through the night, it’s great,” he says.

His career is pretty amazing right now, too. This past year he released an autobiography, Stay Hungry, and wrapped film roles in Green Book, which just won an award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and The Irishman, where he worked alongside the likes of Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. Oh, and he sold out a bunch of shows at Madison Square Garden in New York for January.

“I’ve been doing standup for 20 years, but it feels like the tide has changed lately,” he says about his growing success. “It feels like it all happened at once, but it’s because of all the time I’ve been on the road and in the clubs, and the fans who talk to their friends and get them to check me out. That’s why this is happening.”

As for the dad comic part? He might be backpedaling just a little bit.

“I’m not a guy who is going to be onstage being like, ‘You won’t believe what my kid did!’ But I do find inspiration in situations that my wife and I end up in now as parents,” he explains. “Like right now we’re being interviewed by preschools and dealing with parents at other kids’ birthday parties. Parenthood has leaked into my standup.”

That’s not to say that his no-holds-barred observations aren’t still in full-effect both on stage and in real life. Whether he’s discussing his distaste for Uber (“It’s like hitchhiking with your phone”), confusion over why people think it’s okay act like assholes in public, or other parents’ lack of social cues, he’s unapologetically candid, and doesn’t give anyone a free pass.

“I like to give people a plethora of options with my standup,” he says. “If you don’t connect with the parent stuff, I’ve got plenty of other stuff that’s more for you.”

When it comes to his turn as an author, Maniscalco is the first to admit that writing a memoir – especially while his star is still on the rise – wasn’t on his showbiz bucket list.

“I never set out to write a book,” he says flatly. “But then I started talking to my manager and my wife about how maybe there were some stories that I’d like to tell that would be better in printed form than in standup. I wanted to talk about who I am offstage, my struggles getting to this point, blanking for 15 seconds on Fallon. So I did it, and I think I’d like to write another one later on about where I’ve gone since the last one came out.”

As for what's next, Mansicalco has no idea.

“I don’t have a vision board or anything like that,” he says. “I wake up and see where the day takes me. I don’t want to open a restaurant or anything like that. Right now it’s about family first and continuing on with standup.”


Sebastian Maniscalco
State Theatre
7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday