Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco Returns With Record Atlantic City Run, Why Would You Do That? Tour

Sebastian Maniscalco
Peggy Sirota

Sebastian Maniscalco

He returns to the road following the birth of his daughter in April.

One thing no one tells new parents is that after their baby is born, the hospital will inundate them with tests and confusing upgrades that aren't necessarily part of the new baby package.

"You got the nurses coming in and they’re checking my baby’s hearing. I’m kind of like my father, not trusting anyone and always feeling like I’m getting scammed. So I’m looking at them do this test and wondering 'is this part of the package, or is this an extra we gotta pay for?'” Sebastian Maniscalco tells Billboard about the birth of his daughter Serafina Simone in April. "Then they want you to buy these portrait packages that start at $29.95. My wife’s nipples are bleeding and you’re showing me an 8×10?"

After taking a little time off to be with his family after the birth of his daughter, the Italian-American comedian is getting back on the road, continuing the success that began with his breakout hit Showtime special "Aren't You Embarrassed?" Maniscalco's first show back includes seven performances at the Borgata in Atlantic City, breaking the record for most consecutive comedy appearances from July 6-9. 

“For whatever the reason, the Northeast of the United States has been my bread and butter,” he says. “Atlantic City has been really, really good to me. It's summertime, people love to gamble and love to make a weekend out of it.”?

Originally from Chicago, Maniscalco moved out to Los Angeles in 1998 to kick off his standup career, playing open mic nights and dive bars while he worked as a waiter at the Four Seasons before landing a regular gig at the Comedy Store in West Hollywood. He's appeared in a number of movies including The House starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler which opens Friday (June 30) and he's taped four comedy specials for Showtime including “Why Would You Do That?” with longtime friends Jerry Seinfeld and Tony Danza in the audience at the Beacon Theatre.

Since that hour-long show, he’s toured non-stop, going from theaters to amphitheaters and a headlining night at Madison Square Garden. Through it all, he said he's never apologized for a joke and isn't worried about his daughter one day seeing his comedy.

“There's nothing in my act that I would feel at all apprehensive of my daughter seeing,” he says, rating his animated and observational comedy as PG-13. “There's nothing in there that I'm ashamed of at all. And when she gets old enough, I will show her my act and that will be her bible.”

Maniscalco said he thinks his comedy will help him teach Serafina about his upbringing in the suburbs of Chicago, although he said he's far less animated in real live.

“I'm more of a laid back cat,” he says. “The act is a heightened reality. I was always expressive, talking with my body, but making it work for my act took a long time. I never did it in the beginning just because I was very new to stand-up and trying to find my voice. But as time went along, I organically decided to start doing these big movements and facial gestures, bringing my voice up and down and even whispering. Standup is trial and error.”

With today’s shortened attention spans, Maniscalco’s braggadocios comedy style is a simple way to keep his audience engaged.

“You gotta really give them something to look at up here in order for them to pay attention to you,” he said. "If you've never seen my act before, you don't expect a guy like me to be running around the stage.”

While his unique brand of comedy tugs and pulls at stereotypes, he said his own father -- a hairdresser -- both defied and embraced the typical mold of masculine Italian-American man.

“You have this straight male who's ingraining work ethic into me and teaching me how to act like a man, while he's also dealing with perms,” he says. “My dad taught us to be masculine but not macho. We weren’t the type of guys who got into scraps. We played soccer and we loved to dance -- I doubt that's macho.”

Sebastian Maniscalco performs at the Borgata Event Center July 6-9. For more information on Sebastian's Why Would You Do That? tour, click here.

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