Sebastian Maniscalco Talks Inspiration, Being Shy, and More at Billboard Live Music Summit

Sebastian Maniscalco photographed at the 2018 Billboard Live Music Summit + Awards at the Montage Beverly Hills on Nov. 14, 2018 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup

Sebastian Maniscalco photographed at the 2018 Billboard Live Music Summit + Awards at the Montage Beverly Hills on Nov. 14, 2018 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Billboard's Comedian of the Year, Sebastian Maniscalco, spoke at the Live Music Summit this afternoon. He shared more details on his most recent acting role, where he gets inspiration for his comedy routines, and who he is when he isn't on-stage. 

Maniscalco shared that he felt intimidated being on set with cast members of his latest Scorsese film The Irishman including Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. He says, "these are guys I watched, I never thought I'd be in a movie with these guys. I'm a comedian, I don't have a lot of acting experience." He continues, "So...yeah, I was shitting my pants." When asked about interacting with the other stars, Maniscalco admitted, "Nope, no talking. I went in there thinking, I'm not gonna speak unless spoken to." He later jokingly admits, "I just didn't want to get fired." He added that De Niro and his wife later came to visit him during his Radio City Music Hall show, where they were able to talk without the pressure of being in a work environment. 

So who is Sebastian Maniscalco when he isn't taking the stage at a comedy show? Surprisingly, he admitted, "I'm just a little reserved, kind of shy. I've always loved getting out in front of an audience but I feel really uncomfortable talking in a group of three or four people."  Moderator Dave Brooks joked, "Are you the funniest guy at a party?" To which Maniscalco responded, "No, I'm a mute. I don't speak." He explains himself further by adding, "I listen a lot, I observe rather than speak." 

These observations are what bring such relatability and authenticity to Maniscalco's comedy routines. When describing how he builds his comedy acts, he states, "My comedy comes from real-life situations, so it's more of me telling stories about what happens in my life." He continues with an anecdote, "So my daughter just turned one and we had an alpaca at the birthday party because my wife comes from the bit is about how her birthday parties growing up are a lot different than my birthday parties growing up. Now that we have a daughter, it's how [those differences] clash and how we deal with that." He also incorporates nostalgia into his routines and remembering how things once were. "Remember how dating was when you actually had to talk to a girl and not sit on your toilet and swipe through photos? Things like that." 

Maniscalco treasures his wife and their daughter. When asked how he met his wife, he joked, "On a treadmill." He revealed how they met through their mutual personal trainer. He asked his trainer if he had any good looking clients, who informed him that he had one who came in at 6 AM. "Wow that's really early for me, but put me down at 7," Maniscalco recalled saying, which got a chuckle from the audience. "She's a doll, she's totally opposite than who I am and she's been fantastic."

Maniscalco will be honored with the Comedian of the Year Award tonight at the Montage Beverly Hills. Speaking on receiving that honor he stated, "It's very flattering and I'm so grateful that people would even consider me for an award." He started to share his concerns about the upcoming speech as well. "To be honest with you I'm a little nervous about the speech I have to give tonight. As a comedian, people think he's always supposed to be funny, but I'm a sensitive and emotional guy and when I start thanking people, I tend to need a tissue." 

Sebastian Maniscalco's published memoir Stay Hungry is out now and catch him playing the role of Joseph Gallo in the upcoming 2019 film, The Irishman.